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Roadmap update: Friday 12 September

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: What we're working on

We post roadmap updates twice a month which show what the GOV.UK team has recently changed and what we’re working on next.

The second post in each month includes an updated product roadmap which gives a longer-term view of the changes we’re planning.

Things we’ve done since 29 August

For GOV.UK users

In the past couple of weeks, we’ve:

  • completed transition of 6 more agencies leaving 58 agencies to go
  • introduced the ability for GDS content designers to curate (organise and order) lists of content on sub-topic browse pages under sub-headings
  • changed how search works on the Land Registry organisation page so that the results page is filtered to that organisation’s content by default (this is an experiment to find out if scoping search by organisation meets users’ needs better)
  • changed the colour of visited links to increase contrast
  • added 'high profile groups' (parts of central government which aren’t strictly speaking 'organisations' but which could be mistaken for them) to the list of all organisations

For government publishers

For our users around government, we’ve:

  • supported them through the automatic suspension of unused signon accounts (to unsuspend your account, contact a GOV.UK managing editor in your organisation or your parent organisation)
  • settled on a consistent and clear set of names for browse elements (we’d been using different terms until now which has been causing confusion). We’ll blog about the new naming conventions soon
  • launched an alpha version of the government content community, an online forum for web editors across government to share information and ask and answer questions
  • added a short URL manager to speed up the process of setting up new short URLs (this is internal to GDS for now but will be rolled out to departments and agencies soon)
  • let content designers compare differences between editions in Travel Advice Publisher
  • tightened up access control around restricted sections in Whitehall Publisher, eg creating organisations
  • improved the way publishers leave change notes when changing release dates on Statistics Announcements
  • made a change so that publishers are taken back to their pre-set filter after publishing a document in Whitehall Publisher

Technical improvements

In the past few weeks we’ve:

  • moved the functionality that redirects requests from to behind a content delivery network (CDN) to make the site more secure
  • produced scripts that will make it quicker for GDS developers to manage changes to topic and sub-topic browse tags
  • completed work on conversion of the Transition Tool to the Postgres database, allowing the tool to manage huge datasets associated with transitioning the very large sites
  • completed work on retiring Redirector (an application to redirect Directgov and Businesslink nearly 2 years ago, now superseded by the Transition Tool), simplifying the transition architecture and reducing the number of applications we need to support

Things we plan to do next

For GOV.UK users

In the next couple of weeks, we plan to:

  • continue to transition more agencies onto GOV.UK
  • continue building a finder for safety updates, alerts and recalls for drugs and medical devices
  • show users contacts related to those they are looking at
  • finish work on the ability to mark content as being in beta

For government publishers

We will:

  • continue to work on publishing user needs and usage data about GOV.UK pages, to help content designers measure performance and improve content
  • continue to work on a tool to make it easier to build smart answers
  • speed up the load time of the document creating/editing form in Whitehall Publisher
  • iterate the publishing workflow in Whitehall Publisher so that a creating editor can review and publish a document if another editor submits it
  • limit editing of organisations so that only publishers belonging to that organisation can edit and publish their content
  • iterate the feature in Whitehall Publisher to link to a document hosted on another website

Technical improvements

On the tech side, we'll continue work on the single publishing pipeline with a focus on URL arbitration (stopping applications from trying to use the same URL for different pages).

Sharing and comments

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  1. Comment by Umair Ahmad posted on

    Hi Neil

    These roadmap updates are very useful so thanks.

    Quick question: Does the short URL tool give departments/agencies the ability to create short URLs for any piece of content on GOV.UK? I'm assuming people would still need to follow the URL standards for GOV.UK when using the tool -


    • Replies to Umair Ahmad>

      Comment by Roo Reynolds posted on

      Hi Umair

      At first, we'll be trying out the new tool by using it internally within GDS. Once we're comfortable it's working we hope to open up access so other organisations can use it to request short redirects. For now, they should continue to use the existing support form as normal.

      You're right that the URL standards will still apply to all URL requests.


      Roo Reynolds
      Product manager, GOV.UK user formats