Concept rather than a technical review
(Disclaimer: I run ScraperWiki, which Alpha.gov used for some of this project)
@The Wegie They've deliberately not made the prototype accessible, see Alpha.gov's blog post about that here. http://blog.alpha.gov.uk/blog/accessibility
@CD001, agreed the front page is deliberately flashy with its Olympics photo. But as soon as you dig into particular apps you're supposed to find exactly what you want - completely lack of flashiness, just the stuff that you need.
@Lamont Cranston, yep they haven't migrated all the content yet. It's a prototype. Makes it harder to tell just how good it would be in the end though.
@Bram, wouldn't it! There are lots of machinations going on inside the civil service. See last couple of pages of Simon Dickson's blog with directgov tag for a feel: http://puffbox.com/tag/directgov/
Testing and staff costs of just Direct.gov are 25 million a year http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/jul/05/government-websites-costs
They've spent 1% of that on prototyping a radically redone user interface, with better citizen engagement, and cost savings.