OK, I'll bite
There's already a website that does this - Direct.gov. Problems with the new initiative are:
Outside talent has been drafted in to sweep away all the working UK gov websites, and centralise them in a new megasite. However, they don't have the domain knowledge that has accumulated within the agencies, and haven't done the groundwork. Once you dig, you uncover lots of tricky exceptions. There's no glamour in dealing with those, so we can then expect the superstars to tell the incumbents, 'OK, we've done the hard bit, the rest is up to you'.
The mega-platform is fully buzzword compliant but the transactional websites must interface with a variety of legacy back-ends. Often that means the new platform will need expensive bespoke middleware.
The mega-site approach was taken rather than one of developing toolkits, standards, and guidelines. So, agencies can't use their existing teams to make changes, but must request them from Web Central, with a consequent huge impact on time and costs. As the new platform has no CMS, this applies not only to functionality but to simple text changes.
The strategy is flawed as the megasite approach only works for the mass audience of undifferentiated customers. There are many communities who need to interact with Government and the same portal won't work for all. Imagine a home page that says -
- Looking for a job?
- Need a TV licence
- Want to buy a second-hand aircraft carrier?
- Can you decommission a nuclear power station?
Clearly, almost every agency still needs it's own website - as illustrated by the fact that the Government Digital Service hosts its own blog separately to their new beta.
So, all the supply-side shortcomings of Direct.gov replicated for a few incremental improvements on the demand side. This plus the second-coming of the megaplatform fiasco - the government tried before and spunked £35million on something called DotP (Delivering on the Promise) before quietly canning it. But some of us remember…