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2.3 Cross-government requirements

Publishing date: May 2002

There are a number of requirements for sites to comply with central guidance on policy and administrative issues. Some of these apply to all sites, others to sites within specific areas of business. In each case, lead responsibility for the relevant policy area lies with a particular department or agency. The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure that departments are aware of the list of requirements and of the links to sites including Directgov.

2.3.1 Parliamentary answers referring to the Internet

Departments should comply with the following guidance when referring Members of Parliament to material on the Internet:

2.3.2 Recruitment

The Modernising Government White Paper commits the Government to making it easier for people who want to join the civil service to find out about opportunities and to apply for them.

Under the Modernising Government Action Plan, the Cabinet Office is responsible for providing a recruitment gateway to the civil service using websites. In the short term, notified vacancies will be posted on the central civil service careers site. However, departments should include recruitment pages on their own websites, to which the central site can link. Vacancy information can then be updated more quickly. These pages can then be linked where appropriate to individual recruitment units around the country.

A message that a department is not recruiting is almost as important to applicants as vacancy information, and can reduce the number of general enquiries about opportunities.

The Civil Service Recruitment Gateway is at: [External link]

2.3.3 Publication of Command Papers on the Internet

It is now common practice that, apart from the most routine documents, the full text of all Command Papers is published on the Internet. The Stationery Office Limited (TSO) will, unless otherwise advised, undertake the task of putting Command Papers on the Internet simultaneously with the preparation and publication of the print version. TSO will make a charge for the conversion and mounting on the Internet, but this can be minimised with early liaison and consultation.

TSO also archives Command Papers and will include the URL for all Command Papers in the official bibliographic record (UKOP). Details of the URL should also be included in the printed version within the text, if appropriate, or on the reverse of the title page.

To ensure effective archiving of Command Papers, TSO builds in pointers or links from the TSO site to departmental sites. In turn, departments are encouraged to put pointers from their site to the TSO site. This allows feedback and facilitates ordering of the print version direct from TSO.

Where TSO undertakes the task of publication on the Internet they have adopted the following convention for naming and locating Command Papers on the Official Documents website:

where xx is the first two digits of the Command Paper and nnnn is the full Command Paper number. The URL can then be added automatically to UKOP, and departments can quote the URL in the printed version (and elsewhere).

An example of a URL is as follows:

Cm 4764 - Intelligence and Security Committee: The Mitrokhin Inquiry Report [External link]

Although TSO can undertake the work required to enable a Command Paper to be published on the Internet, departments retain the right themselves or through a third party to license a Paper for free distribution via the Internet. Departments should, however, remember that the TSO-contracted printer might be the only source of the final electronic version of the Command Paper. Appropriate arrangements will need to be made with TSO to ensure that this is available in good time for the necessary work to be undertaken to enable simultaneous Internet publication.

When departments do opt to use alternative means for publication on the Internet and the print version of the Paper is published by TSO they should:

In order to assist searching, departments should consider placing Command Papers in directories named after an individual Command Paper’s number. An example of such a URL may be:

Cm 4764 - Intelligence and Security Committee: The Mitrokhin Inquiry Report

When publication on the Internet is intended, care needs to be taken that the text cannot be accessed before the Paper has been laid before Parliament and published in its printed format. Where TSO is undertaking publication on the Internet they will, unless otherwise advised by the department, assume that access to the Internet version is to be allowed at the same time the Paper is formally published.

It should be noted that all Command Papers published as a response to a Select Committee Report should be published on the Internet and the URL advised to the Clerk of the relevant committee. This enables the committees' web page to link to responses and so tell the whole story of a committees' inquiries.

2.3.4 Consultation papers

All UK government departments and agencies who conduct any public consultation should have arrangements in place to ensure that their own consultation web page(s) and the central Register of Consultations are absolutely up to date.

NDPBs (non-departmental public bodies) are encouraged to follow the Consultation Code and contribute to the Register. The devolved administrations are free to adopt the Code.

2.3.5 Inforoute

Inforoute is a new gateway to information held by UK government departments and it provides direct access to the government's Information Asset Register (IAR). An IAR is a database of an organisation's information assets. The government's IAR is an amalgamation of the IARs being created by each government department and agency.

Individual departments have primary responsibility for putting in place their own IARs, which they will maintain on their own websites. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO) has overall responsibility for IAR formats and standards, and for maintaining the Inforoute website. Inforoute will regularly check departmental IARs and index all of the entries so that users can search all of the records for items which cover the particular topic in which they have an interest.

