E-government Tightrope

Whilst the US, UK and European governments struggle with their finances we  may forget that others are in the same boat. Darren Greenwood in New Zealand reports in ZDNet 16 February 2012 on the trials and tribulations occurring in the Antipodes – E-Government is a Dangerous Tightrope. Whilst ‘Digital by Default’ is the buzzword in the UK, New Zealand, it would appear, is looking to a similar approach without the safety net for those who can’t or won’t use digital access.

There is also a great fear of offshoring of call centres and IT development, and even of ‘Google government’. With its similar climate to our UK one I would have thought ‘cloud’ might have caught on in NZ but there was no mention. Perhaps its time to look to a compromise situation where a local but national ‘cloud’ can constrain the push to offshore systems or developments. Offshoring has been tried in the UK without great success but Google is successfully able to offer a government ‘cloud’ service for a number of local authorities along with a bit of the Cabinet Office.

No island can afford to be insular in technology terms and it’s probably better to look to the future and what can be achieved by starting to embrace ‘cloud’ and how much public money it can save, and at the same time employ some of those savings in building the safety nets for those citizens for whom digital isn’t default currently.

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