Dodds launches official government website
Finance Minister Nigel Dodds has launched a new website aimed at making government services and information more accessible to the people of Northern Ireland.
Speaking at the event at Clare House, Belfast, Mr Dodds praised www.nidirect.gov.uk for its style and ease of use.
He said: “The NI Direct programme is a major part of our plan to reform government services.
“We aim to make it as easy as possible for the people of Northern Ireland to access and use their government information and services. This is a key objective in the Programme for Government and my department has shown its leadership by providing this new website within its target.
“Instead of surfing a range of government websites for information, the public can now visit www.nidirect.gov.uk."
Mr Dodds said the website was already proving popular as users have been visiting it to keep up-to-date with latest initiatives from all government departments.
"In the past week it has really shown its value," he said. "Information on swine flu which previously would have been on a range of different government sites can now be found in one location."
There are 16 themes within www.nidirect.gov.uk under headings such as Motoring, Property and housing, Employment and Money, tax and benefits.
Available services include booking an MOT, ordering birth, death and marriage certificates, buying or renewing a TV licence or finding local schools and nurseries. The site also contains public information video and audio downloads.
Donna Magee, Interim Chief Executive of the Consumer Council said: "The launch of NI Direct is good news for consumers who now have a single point of contact for accessing public services.
"The Consumer Council is proud to have worked in partnership with the Department of Finance and Personnel on this important project by representing the consumer voice and ensuring it was taken into account throughout the development of NI Direct."
Have you used the NI Direct website yet? Do you think it makes government more accessible? Send us your comments using the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.