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What is Inside Government?

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: GOV.UK

While you tuck into your toffee apple and enjoy the fireworks this evening, make sure you save a few oohs and aahs for us. In ten days’ time, on November 15, the first two government departments will move their corporate publishing onto the Inside Government section of GOV.UK, bringing this currently hidden part of the site out of beta and into live use.

Ahead of that, here’s a reminder of what this bit of the GOV.UK project is all about.

What are we doing?

Central government in the UK is made up of nearly 400 organisations, each of which continually publishes information to the web about who they are and what they are doing. That’s things like policy, publications and announcements, spread across hundreds of separate websites.

With a few exceptions (more on that in a later post), we’re bringing all of this corporate publishing activity into a new, single place. On GOV.UK, the name of that that place is Inside Government.

It’s a significant transition programme involving people both here at GDS and in each of these organisations, and we’re doing it in batches. Two departments will join in mid-November, and we’ll be bringing more organisations into the site each month.

As with the replacement of Directgov and Business Link websites a month ago, users will experience an orderly transition, and all existing web addresses will be redirected.

What is Inside Government?

It’s the area where anyone with an interest can go to explore how government works and what it is doing. It contains policy, announcements and publications, grouped by topics and organisations. As such, it’s set slightly apart from the mainstream services and information that went live on 17 October, in a self-contained area of the site with its own navigation and more information-rich content formats. You'll be able to find it at

Inside Government makes it simpler, clearer and faster to find out:

  • How government works
  • What the government is doing
  • How you can get involved

Like the 7/8ths of an iceberg below the sea level, it is going to be far the bigger part of GOV.UK. To the majority of its users - the regular and frequent consumers of central government information - it’s the part that they need and will use the most.

Those users are:

  • Government itself (staff in around 400 central government bodies and more than 400 local authorities, plus the devolved UK administrations and foreign governments)
  • Policy stakeholders (civil society, academia, industry, campaigners, lobbyists, service providers and all other kinds of intermediaries between citizens and the state)
  • Engaged citizens (you, me and anyone with an interest in a specific issue or the workings of government as a whole)

Why should you care?

Because, for the first time ever, there will be a complete list of everything the government is doing, and you won’t need to know which bit of government is responsible for what in order to find out what the government is doing on any given subject. All government policy, announcements and publications will be in one place, grouped by topics as well as by the organisations which produced them.

And, for the first time ever, there will be a comprehensive list of all central government organisations with a short, easy to understand summary of what they do.

Plus, also for the first time ever, government bodies will be sharing a single, cost-effective technology platform which can be adapted quickly by developers working within government to meet changing user needs, rather than spending millions of pounds with hundreds of suppliers on lots of less adaptable versions of the same thing.

These things take time

What you’ll see on 15 November is just the beginning. With just two departments live, we will still have a long way to go. But you will definitely see where we’re heading, and the start of a revolution in the way people perceive and experience central government.

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  1. Comment by Peter posted on

    I've just seen the video about the Government Digital Service and taking a prelim at this site, it looks beautiful, very user friendly and apparently seemless. Well done guys, you can see just how much work you've done. I am so proud to be British and it's good to see the country keeping up to date. I think that a 'Contact us' button on the home page (or even on all pages) would be quite useful, automatically selecting the contact address of the department page you are in, to enable people to give feedback instantly or possibly pose a question to a member of that department. It might also be useful to allow users the choice of all of the other departments too, just in case they are looking at cross department issues??

  2. Comment by Denyse posted on

    Not sure who I should contact about this, or how to contact them but the caption on the photo on this PHE page: is wrong because it is a midwife who cares for pregnant women. Someone who is not a nurse can train to become a midwife but a nurse cannot provide midwifery specific care without trainign as a midwife. Therefore the caption should read "Midwife consultation with expectant parents". Please woud you contact the appropriate person to ammend accordingly? Thanks.

    • Replies to Denyse>

      Comment by Liz @ PHE posted on

      Many thanks for pointing out this mistake, which we've now corrected. You can always use the 'feedback' link at the bottom of any page on, to contact the page owner direct.

  3. Comment by Cabinet Office content moved to new website posted on

    [...] Blog post: What is Inside Government? [...]

  4. Comment by DH website to move to GOV.UK in March 2013 « posted on

    [...] Blog post: What is Inside Government? [...]

  5. Comment by Welcoming DECC to Inside Government | Government Digital Service posted on

    [...] We are pleased to welcome the Department of Energy & Climate Change onto the Inside Government section of GOV.UK. [...]

  6. Comment by John Howarth posted on

    The maternity/paternity pay calculator for employers at step 10 does not allow you to put in the year 2011 when the question asks you when you last worked before 01/12/11. The only years available are 2012-2016. At that point you are told in red that you must put in a year that the calculator does not allow you to enter....

    • Replies to John Howarth>

      Comment by Stephen posted on

      Thanks for the feedback John, we're looking into this. To help us understand exactly the problem you're experiencing, can you send the URL for the calculator at the point you hit the problem. Use the link below to do this and we can keep you updated.

