Unless you are compelled to trawl the grey media for research purposes another study that may not have come everyone’s way is from the Innovation Unit entitled “The Engagement Ethic“, a slim, 35 page, PDF, that goes some way to criticizing the New Public Management model of citizen as customer along with the resultant issues.
Written by John Craig, Matthew Horne and Prof. Denis Mongon it is essentially about the use of co-operative and mutual governance when delivering public services. However, as well as consumerism, it does examine engagement, disengagement and the influence people think they have upon public services.
A key part of the summary is their argument that (p.5): “approaches to both delivery and governance have to change if we are to build an ethic of engagement at the heart of our public services.”
Importantly, whilst emphasising the need to help people to help themselves, it is stated that (p.14): “what they most want from public services is knowledgeable staff that provide high-quality advice.” So whilst your web site might provide the service, you may need human beings to answer, confirm or assist with any questions that might arise before they tackle that application.
Whilst web services are cheaper, services have to be delivered to the quality needed by the citizen and if this means mediated, it should be provided that way.