Generation Y e-government

August 22, 2012

In a recent article on IT Use for Australian Business it is revealed that the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) deputy secretary Abul Rizvi had identified a “worrying” drop in the use of online government services between 2009 and 2011 and the department were investigating the use of video to deal with Generation Y. The drop in usage is identified in a report from AGIMO that is linked to (PDF, 96 pp, 3.24 Mb) but in my view this is not a surprise since the same experience was reported from Canada some while ago, and is probably only the fallback from the initial surge in trying new technologies and finding the experience less than ideal

Rather than throwing money at new technologies to resolve the issues around service, the solution is to examine the process, online and offline, and find what the problems are from the citizens’ view, and then sort out that process – be that caused by legislation (overly complex) or waste.


Up down under

January 29, 2012

In apparent contrast to the Pitney Bowes short study of UK users of e-government Australians are much more satisfied, to the extent that they prefer doing things online! The new Australians’ use and satisfaction with e-government services—2011 review makes an interesting comparison against the unwillingness of the 1000 Brits interviewed. One must of course assume the bias on either side – PB sell white mail handling equipment and the Aussie government would, for financial reasons, prefer their citizens to go electronic.

In the PB study “half of respondents (50%) prefer to respond to communications through the post and a third (33%) opt for email when replying. In third place came web-based responses with 8 per cent of the vote, followed by phone (7%) and text (1%)”, which may not be surprising depending upon how the question was phrased.

In the Australian report it should first be noted that the telephone is still considered a part of e-government (Section 5 – “Two in five (38%) people contacted government by telephone in 2011”), much in the way it was used as a ‘get out of jail free’ card in the UK 2005 targets – but I think it’s time that approach to defining e-government was dropped, it makes comparisons very difficult. Other than that the document identifies little change since 2009 – not really much to crow about then…

Improved thinking

March 8, 2011

The new report from the Institute for Government entitled System error: fixing the flaws in government IT is a welcome approach to a long known issue, that of government IT project management. What is also welcome is that the report points to Canada and Australia, rather than the USA for best practice. I’ve frequently promoted the Canadian model on this blog, along with the occasional Australian example, but for far too long we have been taking our guide from the USA, the Canadian model has also had the benefit of being formed in an ‘age of austerity’.

Ian Watmore, Chief Operating Officer at the Cabinet Officer is one of those involved in this production, along with former Government CIO John Suffolk. Ian was reported by Computer Weekly welcoming the report at the launch event.

The word that reverberates through the report is ‘agile’, but also we are finally being expected to consult the user. The nature of agile is that it encourages ‘commoditisation’ of applications, and if the government were to follow the suggested Australian route of ‘opt-out’, there is more chance of not re-inventing wheels.

There appears to be a lot of buy-in across central government to the report, so perhaps we should wait and see what happens. However, I gather the ‘skunkworks‘ is in operation, so the fruits of their labours may soon be evident!

The opening of Australia

July 18, 2010

Conveniently in time for the election, the Australian government has launched its Declaration of Open Government. A number of the comments below the posting are far more cynical than my linking it with the election announcement, although many are clearly supportive. However, as one commentator notes, what is the point in labelling it as an initiative of the Gillard government (which has only existed a matter of weeks) if the intention is to make it open and participative?

The declaration is to be applauded, but what are the next steps in increasing public involvement in government? The move from representative to participatory democracy is not an easy one, or is this just a gesture towards participation, without any real change? Australia has a history of being pro-active in e-government terms, although this may not have been for democratic purposes, if Paul Henman is to be believed.

The election result and follow through may prove interesting.

Wise words of Oz

December 21, 2008

The latest report from Australia has an interesting comparison with the resent Socitm Customer Access Improvment Service one, if its fair to compare the national versus the local, although the Australian states that it compares “satisfaction with e-government across all tiers of government, compared with the more traditional methods of service delivery.” Interestingly, the’ve also expanded so that: “In 2008 the issues explored in the telephone survey were broadened to include the use of intermediaries to contact government.”

Some of the conclusions to the Australian report are:

“Use of e-government (internet and telephone) channels for government contact has continued to grow. Growth is being driven by increased use of the internet rather than the telephone. The internet is now the most common way people last made contact with government. ”

“The level of dissatisfaction varies depending on the service delivery channel used: People who contacted government by internet or in person are less likely to be dissatisfied, whereas telephone or mail users are consistently the most likely to be dissatisfied. ”

“There continues to be a need for governments to provide the telephone and in-person channels as well as the internet. ”

“Government agencies also need to be aware that community expectations for government service delivery are increasingly being shaped by experience with private sector services and that service delivery standards need to be monitored on an ongoing basis. ”

None of which I disagree with! The bizarre one being that Australians are most satisfied with their Internet service than telephone, which is a major contrast with the Socitm finding. Perhaps it would be different across all levels of UK government but I somehow don’t think so?