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
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+,
* 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
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
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.