Govt Plans E-Gazette To Post Notices Online

May 4, 2018 | 3 Comments

The Government plans to establish an e-Gazette to publish official notices online, Minister of Government Reform Lovitta Foggo said, adding that benefits will include “time savings, easy access to and retrieval of information” and “cost savings of in excess of $300,000 a year for the Government.”

Speaking in the House of Assembly today [May 4], Minister Foggo said, “As highlighted in the 2018/19 National Budget Statement, the Ministry for the Cabinet Office with Responsibility for Government Reform will establish an e-Gazette.

“That is, the Government will move the Official Gazette from the newspaper to an online platform that will be available on the Government’s own portal – www.gov.bm.

“There is a legal requirement to publish statutory instruments and other official notices,” Minister Foggo continued. “The publication of these notices in the newspaper originates from a bygone era when printed text in a newspaper or notices posted within the public square was the key source of information.

“Today however, given advances in technology, the way information is consumed has changed dramatically. Website traffic to www.gov.bm has increased significantly in recent years. The community is demonstrating that they require direct, easy, and convenient access to government information through their use of technology.

“Technology is an excellent means of creating greater efficiencies,” she said. ”An e-Gazette will benefit both Government and the public. Benefits will include time savings, easy access to and retrieval of information, and notwithstanding that a small portion is recouped in some instances, cost savings of in excess of three hundred thousand dollars a year for the Government.

“Whilst the Interpretation Amendment Act 2018, tabled in this Honourable House today, seeks to make provisions to designate alternative media as the official gazette, it is not expected that the transition to a new online Official Gazette will occur until at least the third quarter of this year.

“My aim today is to advise this Honourable House, and by extension the general public, of the planned change and to invite views on the functional requirements of the platform and transition plans.

“A short questionnaire is now available on www.gov.bm. Honourable members and the general public are invited to provide input into the development of the site to ensure that it meets the needs of all segments of the community.

“The Government is taking the necessary steps to provide modern, innovative digital tools to fulfil its responsibilities efficiently and effectively,” the Minister said, adding that the aim “is a future-forward Government.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Good morning, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to inform this Honourable House that as highlighted in the 2018/19 National Budget Statement, the Ministry for the Cabinet Office with Responsibility for Government Reform will establish an e-Gazette.

That is, the Government will move the Official Gazette from the newspaper to an on-line platform that will be available on the Government’s own portal – www.gov.bm.

Honourable members will know that there is a legal requirement to publish statutory instruments and other official notices. The publishing of these notice is an important means for ensuring the public is kept informed of specific Government actions and decisions.

Mr. Speaker, the publication of these notices in the newspaper originates from a bygone era when printed text in a newspaper or notices posted within the public square was the key source of information. Visit our World Heritage Site, the Old Town of St. George and you’ll find such a notice board on King Square.

Today however, given advances in technology, the way information is consumed has changed dramatically. Website traffic to www.gov.bm has increased significantly in recent years. The community is demonstrating that they require direct, easy, and convenient access to government information through their use of technology.

Mr. Speaker, technology is an excellent means of creating greater efficiencies.

An e-Gazette will benefit both Government and the public. Benefits will include time savings, easy access to and retrieval of information, and notwithstanding that a small portion is recouped in some instances, cost savings of in excess of three hundred thousand dollars a year for the Government.

Mr. Speaker, whilst the Interpretation Amendment Act 2018, tabled in this Honourable House today, seeks to make provisions to designate alternative media as the official gazette, it is not expected that the transition to a new online Official Gazette will occur until at least the third quarter of this year.

Mr Speaker, my aim today is to advise this Honourable House, and by extension the general public, of the planned change and to invite views on the functional requirements of the platform and transition plans.

Mr. Speaker, whilst some members of the community use official notices for information only, other members of the community may have a business need and therefore may clip and file notices for client use and/or official notices may be used to trigger other business processes. The Government is therefore seeking feedback on the functionality that various segments of the community require so that we can ensure that the new online gazette meets the needs to all of the stakeholder.

Also Mr. Speaker, recognizing that not all members of the community have access to computers, following the transition to the new online official gazette, “some” Official Notices will continue to be published “for information” in other media. The Government is seeking input on which notices should continue to appear in other media “for information” following the launch of the e-Gazette platform.

Mr. Speaker, a short questionnaire is now available on www.gov.bm. Honourable members and the general public are invited to provide input into the development of the site to ensure that it meets the needs of all segments of the community.

Mr. Speaker, the Government is taking the necessary steps to provide modern, innovative digital tools to fulfil its responsibilities efficiently and effectively.

The aim, Mr. Speaker, is a future-forward Government for the people of Bermuda.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Math says:

    Save $300k. What is this figure, what they spend now? How does this compare to the added cost of having internal staff to design and publish the items online, and the IT support for this as well as the intial setup and design costs?

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    “There is a legal requirement to publish statutory instruments and other official notices,” Minister Foggo continued. “The publication of these notices in the newspaper originates from a bygone era when printed text in a newspaper or notices posted within the public square was the key source of information.”

    Yes, and this way the Government can control what is published, how is it published and how it is stored. If some “old” person doesn’t have a computer or “smart” phone, too bad. If you do not print out the Government portal on the correct day to prove publication (or lack of publication), too bad.

    It reminds me of the old Stalinist joke about the voter who opened the envelope his ballot was in. He was told not to open the envelope with his ballot in it as it was a “secret ballot”!

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