Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Take the direct route

How the government’s nidirect website is now attracting 250,000 hits a month just a year after its launch.

In just over a year since launch, the government’s nidirect website has become the portal of choice for information on government services. Last month was the most successful month to date, with 250,000 visits.

The site is part of the overall nidirect programme, which is about making it easier for the citizen to get through to government. People can access nidirect via the website, telephone, public access kiosks and the SMS service.

The website works on the principle that you don’t need to know how government works to find what you are looking for. nidirect has lots of practical, useful information and transactions for everyone — from checking on benefits to applying for a passport or ordering a birth certificate, you can find it all on www.nidirect.gov.uk

More of us than ever are doing business online, whether it is booking a flight or hotel, banking, or shopping. nidirect is perfectly placed to meet this demand, as it features more than 150 online transactions that can be done at a time that suits you. For example, you can book your car in for its MOT, apply for or replace your passport, or find information about health services in your area.

If you cannot access the internet at home, your local library provides computers with free internet access. In addition, public access kiosks are now located in a variety of locations across Northern Ireland, from hospitals to shopping centres. This interactive channel allows users to navigate the nidirect website by touching icons and the links on the screens, making it easy whether you have experience of the internet or not.

On the telephone, the nidirect contact centres provide a first point of contact for the provision of information for customers of the Planning Service, Land and Property Services, General Register Office and Angling NI.

Staff will be able to answer a range of information queries on behalf of selected government services and, where appropriate, issue forms and information leaflets. nidirect is also committed to reducing the number of government telephone numbers.

The SMS number ‘66101’ is now available for all government campaigns. The text service has the ability to enable citizens to request information, engage with government campaigns or receive reminders and updates by SMS.

So, why not check out nidirect today — you can even follow it on Twitter and Facebook.

For further information contact feedback@nidirect.gov.uk

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