It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the BIS webbies (not for me though; I’ve been putting my feet up for the last week in rural Suffolk). A quick round-up of some of the highlights:

A new website for BIS: Neil’s team, working with our corporate IT unit and EduServ, have been working ferociously hard, at times uphill, and for the last umpteen weekends, to merge the old DIUS and BERR websites into the new site which launched over the weekend. Neil has the skinny. There’s a huge amount of work and care gone into the site, some really clever technical touches and some solid planning to help us adapt to whatever Providence throws our way. As Neil explains, we’re aiming for some fairly radical openness about the site going forward – you can easily see what it cost, (and what it will save), what its predecessors cost, what customer insight it’s based on, and what our real-time web traffic statistics are – and tell us what works and what doesn’t in a new GetSatisfaction forum. Fantastic work, chaps.

Like Simon, I’ll admit to waving a bittersweet farewell to the interim, WordPress-based site which helped us manage f0r 9 months. I’ve got a future blog post brewing on the pros and cons of lightweight tools, and plan to say more there.

Who Gets The Tip? We’ve kicked off a little campaign to encourage hospitality businesses to be transparent in how tips and service charges are divided, by encouraging consumers to ask the question ‘Who Gets The Tip?’. It’s a very brief, rather unusual project combining social media and traditional PR as equal partners and working with the excellent Diffusion on the online aspects. I particularly love the intro video, made in-house by, and starring, the team. Top stuff, led by Jenny. When you’re out and about, ask your waiter; and if you know someone who runs a hospitality business, suggest they generate a pie chart of how they split their tips, and add themselves to the Google map.

Company Charges consultation: We’re still experimenting with formats for online consultation, and the latest project is a niche consultation on changes to company regulation. We could have just whacked some PDFs up there and had done with it, but the policy lead was keen to offer more scope for online interaction between respondents (who don’t tend to dabble in mainstream social media). So the interactive response site built entirely by the talented Alistair Reid is an interesting WordPress/Scribd hybrid, which hopefully makes a big document more navigable and, well, interactive. We’ll see how it goes. It’s a sad consequence of the tightening of public sector finances that we’re having to say goodbye to Alistair at the end of his contract. He’s a fantastic all-round webby, social media maven, copywriter and colleague. For goodness sake, somebody hire him, quick.

Social Media channels survey: back in the autumn, we conducted some popup-survey and focus group user research into corporate site visitors – but what about our social media channels? With audiences consuming our content through RSS, email subscriptions, desktop clients and web interfaces, how can we get quick, cheap, useful feedback to help us evaluate those channels? Alistair and team have come up with a neat approach to promoting the survey: make a video, take a picture, send some tweets. Give us your thoughts.

As you can tell, I’m hugely proud of the team. They’re awesome.

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