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Dales Council launches gateway to electronic government

[Thursday 26 January 2006]

Internet users across Richmondshire can now access all government services; both local and central, via the District Council's website.

Visitors to any page of www.richmondshire.gov.uk can click on the orange "Directgov" http://www.direct.gov.uk logo for an immediate link to the service, which aims to be a one stop shop for access to government information, cutting out the confusion over who to ask for what.

Residents wanting to access information on any government service, such as applying for a passport, health information, booking a driving test or looking for employment can use www.direct.gov.uk as a first point of contact. Once the user has identified the service they want, and stated where they live, the site will direct them to the appropriate web page.

"This is a great opportunity to make our services even more accessible to residents", says Richmondshire District Council's Member for e-government, Councillor David Morton.

Adding; "people often get frustrated about finding the right source for the answer to their query. With Directgov, the uncertainty is eliminated - for example, a resident needing information about social services could use our website to link to the Directgov service, where they will be routed to the relevant page on the County Council's website. However, a question about refuse collection, for example, would be directed to the appropriate page on the District Council's website as we deliver that particular service."

All 388 local authorities in England have contributed to the Directgov initiative by providing information about their services. The portal is already available on the websites of Craven and Hambleton District Council's and North Yorkshire County Council.

Improving access to services has been at the top of Richmondshire District Council's priorities list for a number of years, in line with the government's own efforts to increase the amount of people engaging with their local authority electronically.

With over 2500 .gov.uk websites in use across the UK, it is hoped the Directgov link will take away some of the uncertainty as to where residents should start looking.

"The Directgov website is good news for us", says Richmondshire's Access to Services Project Officer, Sheila Bailey. "It gives another 'way in' to our website, which was given a complete overhaul last year and attracts an ever increasing number of visitors. The link should increase the speed at which residents' requirements are met".

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