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News shots….30 March 2017



Defra launches invasive species reporting app

An app to allow people to report sightings of an invasive inspect species has been launched by the Non-native Species Secretariat, a joint venture between the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), the Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. 

Named Asian Hornet Watch, it contains pictures of similar-looking insects with information to help people judge whether an insect is indeed an Asian hornet, which poses a threat to native honey bees. When sightings are recorded, bee inspectors will intervene to eradicate them.

The app is available to download from the Apple and Android app stores.

GOV.UK usability tester panel goes live

Government Digital Service's (GDS) user research team has launched a panel for the GOV.UK website which may be rolled out across all government departments.

It is a database of people who have volunteered to participate in sessions to test the usability of GOV.UK web pages – both general users and people visiting specific pages.

GDS procured and contracted for the user research panel so it could be shared across government and now plans to run a pilot with two departments to test whether a cross-government platform is viable and to “expand from there.”

Early retirement for GOV.UK business API

GDS Technology, the software development arm of Government Digital Sevice (GDS), is to retire an API it created which lets people and organisations re-use GOV.UK’s database of information about financial assistance.

Business Support Finder API provides information on UK business grants and loans, among others, prevents duplication of data and allows organisations to tailor information to their individual needs. 

GDS says in a blogpost that it made the decision because "it has seen so little use" and  changes to the GOV.UK architecture. It says the API, which will be turned off in April, was only ever a custom component within GOV.UK’s systems, "running as a prototype without any official support." 

Business support content will be included in a supported, public API for GOV.UK content in future.

Image credit: GOV.UK website




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