Going continental

Those colleagues in the UK struggling to implement the EU Services Directive will be please to realise that there are lots more services that are pan-European. A new, 188-page, report from the Rand Corporation entitled “Towards a Digital Europe, Serving Its Citizens” by Constantijn van Oranje-Nassau and R. Weehuizen raises some of the potential e-government issues for the Union and its multiplicity of services.

They have also developed a whole new range of snappy acronyms e.g. PEGS which is Pan European E-government Services for the Citizen, but perhaps it comes out different in Dutch?

The sad thing about ELMS as the European Licensing systems is known is that it came in to the 350+ English councils after they’d some spent years developing their local e-government solutions to licence applications. No doubt, some were still quite basic with a PDF for those seldom used zoo licenses, or an e-form or two for the regular applications and even some sporadic back-office integration. Now, with a centralized solution being offered by BIS, this is now largely being replaced by a new shiny front end that covers all those areas where a licence might be required, and will need to facilitate online payment from anywhere in the EU.

Since licensing is an area that is riddled with legalities, bureaucracy and history, it will turn out to be yet another case of “lipstick on the pig”, with applications dribbling in and being dealt with in the same old way and at great expense.

Another case of “build it and they will come”…lets hope they do and in sufficient numbers to repay the effort!

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