Sunday, 4 November 2012


E-Government is the term given to anything that the government asks us to do in terms of participation or tells us to do in terms of information. E-government, or electric government, is ‘digital interactions between a government and its citizens.’ The type of digital interaction I am going to be looking at is that of Information and Communication Technology – and in particular.
DirectGov is the website of the UK government which acts as a navigation point to public information and services, for people in the United Kingdom. DirectGov provides information on a wide variety of topics ranging from employment, to motoring, to living abroad.  Launched in 2004, acts as an information resource for millions of users. DirectGov is the most prominent form of e-government in the UK.
The objectives of
To give the citizen:
 “Easy and effective digital access to all the public services and information they need, when and where they need it”.
Trusted delivery of tailored services to give citizens a simple and convenient interaction with the government”.
 “New ways of communicating, utilising strategic partnerships, community groups and social media to provide better interaction with Government”.
Good things about
There is a search bar, you can browse by subject or you can browse by people – so you can search for whatever information you are looking for fast.
The DirectGov sign in the top left corner is a direct link back to the home page – so people can navigate round the site easily.
There is a newsroom where articles of the latest news are displayed.
On the home page there is a ‘favourites’ section, so people can see what other people have been interested in, and what they may be interested in, in an instant.
You can get on your mobile.
Users can adjust the size of the font – so those with eyesight difficulties, e.g. the elderly, can still use the site.
Links citizens to information they want, preventing them from having to do any of the linking themselves.

Problems with
There’s quite a lot happening on the homepage – a lot of links and sections – which can be a bit confusing.
There are so many sections, subsections and sub-subsections it can be a bit difficult to find the specific information you are actually looking for.
The website is expensive to run.
Information from DirectGov available on mobiles is limited.
Not all public services are included.
Search engine at top can sometimes go wrong and can bring up outdated information.

Crime and Justice   
On the ‘Crime and Justice’ part on the DirectGov site, there are many subsections, and these are; Types of crime; Reporting crime and anti-social behaviour; The police; Jury service; Victims and Witnesses; Being stopped or arrested by the police; Going to court if you’re charged with a crime; Sentencing, prison and probation; Crime and justice (young people section); Crime statistics; Crime preventions and Counter terrorism. These subsections each have further subdivisions, and collectively cover every problem/query involving crime and justice that people may have. There are also links to topics involving crime that are in other sections.
The benefits of the Crime and Justice section on DirectGov
People can receive information on things they may not necessarily know about e.g. jury service. This may help them if they are ever called to do jury duty
The crime statistics information allows people to discover information about local crime – so if someone is thinking about living in an area they can look up the crimes committed around the location and judge the ‘safety’ of the area and whether or not they would feel comfortable living there
Offers help, advice and support to people who have experienced crime such as domestic violence. It also provides links to useful websites and help lines

The disadvantages of Crime and Justice on DirectGov
The local crime information section can make people paranoid about other people in their area and may get concerned that crime is a bigger issue than it really is
There is so much information given at once, it can get confusing

Finding the crime statistics in my area
1. Go to crime and justice
2. Click on Find local crime information subsection under the Crime statistics section
3. Type the name of your village or town, or your postcode, in the search bar – then a separate webpage opens showing a map with different numbers of crimes in various spots. The crimes shown are split into the categories; Burglary, Anti-Social behaviour, Robbery, Vehicle crime, violent crime and other crime.
4. You can zoom in and out depending on where exactly you want to see

It was easy to find the crime statistics in my local area - with few steps and precise instructions. I did find it a bit annoying that, for privacy reasons, they couldn't give exact locations or crimes committed - simply because I felt a bit as though it made me more worried not to know exactly. But maybe that's just me being nosy.

The motoring section covers a range of topics – Driving licenses; Driving for a living; Buying and selling a vehicle; Personalised registration and number plates; Driver safety; Learners and new drivers and riders; owning a vehicle; do it online and vehicle crime.
The benefits of the Motoring section on DirectGov
 Helps people with little or no knowledge on things such as selling or buying a car.
Can teach people about the rules of the road.
Will help older people keep up to date with changing motor information.
From the motoring section, you can apply for your driver’s license, or renew your existing one – so people can do it quickly and easily online. You can also apply for your theory test and driving test online through this section of the DirectGov site.

