If you build it, will they come?

Interesting to see on Emma Mulqueeny’s blog a post about Directgov’s attempts to set up a news site about school closures during the great freeze.  I salute the fact they even tried to do it (so fast, and without a Submission to Ministers first, too!)  The technical problems they had are laid out in the comments to Emma’s original post, but at least it’s there and it works after a fashion, and it will get better.

Problem is,  even though I’ve worked with Directgov in the past – in fact am linked to a project with them right now – it never crossed my mind to go there for news on Monday.  (I went straight to Tower Hamlets’ website and found not very much of use – although it did tell me the library was closed.)  Is it just a matter of time before Directgov seeps into people’s consciousness as the place to go for information – or are we always likely to think locally first about issues which affect us on a local basis?

When I was at DfES some years ago, there were ideas floating around to get schools to set up mass text message services for parents to let them know about school closures.  Anyone know if this is happening?  That kind of very local solution to problems like this instinctively feels better to me than trying to do it on a national network.

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2 responses to “If you build it, will they come?

  1. I would expect local government sites to have more up to date information on local issues. It would be difficult to imagine how a national site wuld be able to be kept up to date with information, such as school closures, unless they allowed content management freely – like Wikipedia!

  2. By the way, here is the official version, but yes agree it will take some time for people to trust/learn that Directgov carries such information http://local.direct.gov.uk/LDGRedirect/index.jsp?LGSL=1140&LGIL=8&ServiceName=Find+out+about+emergency+school+closures

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