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PA OPINION

Harnessing the power of government's online presence

“If the Government is to harness the power of its on-line presence, a rapid and coherent change of focus will be needed.”

Andy Vernon, public sector expert, pa consulting group 

The recent change of Government and shifting of Departmental structures has led to a rapid overhaul of the UK Government's on line presence with a large proportion of it being rebranded, changed or archived to reflect policy changes.

In the last decade, the UK Government's presence on the web has shifted from primitive to sophisticated; equally citizens have become active users of this on-line capability. Whilst understandable at a time of unprecedented change, there are real risks for the incoming team that this presents.

As with any organisation putting it's front window on the internet, a sudden shift such as this can create trust and perception issues - especially if new content takes a while to come on stream. Not least, confidence in the Government's on-line presence may drop quickly leading to increased traffic on other channels such as the 'phone which cannot be serviced or which may become costly if the public are to be kept on board.

Equally, with an all pervasive reliance on on-line channels, a lack of information for too long may lead to confidence issues arising from a very visible manifestation of uncertainty. As with any change this may make the process of effecting that change much more difficult to achieve.

Finally, other organisations both in the UK - such as those in the third sector - and further afield - such as those considering investing in the UK - have become reliant on much of the information published on the web and the temporary loss of that source may lead to further demands or lost opportunities.

If the Government is to harness the power of it's online presence a rapid and coherent change of focus will therefore be needed. Taking too long may undermine not only the "stickiness" of online Government services, but may be damaging to the new administration's longer term intent.

To speak to one of our PA information management experts, please contact us now.

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