What do you think of official Get Help Here?

A nice personal email from the marketing people at Directgov – official gateway to government information and services – invites me to take a look at their new tool Get Help Here.
It’s aimed at 16-20 year olds, providing a decision tree to “offer advice on retraining, providing help with finding  a job or financial assistance” in these tough times.

We’re keen to find out what you and your readers think of the tool and, if they like it, to hopefully share with friends and family. Directgov is trying to reach users who are online but are currently unaware of the services we provide. If we can get people looking at and sharing tools like “Get Help Here”, hopefully we’ll contact more of the people who will really benefit from the content that sits on Directgov.

To that end, the tool has been designed so that helpful bloggers can embed it directly, rather than just providing a link … so here you are … except I can’t get the embed to work. It tells me “this application must be a minimum of 400 x 350 pixels to work properly” even after I reduce the size in the embed code. Sorry, you’ll just have to go to the main site. It’s probably my problem not theirs, so I’ll be looking out for successful embeds.

Despite that difficulty, I appreciate the distributed approach, but I’m not a great expert on the niceties of official information for young people. However, I know people who are. Or at least I think I do. Try the easy route for the lazy reviewer. Ask Twitter. The immediate responses are varied:

about time too, first of many?

well I’m glad they are trying this sort of thing & opening up a bit but the app isn’t that inspiring

I don’t see the point at all. Doesn’t seem to do anything helpful.

haven’t looked yet – I like widgets, idea of – but if like drectgovkids … remember that?

my view is that rural people won’t be able to access the directgov site, or will take too long to use

directgov thing is awful and just shows how limited the government thinks our potential is – what narrow options!

The official @dirtectgov tweet got rather more positive responses, as you can see here.

Well, one way or another I feel I’ve helped spread the word.

The email made up for the shock and dissappointment of hearing from Lord Carter today that I had not been selected as a member of the official Digital Inclusion Task Force, due for announcement tomorrow with the official naming of the Digital Champion, expected to be Martha Lane Fox. Well, not really.

I recall some conversations a couple of months ago about others who would be good on the Task Forcde, but  didn’t think anyone would actually nominate me.

I’m not a great committee person, as demonstrated here to the more modest Citizen Engagement Tools Sub-Programme Board. Still they haven’t thrown me off, and next month’s agenda includes the “Government’s Digital Inclusion Landscape” following the announcements on the Champion, apparently tomorrow, and Digital Britain report (which is apparently delayed).

I think I’m most comfortable on the edge. Not entirely sure how directly-engaged social reporters should be with gov.

Still, it’s nice to be asked. So – has anyone managed that embed?


  • June 16, 2009 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Whenever I try to get the embed code, I’m told to ‘enter a valid website address’, I thought at first it was my .me.uk domain but I’ve tried a few others and get the same message!

    Seems like a good idea, there are a bunch of flash tools on the site I work on which could easily use the same functionality and be embedded elsewhere.

  • June 16, 2009 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Caspar @Directgov say their designers are looking into it. I haven’t yet found any examples of successful embeds 🙂

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