Internet Newsletter for Lawyers
January/February 2004, by Delia Venables

Department for Constitutional Affairs Launches its New Site

The DCA has now (at last) launched its new website (see It was just about to be launched in early summer as the new LCD site (see the May/June issue for Mike Wicksteed's report) when the DCA was announced, and the site went back to the drawing board. Then the DCA was given responsibility for the Hutton Inquiry site, taking precedence over the department's own plans, which put it back still further.

So what is it like? I think it is impressive. Hardly any other sites have such a mass of nitty gritty information to provide in a coherent form for so many entirely different types of viewers (including lawyers, academics and "ordinary" people) and where it really matters if the information provided is correct. The site is fast to load and has the excellent characteristic that the different sections of the site are genuine html pages with a stable web address. Thus, other sites (such as my own) can link to the relevant section, e.g. human rights or data protection, rather than requiring the viewer to search for themselves on the DCA site.

Another good feature is that links from other sites to the old LCD site are automatically redirected to the relevant part of the new one. That is particularly useful since there must be thousands of other sites which have got links to the LCD site and where it would be very annoying if the information was suddenly unobtainable.

There is a What's New section prominently displayed on the opening page and the graphics and backgrounds are restrained and re-used across the site so as not to waste the viewer's time with lots of downloads.

There is a good search facility and the site adheres to the Cabinet Office guidelines with regard to accessibility, e.g. the print size can be changed.

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