On Thursday, the Foreign Office will become one of several more ‘trailblazing’ Government Departments moving part of its publishing operation onto the new single government website GOV.UK.
We will start by publishing our news, speeches, policies and corporate information on Inside Government. And by March 2013 we’ll be moving our travel advice,other consular information and all 247 of our Embassy, High Commission and mission websites.
The move is part of the government’s effort to pull all Whitehall services and information in one place and make them “Digital by default”, putting the UK at the cutting edge of transforming digital delivery.
Like any move, it’s afforded us the opportunity to decide what to take with us and what to consign to publishing history and The National Archives website.
The task has been largely defined by the Government Digital Service team who are rightly focused on what users want and not necessarily what departments have traditionally published. You can read all about their user centred approach here.
Inside Government has allowed departments to present content in a consistent way, designed to make it easier for users to navigate central government in as simple a way as possible.
Documents or detailed guides are replacing numerous web pages. Our Global Issues content, for example, which aimed to explain our various policy priorities and campaigns, has been marshalled into a crisp list of policies and actions. The exciting element of this exercise has been the online collaboration it has encouraged between departments as we bring together previously separate digital messaging on cross-government policy issues like Afghanistan or climate change.
For those interested in FCO news and speeches you’ll be able to subscribe as currently by email or generate your own tailored RSS feed as well as easily able to subscribe to cross government announcements on policies and topics.
We’ll be blogging further on our GOV.UK presence as it evolves.
For the digital team who have managed and edited the FCO public web face 24 hours a day, seven days a week it’s with a certain degree of sadness that we’ve said farewell to ‘our‘ website and its striking homepage.
We have used the site to explain British policy and help British citizens through international summits; numerous crises, notably the turbulent events in the Middle East; and through ash clouds, tsunamis, storms and unrest.
We won’t stop doing this of course; we’ll just be doing it a different format and taking the opportunity to refocus our attention on what really matters: engaging digital activity that delivers on our foreign policy objectives with audiences around the world – using the new GOV.UK platform and our expanding social media presence.