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Statement from Stephen Penneck, ONS Director General on the ONS website

Issue date: 11 December 2011
Type: Statement

Over the weekend of 10-11 December ONS made further improvements to the functionality of the website, to address priority concerns for users.

The new functionality includes:

  • the ability to include reference tables in statistical bulletin pdfs

  • improvements to the presentation of the key figures page

  • fixes to a number of bugs affecting the main site search

These latest improvements follow on from new functionality released 22-23 October that included:

  • improvements to the format of datasets (Time Series Data) downloaded in Excel - annual, quarterly, and monthly data is now shown separately

  • adding the four digit identifiers (CDIDs) to dataset downloads

  • identification of common pages viewed by users on the old website that are no longer available and setting up redirects

  • improvements to the format of pdfs

  • suppression of branches of the web structure that do not contain any outputs

  • adding a ‘Taking part in a survey’ link to the homepage, which allows those selected for surveys to find information easily

  • the ability to view larger versions of maps

  • the ability to select multiple regions for regional information

  • fixes to over 120 minor bugs

In addition, a dedicated team has been established to carry out a complete review of the website. They are prioritising publishing missing content.

Further improvements to the search functionality are a priority. We have been able to include a small number of improvements with this release, and further improvements will be made early next year.

The new website offers a number of improvements that include:

  • a logical structure to outputs and a consistent look and feel

  • improved ability to reuse tables by publishing them in Excel format

  • meeting the government's standards for accessibility (which the old website did not)

  • a new hosting provider, giving a better service

  • a modernised IT infrastructure, which is more robust and efficient, replacing unreliable and inefficient hardware

We understand the difficulties you are experiencing, are working to resolve them, and will keep you up to date with further improvements. We thank you for your valued feedback on how we are doing, and appreciate the efforts that you have made in letting us know your views.

Our customer contact centre is on hand to guide you to the content you require as quickly as possible. Please contact them at info@ons.gsi.gov.uk or on 0845 601 3034.

Stephen Penneck
Director General

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