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USERS GIVE RESOUNDING WELCOME TO DIRECTGOV WEB SITE AS NEW SERVICE IS EXTENDED TO DIGITAL TELEVISION

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Directgov, the government's new online service, has been given the ...
Directgov, the government's new online service, has been given the

thumbs-up by users, delivering on its promise to improve the way that

government information is made available and accessible

electronically. Users are now able to visit Directgov by going to

www.direct.gov.uk

As part of the next stage in its roll-out, the Office of the e-Envoy

has today also announced that Directgov will be extended to digital

television users through Sky, and Telewest with NTL to follow

shortly, making it available to nearly 10 million households.

In March 2004, 100 internet users were shown both Directgov and UK

online for the first time. They were asked to complete a number of

tasks and then to rate the sites. When asked how easy it is to

understand the information available on Directgov, 71% of those

internet users questioned said it was good (ratings of 8 to 10 out of

10), and 88% of those interviewed felt that the Directgov site made

it easier for them to access government information and public

services. In addition, 80% preferred it to the UK online web site,

saying that it offered a broader range of content in a more easy to

understand and better structured way.

Key findings of the customer research include:

* Four in five respondents (80%) stated that Directgov gives

convenient access to public services and information.

* Nearly twice as many respondents rated Directgov as 'good' overall

compared to UK online (60% awarding a 8 to 10 score compared to 33%

for the latter).

* Nine out of ten users stated that they were likely to use Directgov

in the future. (Two-thirds, 64%, said they were likely to visit the

UK online web site).

Across the board the research highlighted that that there was a large

proportion of respondents who liked Directgov and would use it in the

future, as illustrated by some of their final comments.

* Impressed by Directgov. Everything under one roof. (Female, 35-54,< p/="">parent, motorist, with a disability, Southampton).

* Very clear, once into it, it was easy to follow. Clearer headings

to locate pensions. It gives a little bit of information on

everything, the basics and then points you in the direction for

further information. I'd use it for looking up health issues in the

future, I will definitely have a look at it at home. (Female, 55+,

motorist, Croydon).

* Definitely use in the future for disability issues, tax returns,

parking tickets. You could sit here for ages and go through it, it's

really interesting and you can take your time. (Female, 35-54,

parent, motorist, Croydon).

Douglas Alexander, minister for the cabinet office, said: 'Over the

last seven years, we have made huge progress in making government

information and services available online. Looking forward, the

Directgov service aims to improve the experience of dealing with

government on the internet, making information more consistent and

easier to find.'

Andrew Pinder, the government e-Envoy, said: 'The idea behind

Directgov is simple, and closely relatedto the government's

proposals for the reform of public services. The service puts the

complexity of government firmly behind the scenes, drawing together

government resources to address the issues and interests of real

people. This has been overwhelmingly endorsed by the feedback that

we have received from users.

'I'm confident that Directgov will, in time, become the single

destination for people to interact electronically with government -

and play a leading role in ensuring that the UK remains one of the

world's leading knowledge economies.'

The Office of the e-Envoy also announced the extension of the

existing Directgov service to Digital TV. The service is now

available through Sky and Telewest (with NTL following shortly)

providing government information structured around topics such as

learning, health, local information and travel. This topic-based

rather than departmental approach ensures users can find information

that is relevant to them. Those who live in Somerset, Merseyside,

South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Kent are able to obtain further

information about local services through Directgov. More local

councils will follow over the coming months.

Directgov was unveiled in March 2004 as a new electronic service

designed around the needs of the user, making it much easier to find

and access government information and services electronically. It

brings together information from across many Whitehall departments in

one place, making it easier for people to find what they want from

government, rather than having to search across several departmental

sites. Directgov will replace the existing UK online web site and UK

online interactive.

Notes:

1. The new service is available at www.direct.gov.uk and on Sky and

Telewest. It will be launched on NTL imminently.

2. Currently Directgov includes extensive content for motorists,

parents, the disabled and carers together with broader information

for other clearly identified customer groups such as Britons Abroad

and the over 50s. This will be expanded over time to include content

for other groups including householders, jobseekers and adult

learners. As well as government departments, the site links through

to relevant third parties which can offer additional trusted advice

and support.

3. To meet the research objectives 100 depth interviews were

independently conducted with Internet users. They were shown both

Directgov and UK online for the first time and asked to complete a

number of tasks and then to rate the sites. Interviews were carried

out face-to-face by an independent research organisation using a

structured quantitative questionnaire. Quotas were set to ensure a

broad mix of respondents, by age and gender, with additional

instructions to ensure a mix of people from diffe rent social groups

and locations. In addition three key customer groups were recruited:

parents, motorists, and those aged 50+. This research has been

reinforced by additional research including focus groups,user

accessibility research and pop-up web surveys. All this research

showed users had a preference for Directgov.

4. Directgov is delivered by the Office of the e-Envoy, part of the

Cabinet Office, and helps to improve the delivery of public services

and achieve long-term cost savings by joining-up online government

information and services around the needs of customers.

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