Lane Fox calls for radical overhaul of Government websites
Martha Lane Fox has called for a “radical improvement” of Government websites, claiming they are too complex and poorly designed.
Lane Fox, the co-founder of Lastminute.com and the UK’s Digital Champion, was asked to conduct a review of Government websites by the Cabinet Office.
In her 11-page report she paints a gloomy picture of the way Government services are delivered online, claiming that the country is missing out on billions of pounds of cost savings by failing to deliver the services effectively.
I have repeatedly been told that Government services online need to be more complex but I am not sure why
“There is much that can be learnt from the commercial sector,” Lane Fox claims. “I have repeatedly been told that Government services online need to be more complex but I am not sure why.”
“For example the student loan process still ends with the printing out of a 30-page document that has to be signed. Directgov could be the link to easing the bureaucracy of many services and focusing on what creates the absolute best experience.
“If you can book a flight online with a few clicks and cut through all the associated regulations from ABTA, ATOL and the CAA, then anything is possible.”
Lane Fox’s report delivers four key recommendations, including making Directgov the front-end for all Government transactions with the public, putting a new team focused on user experience in charge of the websites and appointing a new “CEO for Digital” at the Cabinet Office.
Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, has welcomed her findings, but claims the Government is hamstrung by commitments made by the previous administration.
“We are in a situation where there are contracts we inherited that effectively limits the number of people who can use some online services – and where you can not apply for the majority of forms of benefits online, at all,” he claims.
“This is inconvenient, expensive, wasteful and ridiculous and it can not continue.”