Not so much stupid as ignorant

In effect, this is an apology to my MP, Lady Sylvia Hermon, and Margaret Ritchie, MLA, Minister for Social Development, in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Recently, on more than one occasion, I have written about the qualities of the Citizens Advice Bureau, while berating the advertisements for financial assistance so prevalent on television. My problem is the fact that I do not surf the net as a hobby, but use it more as a tool, and clearly, ineffectually.

Am I the only person who has previously never heard of Directgov, the website of the government information service? Margaret Ritchie, in reply to a letter from my MP, kindly sent a vast list of the various departments of government set up to help people in financial difficulty, and the level of funding they receive. When I read the letter I was suitably dumbfounded that I had not managed to discovered on the Internet any of these bodies. If I had gone to Directgov I would have found all the information I wanted not only on a national basis, but on a parochial basis.

I write this, because I am aware that there are a lot of people of my age, and probably a lot younger, who are not particularly computer literate, in the way the government and local authorities expect us to be, when they send vital information of our day-to-day requirements on the Internet. I know I have gone over this ground before, but Directgov is so far-reaching that it should be drawn to everyone’s attention, not just the 175 people who read my blog daily. I trust that someone will pick this up and broadcast it more widely. I have used it now to discover a number of departments of government that I have wanted to contact, but previously had had little success.

Categorized as General

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