GOV.UK - 1 year old and improving all the time
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Average weekly visits to GOV.UK, the award-winning single domain for government services and information, are running at over 9 million.
This is around double the level of visits over the same period last year to the Directgov and Business Link websites that GOV.UK replaced.
GOV.UK, which is one year old, was created in response to the report by UK Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox, “Directgov 2010 and Beyond: Revolution not Evolution”, which recommended a single domain for government services to address the needs of users previously served by the Directgov and Business Link websites.
GOV.UK now receives 6 million unique visitors every week (20% of them from mobile devices). Overall, there have been 425 million visits to GOV.UK and 1.2 billion pageviews in its first year.
Among the most popular content are:
- Find a job with Universal Jobmatch (10 million pageviews/month)
- Car tax: get a tax disc (3 million)
- Contact Jobcentre Plus (1 million)
- UK bank holidays (850,000 average, but 1.5 million seasonal in March/April/May)
- Jobseeker’s Allowance: how to claim (780,000)
GOV.UK is an essential part of the government’s digital by default agenda for transforming public services – making them simpler, clearer and faster for taxpayers and more effective and efficient for government. This approach was supported by the Civil Service Reform Plan, published in June 2012, which set out practical actions to help make central government smaller, quicker, more unified, more accountable for delivery, more commercially capable and more digital.
12 months on, and all 24 ministerial departments, as well as the websites of the Prime Minister’s and Deputy Prime Minister’s offices, have been moved to the GOV.UK platform. The transition of hundreds of other government websites is beginning.
At every stage of its development, GOV.UK has been rigorously tested in public against the needs of real users, to find out what works and what doesn’t. This is an ongoing process of improvement, responding to user feedback and the lessons of experience. More than 1,500 application changes were made to GOV.UK in its first year to improve the user experience.
GOV.UK was built by the Government Digital Service (GDS) using open source technology. This means that government doesn’t incur expensive software licensing costs. It also means it can be used by others – the New Zealand Government recently adopted it.
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said:
GOV.UK is central to our vision for government that is digital by default and provides online public services so good that people prefer to use them. 2 years ago, there were an incredible 2,000 government websites. We’ve streamlined those into a single, central domain built entirely around what the user needs to get out of it.
Replacing Directgov and Business Link websites with GOV.UK is saving taxpayers up to £50 million a year. And we estimate that £1.2 billion could be saved during this Parliament by bringing government transactional services online, with potential annual savings of £1.7 billion to £1.8 billion in the longer term.
GOV.UK has made great strides in its first year, but it’s not finished. It has to keep pace with advances in technology, and most importantly with what people want from it and how they want to use it. That’s why we will continue to adapt and refine GOV.UK, while adding new services and publishing and updating the huge amount of content and guidance there to reflect what users need.
In the next year, more of the 25 services in the first wave of digital service transformation will move towards going live. By 2018 we expect all government services handling over 100,000 transactions a year to be available digitally on GOV.UK.
Mike Bracken, Executive Director of the GDS, which built the site, said:
Everything about GOV.UK is based, directly, on user needs. It’s designed to be simpler, clearer and faster. It’s designed to get people to the information and services they need as quickly and smoothly as possible. This is how digital public services are supposed to work.
Martha Lane Fox said:
The launch of GOV.UK was the start of a revolution - putting the citizen at the heart of great government services. I am immensely impressed with what the team have achieved, but it is exciting that there is so much more to come.
You can find more information about the interesting data collected during GOV.UK’s first year at insidegovuk.blog.gov.uk.
Regular updates on activity on GOV.UK are available on the performance platform.