The disadvantages of the Motoring section on DirectGov
It isn’t clear exactly what the ‘Do it online’ section is for.
There is a lot of information all in one place.
It can be somewhat to find exactly what you’re looking for – do you go to Driver licensing or learners and new drivers and riders if you want to apply for a first time driver’s license? – Some groups seem to overlap.

Booking your theory driving test through the Motoring section on DirectGov
1. Go to Motoring.
2. Click on ‘Theory test’ under subheading of Learners and new drivers and riders.
3. Click on How to book and manage your driving theory test appointment.
4. Click on Find your nearest driving test centre – this then opens a separate page with the DSA  (Driving standards Agency) where you can find your nearest centre by typing in your postcode.

The process of finding a theory test centre via DirectGov was fairly straightforward – however, there were quite a few steps so it seemed like an unnecessarily long process. Also, when I got to the DSA page I couldn’t work out how to actually book a test at the centres found.

Health and Wellbeing     
The Health and Wellbeing section of is basically just a link to NHS sites as the NHS is the UK health care system.

The benefits of the Health and Wellbeing section on DirectGov
The link to the Health A-Z on NHS Choices allows people to attempt to self-diagnose and establish whether or not there problem/illness is serious or can simply be home-cured.
There is a link to comment section of the NHS site where people can comment on a hospital or GP and let others know what their opinions and experiences were – so they can learn from them.

 The disadvantages of the Health and Wellbeing section on DirectGov
The layout is different from most of the other sections, and so could be a bit confusing for people
For the main part of this section, it is only for people living in England (which isn’t immediately clear) and those who live outside of England e.g. in Wales have to scroll to the bottom of the page to find any information relevant to them
It is basically just a section full of links to NHS sites – so doesn’t really contain any information right there and just acts as a middle passage – users may as well go straight to the NHS page.

Britons living abroad    
The Britons living abroad section is a preparation section for all those planning to move from the UK. The subsections in the Britons living abroad section are; before you go; Money abroad; Education and jobs while abroad and Health abroad.

The benefits of the Britons living abroad section on DirectGov
Gives people immediate information they will need – which will save them having to search loads of sites, which is probably the last thing they want to do when moving country.
Allows people to feel prepared and informed when moving countries.

The disadvantages of the Britons living abroad section on DirectGov
The layout is boring and plain and repetitive.
Most pages involve a lot of scrolling.
The information provided is not specific to wherever you are moving and is just general information.

Environment and greener Living                                The subsections in this section are; recycling and reducing waste; Energy saving and generation; Greener travel and leisure; Greater community and work; Climate change and protecting the environment; Greener home and garden; Smallholders: keeping farm animal and bees and Greener life events and celebrations. Basically, the Environment and greener living section contains all sorts of information that anyone who is environmentally concerned may need – and what with the environment becoming more and more of an issue, a lot of people are looking for ways to live a ‘greener’ life.

The benefits of the Environment and greener living section on DirectGov
       A place where people can find information on how to live more ‘green’ is useful for those trying to make a more environmentally-friendly life change but don’t know how to go about it.
The advice given can be adapted to suite different aspects of your life – some for home life, some for work, some for travel – so people have a choice what part of their life they want to change depending on what works best for them.
It also gives information on how to look after animals such as chickens and pigs so those who are trying to ‘grow their own food’ can receive the information they may need.

The disadvantages of the Environment and greener living section on DirectGov
Some of the pages, e.g. the Recycling at home page, are a bit long and involve a lot of scrolling which can be annoying.
The climate change section online provides one point of view as the correct one – and has a section called ‘Myths about climate change’ to address the opposing and denying of climate change – which is bias.
Some of the language used when describing some of the scientific aspects e.g. pollution could be confusing for some people 

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