In order that the Inforoute website can index all entries included in the government’s IAR it is essential that the individual IAR records can be identified. This can be done by enabling ‘directory listing’ wherever the records are held on your web server.

Where security or other considerations prevent ‘directory listing’ being enabled then a separate ‘index file’ needs to be created, otherwise the IAR search engine will not know what records need to be indexed. In this case an HTML file needs to be created. This file should be named as it will need to contain a hyperlink to each file that needs to be indexed. When new files are added or other files removed from the IAR the index file will need to be amended accordingly.

Enquiries about Inforoute or linking to Inforoute should be addressed to HMSO email:

More information on Inforoute or HMSO can be found at:

2.3.6 Gateway for local authorities -

The information for local government from central government website provides a one-stop gateway for local authorities to get quick and easy access to local government-related information on the websites of departments and agencies. The site is run by a group of five departments, with the Department of Transport Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) in the lead. Its main features include:

If you do publish information for local authorities you should contribute to this joined-up e-project. Email Anne Scott at DTLR for further information or look at the information for local government from central government website.

2.3.7 Official legislation websites

2.3.8 UK online - toolbar integration

UK online is a partnership between government, industry, the voluntary sector, trades unions and consumer groups to make the UK one of the world’s leading knowledge economies and ensure universal access to the Internet. Overview

It is a requirement that all government departments should support the remote integration of a toolbar into their websites so that the current and appropriate information from central government can be easily accessed by the users of Government websites.

The toolbar:

It is designed to fit in with most browser toolbars and to keep design of your own home page distinct and whole. The toolbar should only be integrated with your homepage and with the main page of your major subdomains.

This is achieved by means of a frameset that calls both the toolbar and the current homepage into the same browser window. The toolbar should only be applied to the home page of your site and not to the entire site. Instructions: if your site does not currently use frames

If your site already uses frames refer to section

The following code defines the frameset that splits the window into toolbar and content areas. The frameset page becomes the replacement default page for your web site. So if your current homepage is , we would recommend that the existing page is renamed and a new file created based on the following code to and saved as .

<title>The title of your government department or initiative
<frameset rows="40*" framespacing="0" framemargin="0" frameborder="0" border="no" noresize>
<frame name="ukonline_toolbar" title="This frame provides links to the UK online Citizen Portal, and to the latest news stories in Government" src="" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" noresize>
<frame name="website_content" title="This frame contains the home page of the department you are visiting" src="index2.htm" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0" noresize>
<!-- no frames alternative -->
<!-- please add your department name to the intro text and change links here appropriate -->

Insert text here that provides a textual description of your site, eg, Welcome to the Department of XYZ website.

<a href=""index2.htm"">Enter the site</a>br>
This link will take you to the UK online Citizen Portal, >a href=""""> >/a>.

Changes to your existing homepage
This toolbar need only be displayed on the homepage of your site. So when this is applied you will have to make some small changes to the code of the page.

All links in the homepage need to be changed as follows. A link like:

<a href = ""next_page.htm"">Link</a> to the next page

needs to be re-written as:

<a href = ""next_page.htm"" target=""_top"">Link</a> to the next page

If you do not do this the toolbar will appear on the new page too.

Any links you have in your site to the home page should remain unchanged so that when they are clicked on, the new home page, including the toolbar, is displayed. Instructions: if your homepage already uses frames

If your site already uses frames on the homepage or across the site, a more complicated solution is needed. As an example, if your existing homepage frameset is something like:

<frameset cols = "200, *">
<frame name="sidebar" src="sidenav.htm">
<frame name="content" src="homepage.htm">

then the code needs to be modified so that your existing frameset is nested within the new one:

<frameset rows="40,*" framespacing="0" framemargin="0" frameborder="0" border="no" noresize>
<frame name="ukonline_toolbar" title="This frame provides links to the UK online Citizen Portal, and to the latest news stories in Government" src="" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" noresize>
<frameset cols = "200, *">
<frame name="sidebar" src="sidenav.htm">
<frame name="content" src="homepage.htm">

Be aware that the UK online toolbar will remain visible for the duration of the user’s visit to the site unless extensive reworking of the site is undertaken by the Web manager. Decisions on whether or not this is an issue will lie with the Web manager. Support

Should you have any questions regarding to this document, please send them to Paul Cronk at the e-Government Unit
telephone 020 7276 3024.

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