Researchers in the dark

On the Computing web site 1 June 2009 appeared a piece entitled “Public in the dark over e-government”, which states “Whilst 92 per cent of those surveyed shop online and 81 per cent used online banking, just 41 per cent had paid their car tax online and only 22 per cent paid council tax online.”

I was unable to find the detail of this  research, commissioned by IT services group Parity,  but find the survey conclusion rather like comparing apples, oranges and bananas!

People do online banking and shopping because, as well as being convenient, they can be substantially cheaper.

The relatively recent refinements at the DVLA means that renewing ones Road Fund Licence online annually (or every six months) is much easier than filling in a form, writing a cheque and queuing at the Post Office, however people do it very infrequently compared to shopping and banking.

The easiest way for both councils and residents to pay Council Tax is by Direct Debit. It’s cheap and convenient. Only if someone needs to pay by cheque or cash, or have issues with the bill do people use face-to-face or post. Online payment of Council Tax is perhaps an option for those who don’t use online banking?

What this survey indicates to me is that the researchers are in the dark about how public services are delivered!

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If you are interested and, preferably, in UK local government please complete the survey, it doesn’t take long at all. I’ll keep feeding back through these pages, which are also covered by localgov.co.uk and PSF.

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