A very recent publication from the UK Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) is In-House Research paper No. 8 entitled ‘Not just another website: Review of “50 Plus Works” Good-practice guide and toolkit’. This highly interesting for me since I am both 50+ and looking for work, so I was hoping to find this exercise doubly beneficial. 50PlusWorks is a relatively new website to assist those over 50 in finding work. The DWP have obviously made a slippery move here since government departments are supposed to be reducing the number of sites, and they’ve got away with this by having it done by The Age & Employment Network (TAEN) and being co-financed by the European Social Fund. However since it frequently links back to DirectGov, my question would be why not improve that?
I’m a strong believer in that if a web site is to be good enough for the citizen, the advisors themselves should be able to use it either to mediate for a face-to-face visitor, or for one telephoning in. The comments made to the researchers emphasise what is presumably wrong with the DWP and other government web sites.i.e. “it’s pretty much a one stop shop. There is nothing else as good out there.”, “the lack of photographs meant that it was possible to access information speedily”, “was seen as easier to operate than other websites”
The coalition clampdown on publicity was acknowledged as hampering the promotion of the site but I question the rationale. The reason for the site is apparently to assist, by mediation, the older person looking for work – there will many instances where this will still be appropriate whether a person is 49 or 60, so this approach might have been better employed in improving DirectGov or beta.gov.