  7. Comment by James posted on

    I think the comments regarding CLG show one of the flaws here. Namely that whilst it is right to try and create sites that are easily accessible for anyone, you should also take into account those that use the current (previous) sites on a regular basis in a professional capacity.
    They/we would not have responded much on any consultation because of time constraints to be honest (that works both ways I should highlight). Accessing information such as statistics, previous publications (especially planning in my case) and the like is now incredibly annoying and time consuming. The search function - which seems to be the only way to navigate this site - brings so much useless stuff back it is ridiculous.
    I accept that change is always difficult but it seems to me that this site is making the interaction between local and central government even more difficult.

    • Replies to James>

      Comment by Dominic Curran posted on

      James is exactly right about the search function. For example, the housing statistics live tables used to be on one page of the old site. They are now spread across 'affordable housing', 'housebuilding', and 'housing' pages. I've given up using the CLG/Gov site to fund anything, and instead now just use Google. CLG should frankly ask for their money back from the website developers.

  8. Comment by Charles Pullar posted on

    I have been a frequent user of the CLG site for access of guidance for fire and rescue authorities which were located at This area was easy to use with all avilable documents listed in a user friendly manner.
    Can I get to a similar area on the site?
    Using the search produces many irrelevant finds.
    Fortunately I kept a copy of the addresses of the fire documents which for the moment I am redirected to.

    Thank you

    Charles Pullar
    Safety Adviser
    Tel 020 8555 1200 x 31091

    • Replies to Charles Pullar>

      Comment by Neil Williams posted on

      Hi Charles

      All publications relating to fire can be found on the publication list, here (this link will take you to the list with filters set for 'DCLG' and the topic of 'public safety and emergencies' which is where the fire content now lives):

      If you want to narrow the options down further, you can type into the 'keyword' field.

      Furthermore, you'll find all the policies relating to fire grouped here:

      This topic page includes an Atom feed of all the publications and announcements that are related to these policies, which you can keep tabs on by using a feed reader. Soon we will be adding an email alert service so you can get notified when things change by email, too.

      Finally, if you look at any of the individual topics about fire, you will see an 'activity' tab which lists all the publications and announcements specific to that policy. So if you are only interested in a particular aspect of fire policy you can just look there rather than the whole topic.

      Hope this helps - we'd welcome feedback on whether this is a clear and helpful way of presenting the information for regular users like yourself.

  9. Comment by Dominic Curran posted on

    Thanks. it's now incredibly time consuming and irritating to navigate DCLG's website. It's less clear, less easy to use, and less informative than before! Well done on making their staistics even harder and less intuitive to discover -you have achieved exactly the opposite of your intentions.

    • Replies to Dominic Curran>

      Comment by nettienwilliams posted on

      Thanks for your feedback Dominic. It's early days, and we're making some changes to make sure statistics are findable. It would help us make things better to understand exactly what you are looking for and where you expect to find it - via

  10. Comment by Adrian Hunt posted on

    Is there a published timetable for when each department's site is due to be moved to Inside Government? Or will you be releasing one soon?

    • Replies to Adrian Hunt>

      Comment by nettienwilliams posted on

      Exact timings are being agreed with each department. Completion should be March 2013 for all ministerial departments. The order in which departments will move across may change. It depends on several things such as the additional features that need to be built for each department, expiry dates of existing contracts, and the capacity in each department to manage the transition. Neil Williams has also blogged about what is not (yet) on IG
      Hope that helps.

  11. Comment by A quick tour of Inside Government | Government Digital Service posted on

    [...] What is Inside Government? [...]

  12. Comment by What we know about the users of Inside Government | Government Digital Service posted on

    [...] the government’s corporate information on a shared platform hasn’t been done before. So the Inside Government team have been building a profile of the site’s users over the months as we’ve been [...]

  13. Comment by Explaining government policy on GOV.UK | Government Digital Service posted on

    [...] the Inside Government team, we are definining a policy as ‘a statement of the government’s position, intent or [...]

  14. Comment by Designing for the long read on Inside Government | Government Digital Service posted on

    [...] through our 30+ page templates for Inside Government, I wrote an example of each document type as linear plaintext in IA Writer, including all document [...]

  15. Comment by Updating the GOV.UK Performance Dashboard | Government Digital Service posted on

    [...] giving easier access to data.  We are also preparing some new stuff to go along side the launch of Inside Government. Using the d3.js library we can produce some really interesting visualisations, which will help our [...]

  16. Comment by A little blog on the side – Inside Inside Government | Government Digital Service posted on

    [...] quick recap for those who don’t know. Inside Government is the bit of GOV.UK which will bring together all the corporate and policy information currently [...]

  17. Comment by Have I got government news for you? | Government Digital Service posted on

    [...] first departments transition to GOV.UK on November 15th, a part of the website we refer to as Inside Government. It’s the beginning of a shared platform [...]

  18. Comment by Donna posted on

    I think this will be very good to know what the goverment is doing and be able to evaluate them. Hopefuly it works as planned.

  19. Comment by alexcoley posted on

    Good luck Neil. This is the big one. I still don't think people have fully appreciated the opportunities this will create, or how much tougher this will be. I'll be thinking of you on the 15th.