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Topical event landing pages (updated 11 April 2014)

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The information in this blogpost may now be out of date. See the current GOV.UK content and publishing guidance.

Each year, the Queen's Speech sets out the government's legislative agenda for the coming session of the House of Commons.

It’s a high-profile set-piece event which brings together news items and other publications from a number of departments.

On GOV.UK, we provide users with a point of entry to all of this content through a 'topical event' landing page. So this is a bit about our thinking about these topical event pages, and what to do when you're considering setting one up.

What do topical event pages do?

Topical event pages are designed to support a particular event, taking place at a particular moment in time. Like standard topics, they exist to meet a user’s need to know ‘what is the government doing about this?’

These pages provide a curated, coherent view of all government policies, announcements and publications around the event. They can be given short, marketable, URLs which can be used in promotion.

Examples of topical event pages we’ve set up include

We probably would’ve set one up for the Olympics too.

Unlike standard topics, topical event pages have a short shelf-life, a time beyond which they are no longer relevant. So when you create the page, you’ll also need to set the date on which it should be archived.

What sort of event should they be used for?

Topical event pages are still quite a new format and we’re still learning about what they should and shouldn’t be used for.

As a rule of thumb, however, they should be used for events which:

  • are of significance to the majority of GOV.UK's users, including the general public (eg the event is featured on the Today programme and other major news media)
  • are the responsibility of central government
  • involve activity by a number of government agencies
  • are likely to generate a high volume of content (eg, not just one or two news stories)

We will usually not use the format:

  • for issues on which the government position can be covered by topic or policy pages, and/or document collections (eg, Scottish devolution, or changes to the healthcare system)
  • to issue emergency guidance to the general public and businesses - if there’s a need for such guidance, it should be covered by a mainstream or emergency content page
  • for events which are smaller in scale, or which can be reasonably covered via a lead news story on a department homepage
  • as a means of bringing about behaviour change - this is the role of campaign pages
  • for stuff on which the response is not led by central government

If you’re thinking of setting up a topical events page, just give us a shout, and we’ll discuss whether it’s the right thing for you.

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