When driving to the office, yesterday, listening to The DirectGov ads, and looking at the posters while in traffic jams, it occurred to me that the only time I'm conscious of ever having used DirectGov is when I've renewed car tax or TV licences, in which cases I've followed links directly, and it really hasn't mattered where the services were located.
Invariably, if I want to find something I know isn't in my bookmarks or browser cache, I Google it - and can never remember having landed-up on a DirectGov site (although I sometimes land on Council sites).
The same applies to Council sites. I would never go to them directly. Although I may be looking for local Council information, I'd invariably search for the place-name and subject I'm interested in; I don't care where I get the answer from.
I'm sure I can't be alone in this?
Socitm Insight's website take-up service says that 26.85% of hits come from Google (1.75% from DirectGov) and 45.91% from previous visits, inferring that, already, only about a quarter of the usage comes from people who go directly to a site to search for information.
As a member of the Government domain names board, it's started me wondering whether there's really any raison d'Ãªtre for our work.
It really doesn't matter how many websites there are, or what they are called, if citizens can find and access the services they are looking for?
With the number of trade stories predicting that services will increasingly be delivered from the Cloud growing steadily, it behoves us to consider the secure, joined-up Government journey on which we've embarked.
The development of Government Connect with identity and authentication services on a Public Sector Network across Government logically means that the Cloud services we use will also be on the PSN - the "G-Cloud", which must have significant implications for most suppliers' planned market approach.
Hopefully, too, this will provide a key session at the planned Government Connect/ Ocean/PSN Conference.