Focus not frills

Andrea di Maio of Gartner highlights the E-Gov Satisfaction Index Q4 2009 from the USA in his blog of March 12th 2010 #. What Andrea picks up on is the factor that the leading sites in the satisfaction ratings are ones that focus upon particular services, whilst the portals don’t gain the same levels. In Andrea’s words “more focus, less thrills and frills.”

This comes in contrast to the Prime Minister’s announcement on the 22nd March 2010 about Mygov. Mygov is a  project to be led by newly promoted UK Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox that it is claimed will provide a simple dashboard for managing pensions, tax credits, child benefits and paying council tax amongst many, many other government services.

Whilst I applaud the concept, I am asking ten years on from the Modernising Government White Paper and the start of the e-government experience, that rather than starting the excavation of the foundations for another BIG project we survey the public for the “quick wins”. OK, this one is only £30 million, but lets make the best possible use of the money and see about some savings coming back from the investment.

I am aware from my seat on the Local CIO Council that the Chair, Jos Creese, recently wrote to Martha Lane Fox offering the LCIOC’s support to her work as Champion for Digital Inclusion. In her new role I would suggest that the involvement of the wider public sector is more important. Local councils are in day-to-day contact with the public over a range of matters, many of them should never warrant being made electronic, when detailed and complicated advice is required (that’s not to say that information and guidance can’t be published), but we are also at the coal-face of democracy when we administer elections, deal with basic local issues and recognise the communities in their geographic and social settings. 

If this is truly a move towards deliberative government, before any work starts we need to be asking questions about which government services the citizens would like online? Is it to do with health? Is it to so with benefits? Perhaps it’s around planning or highways? I don’t know, has anyone ever asked them?

# One thing confusing me is that Andrea describes it as being published on March 12th, whilst I had it as 26th January, having blogged about it a few days after that in “Satisfaction levels out“?

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