A Single Government Website is Hard To Do

APRIL 3, 2016

Examples of the steps … President [Clinton] directed agencies to take include [in December 1999 memo]:

  1. Create One-Stop Access for Existing Government Information. The President directed the Administrator of the General Services Administration, in conjunction with other government entities, to create a portal for government information, based “not by agency, but by the type of service or information that people may be seeking; the data should be identified and organized in a way that makes it easier for the public to find the information it seeks.” (In June 2000, President Clinton announced that firstgov.gov, a free web site that will provide a single point of entry to all government on-line resources, would be created. In September 2000, the site became operational.)

Source: p. 26 of The Role of Government in a Digital Age by Orszag, Stiglitz and Orszag]

Interesting to note that that memo was written in 1999. A decade+ later governments would still be struggling to implement this recommendation. For exmaple, a single online access point for government information was a central recommendation in the Lane-Fox report on UK e-government in 2010 that would lead to the creation of the UK’s GDS and the launch of a single online platform (gov.uk) in 2012.