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Clampdown on .gov.uk domain use

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Councils are being refused the right to register new ‘.gov.uk’ web domains under rules laid down by a central government committee.

According to documents released by the Central Office of Information (COI), there is a policy of “presumption of rejection” to applications from local government bodies wanting to set up official sites.
The Cabinet Office’s Transformational Government Strategy, published last year, revealed Whitehall’s determination to slash the number of government websites. But minutes of a meeting last September of the naming and approvals committee, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show council sites continuing to rise.

Richard Steel, president of the Society of Information Technology Management (SOCITM) and chief information officer at Newham LBC, called the policies “daft”, claiming domains would increasingly be needed for shared services projects.

“The shared services agenda means central and local government are increasingly working
on projects with the third and private sectors as well as each other, so limiting the number of people able to use .gov.uk domains doesn’t make sense at all,” he said.

According to the minutes, local government usually registers at least 10 domains a month. “The committee has decided to adopt a ‘presumption of rejection’ approach to applications from local government bodies,” they continue.

However, a COI spokeswoman said not all requests from councils would be rejected.

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