“There are about 24,000 U.S. Government Web sites now online.”

“Only a minority of government agencies have developed strong Web policies and management controls. Some have hundreds of “legacy” Web sites with outdated or irrelevant content.”

“We have too much content to categorize, search, and manage effectively, and there is no comprehensive system for removing or archiving old or underused content.”

“Agencies should be required and funded to regular content reviews, to ensure their online content is accurate. relevant, mission-related, and written in plain language. They should have a process for archiving content that is no longer in frequent use and no longer required on the Web site.”

According to my twitter search RSS feed, the term “Government 2.0” is increasing in frequency and popularity. More bloggers and more blog posts continue to emerge on what and how government should improve its online Web presence, leveraging social media. Thus, I was enthused to read last week’s report from the experts themselves: government, to accomplish just this.

Last week, the Federal Web Managers Council, comprised of Cabinet agency Web Directors released its study titled, “Putting Citizens First: Transforming Online Government.” Its purpose is to “recommend specific strategies for revolutionizing how the U.S. Government delivers online services to the American people.

One of the most exciting pieces of the report (in my opinion) is what I understand as the government’s endorsement for more social media:

“The Government should use social media, not just to create transparency, but also to help people accomplish core tasks…To do this, the government must ensure that federal employees who need access to social media tools have them, and that these new ways of delivering content are available to all, including people with disabilities.”

Within this document, the Federal Web Managers Council also reveal their shared vision for the government’s presence online. This vision is for the public to:

  • Easily find relevant, accurate, and up-to-date information
  • Understand information the first time they read it
  • Complete common tasks efficiently
  • Get the same answer whether they use the Web, phone, email, live chat, read a brochure, or visit in-person.
  • Provide feedback and ideas and hear what the government will do with them
  • Access critical information if they have a disability or aren’t proficient in English.

The list of recommendations is not limited to but includes:

  • Establish Web Communications as a core government business function
  • Help the public complete common government tasks efficiently
  • Clean up clutter so people can find what they need online
  • Engage the public in a dialogue to improve our customer service
  • Ensure under-served populations can access critical information online.

For more information or to read the report in its entirety, the full report is available here.

Your Turn: What do think of the recommendations, how would you prioritize and what else might you include?

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