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Government Websites

Volume 455: debated on Friday 26 January 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which Government websites (a) have been and (b) are planned to be closed under the Transformational Government strategy; which are expected to remain open for the foreseeable future; and if she will make a statement. (110483)

The Government’s objective is to improve citizen and business focus, coherence, effectiveness and efficiency in the Government’s web services as set out in “Transformational Government: Enabled by Technology” (Cm 6683) and Sir David Varney’s report on service transformation “Chancellor of the Exchequer on Service Transformation: a Better Service For Citizens and Businesses, a Better Deal for Taxpayers”. We will preserve and strengthen the availability and accessibility of the information and services themselves through a smaller number of high quality websites focused around audiences, including Directgov and Businesslink.

In the work so far, Departments have decided to close 551 existing websites; I have placed a list in the Library. For those sites not yet closed there will be detailed discussions about the timing and form of migration at departmental level with each of the site operators and other stakeholders. Website users will be fully informed when changes occur. Where relevant, appropriate redirection will help ensure a seamless transition.

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps have been taken to reduce the number of websites hosted by (a) Government Departments, (b) Executive agencies and (c) non-departmental bodies; and what plans there are for further reductions and consolidation of such websites. (117480)

In the Transformational Government Annual Report (Cm 6970) we said that in the first phase of departmental reviews decisions have already been taken to close 551 websites and that decisions on 374 further sites will be taken in the next six months. Further discussions will take place in order to produce detailed implementation plans, confirm the role of departmental corporate sites, extend the review to Executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies, and encourage further collaboration between Departments. This will be completed by June 2007.