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Gov.uk

May 28, 2013

What do we think about the new! improved! all-singing, all-dancing! government website, gov.uk?

I only ask because, of course, all the government’s tax consultations have been moved onto the new site, and because of the suggestion – which also became a recommendation by the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee – that there should be a single government website listing ALL consultations in the order of the date of closure.

Because – as I have previously mentioned – if you go here, to the consultation page, you have to filter first to get “consultations” from the welter of other “publications”, and then you have to filter again by department (not subject) to get HMRC and HMT consultations, and even then there’s no way of filtering out tax consultations from other Treasury consultations.

However this gives you a list of (today, at least) 19 HMRC consultations and 89 HMT consultations – but of the HMRC 19 there are only four open consultations, as against 10 “closed consultations” and four “consultation outcomes”, and HMT has 5 open consultations, 45 “consultation outcomes” and 39 “closed consultations”.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could just filter by “open consultations” and THEN by Department and get to the nine you were actually interested in?

I had assumed the functionality wasn’t there on the website and that, in response to the House of Lords Committee’s recommendations, they’d be working on it when and if resources allowed.

And then I came across this page, on Getting Involved, where there is a running tally of open consultations telling me there are, currently, 55 open consultations across the government, or at least across government departments and agencies that have moved their web presence over to the Gov.uk site.

So the functionality to identify open consultations IS there somewhere, but isn’t being used in a way that would actually be useful to the users of the site?  You’d almost think it was deliberate…

9 comments

  1. Don’t know how long it’s been there but you can filter by topic – ‘tax and revenue’ and get straight to nine results.


    • Though I now notice the results only show 4 open. Hmmm.


  2. Well HMRC only has four open consultations… I guess the question is how robust is the “topic” functionality. But
    even if the “topic” filter works, I still want an “open consultations” filter – which must already be in place somewhere to allow for a running total of open consultations to be listed on the “get involved” page.


  3. […] on consultations, the continuing poor practice in some consultations, and the less than user-friendly consultation ‘hub’ on the Gov.UK site. […]


  4. […] ‘principles’ on consultations, the continuing poor practice in some consultations, and the less than user-friendly consultation ‘hub’ on the Gov.UK […]


  5. Hello

    I’m the product manager for the departmental area on GOV.UK.

    We absolutely do intend to provide a filter by the status of consultations, so you can find just the open ones (or closed, or concluded). There are a host of other improvements we’re planning to introduce for consultations too, and it’s high on the priority list to do so.

    The site is only 6 months old, and we’re improving it all the time. The Get Involved page is relatively new, for instance.

    We’re doing this completely in the open too, so if you’re interested in a particular feature there’s no need to speculate as to where it is on our to do list. You can see what we’re working on in our public project tracker here:
    https://www.pivotaltracker.com/s/projects/367813

    We also blog about progress frequently here:
    http://inside-inside-gov.tumblr.com/
    http://digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/

    You can contact us directly through those blogs to give feedback and request features.

    A couple of things in response to the points in your post:

    – the topic filter has been available since November.
    – there is a link in the main navigation at the top to “consultations” – you don’t have to go to the publications page and filter (but you can also get them that way).

    Thanks for the feedback, it’s useful.

    Neil Williams
    Product Manager, GOV.UK


  6. […] ‘principles’ on consultations, the continuing poor practice in some consultations, and the less than user-friendly consultation ‘hub’ on the Gov.UK […]


  7. […] ‘principles’ on consultations, the continuing poor practice in some consultations, and the less than user-friendly consultation ‘hub’ on the Gov.UK […]


  8. […] ‘principles’ on consultations, the continuing poor practice in some consultations, and the less than user-friendly consultation ‘hub’ on the Gov.UK […]



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