Feeds

Gov web boss: Our sites look like bleak council estates

Vows to ape Google, make pages more sexy

Boost IT visibility and business value

The Cabinet Office's freshly uploaded digital boss Mike Bracken is on a mission to sex-up government services online.

At the moment, he views Directgov as a "pretty bleak" landscape and illustrated his point at the supplier's conference in Whitehall this morning by providing a photograph of what appeared to be a rundown council estate.

He wants the GDS (government digital services) to be on a par with other major web properties such as Facebook, Google and Twitter, all of whom - Bracken claimed - "put users first".

Reading from the Martha Lane Fox script, the ex-Guardianista, who has been in his job since July, said the government's approach to digital services needed to change.

"[When] we think about ourselves in size and scale, we should think of ourselves as one of these huge internet companies," he said, pointing at a slide that listed the aforementioned web giants.

"And yet we don't, instead we think of ourselves as departments," said Bracken, who was also keen to show off his government-issued Apple Mac laptop. Apparently being in possession of such kit illustrated that things were finally changing within UK.gov.

He said the government needed to understand "user demand" by sorting out the interface and transactions system to make the services more "attractive to use". Bracken said that the GDS team, which is currently beavering away at a closed beta version of the successor to Directgov, was "relentlessly" focussed on users.

"We don't know what the world will look like from a user perspective two years from now," he admitted, citing Apple's iPad as an example of how quickly a new gadget can catch on.

Bracken said that a digital development framework would be made available to suppliers in the next few months. He called on smaller, more agile procurers to pile into the process.

"There is far too much distrust within this [supply chain] system," he said. "I don't really have time for that... We've got to get over each other and build a network of trust." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.