£1.8m injection for e-government one-stop-shop

To reduce dependency on 2,500 public sector websites
Written by Dan Ilett, Contributor

To reduce dependency on 2,500 public sector websites

The Cabinet Office has launched a £1.8m marketing campaign to promote its one-stop-shop public services website, direct.gov.uk.

Although the website, which allows people to access public sector services such as self-assessment tax forms, car tax renewals and course finders, was launched in 2004, the government said it has deliberately waited to market the website until there were enough online services to offer.

The move comes as the Cabinet Office released its own research that said despite there being more than 75 million websites in existence, 51 per cent of Brits use only six or fewer sites on a regular basis.

Of the 1,535 people surveyed, three-quarters said the internet was indispensable to their daily lives and 95 per cent said they go online with a specific project in mind.

The move comes as the government last year announced it would reduce the 2,500 public sector websites in existence in exchange for a one-stop-shop for most needs.

Jim Murphy, Cabinet Office minister, said in a statement: "If you can order your shopping, manage your bank accounts and book cinema tickets online - why shouldn't you expect the same convenience online from government? A few clicks and you're there - that's what people expect and demand from their services today and government is no exception."

As part of the Transformational Government Strategy outlined by the head of the Prime Minister's delivery unit, Ian Watmore, the government also plans to scale down the UK's 130 government call centres to make one telephone number for people to call for non-emergencies.

Cable and Wireless today announced it had won the multi-million pound contract to supply the government with its single non-emergency number service.

The service, which is to launch in five areas around the country, will be delivered by police and local authority partnerships, according to C&W. The company said it would be responsible for call routing and IP traffic management.

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