There were a great many answers to written questions appearing in Hansard yesterday, the last day of the session. Among them was the answer to the question I tabled on the issue of Government Department websites. It shows some welcome development in terms of ensuring consistency and user-friendly sites. As Departments have control of their own websites, and a number apparently outsource responsibility for them, it will be interesting to see how effective the Government is in achieving compliance with the COI guidance that is being developed.
- What advice is provided to departments on the design and content of their websites; who is responsible within Government for giving that advice; and what steps are being taken to ensure consistency across websites. [HL6369]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform & Cabinet Office (Baroness Vadera): The Government issue advice to departments on the design, development and management of their websites in the form of standards and guidance that can be found on the Central Office of Information (COI) website under guidance. A new set of quality standards is being developed by COI as part of Transformational Government and in response to a recommendation in the Public Accounts Committee 16th Report, Government on the Internet. This is to ensure that citizens receive a consistent, high quality user experience when accessing any government online service. As part of the set of new guidelines, COI is developing specific guidance for website developers and managers on usable design and content, to be published by March 2009.