Tucked away amongst the Christmas holiday reading was a post on his blog in Computer Weekly by Philip Virgo entitled “The case for e-Government values your time at zero.” Philip, of course, has something of a connection with electronic government having been Secretary General of EURIM (the Parliamentary/industry Information Society allance) since 1996, so should be worth listening to. It’s also not the first time he’s been mentioned here, about “Why e-government fails“!
Unlike the title infers, this is less an indictment of e-government for not delivering, than a critique of the actual use of technology and the many who are excluded for one reason or another. For example the second paragraph starts with “Most ICT surveys count “users” of a product or service as those who have used it at least once. They consequently delude themselves and their marketing departments with claims of market size and share.” This a common failing of many of the rationales for e-government expansion.
In the penultimate paragraph he also reminds us that: “The growth in the number of elderly, with a consequent growth in numbers with impaired eyesight and/or hearing, calls into question the growing reliance on screen and keyboard or call centre for contact between those in need of service in the inner cities, suburbs and rural areas and those delivering it to them.” I read this as a rejoinder to preserve, faciltate or develop quality mediated services whenever electronic government is thought of.
Philip states that he intends to blog his submission to the “Ideal Government challenge” shortly, and encourages us to bear his comments in mind if we do so.