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Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) mission statement and (b) objectives of directgov are. (268965)

Directgov’s vision is to be the citizen-focused digital channel for Government offering a high quality experience for customers by delivering information and services that meet most of their needs within the site in a consistent and accessible style. It will be driven by citizen needs and will be easy and interesting to use.

Directgov will be at the heart of the relationship between Government and citizen in the digital space. Directgov has the following strategic aims, split into what Directgov will be in future for the citizen, and for the Departments.

Directgov will 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 Government;

New ways of communicating, utilising strategic partnerships, community groups and social media to provide better interaction with Government.

Directgov will give the Departments:

Trusted digital delivery channels that encourage people to interact with Government online;

The ability to connect services and information across Government into logical customer journeys to provide better citizen experience;

Advice and guidance on the most cost-effective and appropriate ways to deliver services through digital channels in the context of the wider channel strategy for Departments.

For the online channel, the two priorities for the CSR07 period are maintenance of an increasing breadth of day-to-day service delivery; and the completion of web convergence as websites with citizen-facing content are rationalised and content moved to Directgov and

For mobile and television, the challenges lie in matching the right service, target audience and channel together, and in building enabling capabilities that can be made available for service providers to use.

Directgov is in the process of building on its current strategy for CSR10 and beyond.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of directgov as a vehicle for digital inclusion. (268966)

Directgov is currently engaged in a number of digital inclusion activities that through feedback and evaluation will help inform its longer term strategy in this area.

Directgov are working with intermediaries who can offer mediated access to those that are currently digitally excluded, starting with the nine major regional UK online centres across the UK. UK online centre staff will encourage customers to use Directgov, and will guide new users through the process. Once they have completed their initial use of Directgov, users will be invited to complete an online survey. This will allow Directgov to collect information on new users’ experiences with Directgov so that we can continue to improve the customer experience.

Research has shown that Directgov’s TV service on Sky and Virgin increases reach to the socially excluded citizen. Viewers of Directgov’s interactive television are older (69 per cent. over 35; 47 per cent. over 45), not working (57 per cent.) and with nearly half (45 per cent.) rarely (i.e. less than once a week) or never using the internet.

The recent launch on Freeview and on analogue TV via Teletext enables citizens who do not subscribe to a TV provider to access Directgov content via Freeview Teletext, which means that Directgov is now available to virtually all TV viewers.

Directgov is reaching new audiences on web and non-web enabled kiosks, laptops and PCs in a diverse range of locations, including health centres, Age Concern and an Army community centre as part of the Starthere project with NHS Choices. All user journeys are tracked and there is also a questionnaire that asks about the user experience and people’s background. The final report will be available in June 2009.

Directgov is also working closely with CLG on the Digital Inclusion Action Plan and the Digital Britain Report to ensure that it is involved in the strategic direction of these programmes. These proposals are likely to include closer working with partnership organisations, such as CAB and children’s centres.