The page is divided up not by individual ministries (or Departments of State as they are known in the UK), but by categories of information that citizens need. What a revolutionary idea! Before you say "this could never happen in Poland", please note that Gov.uk did not appear overnight, but is an extention of the previous UK Government portal. Directgov.uk, launched back in 2004. While - unlike its successor - Directgov.uk never won prizes for design, it did make a start on bringing all government services under one umbrella.
Polish ministries are so disjointed that there's no link between, say, the foreign affairs ministry (MSZ) to the ministry of the economy (MG) or to the Premier's Chancellery. 'Silosowość' (silo mentality) is still all-pervasive, with ministries squabbling among themselves - typically the 'spór kompetencyjny', either 'pozytywny' or 'negatywny' - "No, this is not that ministry's business, it's our ministry's", or else - "it's not our ministry's business - it's that ministry that decides."
To get to Gov.uk, heads had to be bashed together, monstrous egos soothed, obstacles removed from way - but more importantly there needed to be the top-down will to get the job done.
Another example of British online public service excellence is the National Health Service's check your symptom website. Rather than bung up the Accident & Emergency wards of hospitals up and down the land with people worried that they might be suffering from chronic thromatoid phlebosis, you click onto this excellent service. It will talk you through your symptoms in easy-to-understand English ,and diagnose quickly whether you need to take an aspirin and go to bed early or to phone immediately for an ambulance.
NHS Direct is saving the UK Government millions - each month 1.5 million people come here to see whether or not their symptoms are indeed serious. I've used this service here in Poland for family and friends, and it has saved the Polish national health fund (NFZ) several hundred zlotys in unnecessary visits to the doctors being forestalled. (Food poisoning or allergic reaction? The latter. Forget the ambulance.) But just compare the above page with the NFZ's home page:
Poland's e-government initiatives are going nowhere fast. Minister Michał Boni, who was meant to bring about a great revolution in the way government delivers services online, was relinquished of his post as Minister of Administration and Digitalisation in November. Whether his successor Rafał Trzaskowski will manage to drag the Polish government into the 21st Century remains to be seen - I can but wish him all the very best. I'd love to see Polish public services delivered online with the same clarity and usefulness as the UK ones are.
This time last year:
My brother at 50 - and as a child
This time last year:
First snow in the Old Town
This time two years ago:
Blood on the tracks, again
This time three years ago:
Views from Książęca footbridge - winter and summer
This time four years ago:
The Most Poniatowskiego