Igeneric Thoughts Archives: e-Government

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Manifesto for a Digital Britain - How can we innovate better?

April 7, 2018

Will Davies writes on IPPR's Manifesto for a Digital Britain site, inviting comments on ways in which digital innovation can be supported in the UK.

Specifically, he asks

“Does Britain's competitiveness over the next five years depend on further infrastructural improvements, or should skills, content and media literacy issues become the Government's over-riding concern?

What single measure (for instance, new governance structures) could support better relationships between public and private sectors, in the delivery of eGovernment projects

What is the most significant obstacle to productivity growth in UK organisations, and are there any further interventions that Government could make to remedy this?

How could ICT be channelled to better forms of workplace flexibility, such as tele-working, and how might public policy support this?

Can Britain realistically expect to replicate the US 'New Economy'? If so, what is the single biggest factor in making it happen?”

Respondents are asked to post comments back to the project site throughout the week, so that they can build up a picture of thinking in this area.

These questions form the first week of a three week-long online consultation being run by the project. Next week, 'Reassuring'.

I'm having a think!

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 10:31 | Make or Read Comments(0) | TrackBack (0)

UK Government tackles the Digital Divide

April 1, 2018

The UK's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and the Secretary of State for Trade & Industry, Patricia Hewitt, today launched a seven-point plan to tackle the Digital Divide.

Connecting the UK: the Digital Strategy [PDF download] is a joint publication from the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit and the DTI which seeks to tackle inequalities in confidence with and access to digital content and services across the country.

Quoting from the Press Release, the plan includes:

“A 'digital challenge' prize to be awarded to a local authority and its partners to give universal on line access to local public services. The winner will have the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to transform service delivery through a by using technology to deliver modern services for modern citizens;
A commitment to give all students the opportunity ... to access ICT at home through a low cost national laptop and home PC leasing scheme. Ensuring that ICT is embedded in education to improve the quality of learning for all and equip children with skills increasingly essential in the workplace. All learners will have their own virtual learning space where they can store and access their work;
Working with the IT industry to create the safest possible on line environment, backed by the police, charities, and the industry. The Home Office is announcing today the establishment of a multi agency national internet safety centre to deter criminals targeting children for internet crime and reassure parents. And we will work with the banking industry to make that sector a market leader in terms of online authentication;
Further steps towards closing the digital divide by building on the network of UK Online centres and other communal access points giving adult learners the support, incentives and skills they need to make the most of ICT;
Creating the right environment to stimulate broadband content, particularly in public procurement. This will set out guidance on broadband content procurement by the public sector;
A cross government focus on public service delivery transformed by modern technology and a strategy for achieving that. As part of that strategy, the Government will consider how it moves its business to a wholly digital environment where it is appropriate and cost effective;
Asking Ofcom to include in their regulatory strategy for the broadband market a forward look on the prospects for home broadband take up, with a particular focus on uptake amongst the more disadvantaged.”

Providing access to computers for those still at school (presumably mainly the additional funding to the e-Learning Foundation announced in the Budget?) and enhancing the Home Computing Initiative both sound positive. However, we also need to look at tackling the 'lapsed users' that our MORI survey discovered. If there is really a dip in usage as people leave education or enter the workplace, what can we do to ensure that they remain engaged and connected?

It's also interesting to note the emphasis given to UK Online Centres as ways of reaching out to those without access at home. Looking again at our MORI data, UK Online Centres hardly registered in the consciousness of the 2,004 adults surveyed. Public Libraries on the other hand (some of which are also UK Online Centres) were identified by users and non-users alike as places they could go to get online. Maybe Government is backing the wrong brand?

The digital challenge prize sounds interesting, and I'm sure there is a lot that the Igeneric and its partners could be doing with councils there.

The report itself contains a lot more detail, and it will be interesting to see how this takes shape over the next few months in the lead-up to the publication of the e-Government Strategy.

Information from a Wired-GOV release.

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 16:29 | Make or Read Comments(0) | TrackBack (0)

Comparing e-Government statistics across Europe

February 24, 2018

A note on PublicTechnology.net draws my attention to a short Statistics in Focus piece (PDF download) from Eurostat.

The document explores the use of ICT to engage with Government, and offers some comparisons between member states. The UK usually does better...

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 14:44 | Make or Read Comments(0) | TrackBack (0)

Charles Arthur... with an interesting use for our MORI Audience results

February 12, 2018

Technology journalist Charles Arthur has an interesting use for our MORI research in a piece over at Netimperative.

He points to results showing the increasing pervasiveness and authority of Internet-based content, and contrasts this with the lack of technological engagement amongst certain of our senior decision makers. For a worrying example of this, see a recent post from technologically engaged decision maker, Richard Allan MP.

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 14:14 | Make or Read Comments(0) | TrackBack (0)

e-Government could save large sums of money

December 17, 2004

According to Capgemini, just six of the ODPM-backed local e-gov e-Government initiatives for English local authorities could directly save them £163,000,000 (€236,000,000) every year. If the projects are fully adopted by every English local authority, the savings potentially rise to between £306,000,000 and £476,000,000 each year.

The DM Europe article on this also says

“On top of this, the local authorities, [the report] suggests, could possibly accrue a 'modest' overall level of unquantifiable 'strategic and intangible' benefits, such as more contented staff and improved convenience for customers.” (my emphasis)

Isn't that the real benefit, regardless of whether or not a finance and accountancy consultancy firm can put real cost savings to it in their spreadsheet?

Don't we want better Government, rather than (just) cheaper Government? Better and cheaper is good. But if I can only have one, give me better, please.

Report drawn to my attention in a DM Europe RSS feed, and then located via an earlier piece in The Register.

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 12:08 | Make or Read Comments(0) | TrackBack (0)

96% of Government services to be available online by 2018

December 13, 2004

The Cabinet Office today issued a press release, reporting that 96% of UK Government services will be available online by the end of 2018, with 75% of them already there.

Way back in 2000, e-Government: a strategic framework for public services in the Information Age set the 2018 target, stating that 100% of government services should be available online by that date.

In the intervening period, much work has been done, and there has been a welcome shift from simply e-enabling towards more meaningful measures of success such as that the services be used, useful, or capable of creating efficiencies.

Item picked up on a Wired-GOV release.

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 13:25 | Make or Read Comments(0) | TrackBack (0)

Open Source ok for Government...

October 29, 2004

A number of sites have been covering two recent additions to the Open Source debate from the UK Government.

Firstly, the e-Government Unit has released version 2.0 of its Government policy on the use of Open Source Software within the UK government. This document describes policies which affect the whole of the UK public sector... and impinge upon all of those who have dealings with Government.

Secondly, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has released a balanced analysis of the pros and cons of open source software.

“The report shows that Open Source software is rapidly maturing, offers significant potential benefits to government and should be actively considered alongside proprietary alternatives. It concludes that decisions should be based on a holistic assessment of future needs, taking into account total cost of ownership, with proper consideration of both proprietary and open source solutions.”

I'll give credit for drawing both to my attention to the RSS feeds of the JISC-funded OSSWatch, which is doing some very valuable work in this area.

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 12:57 | Make or Read Comments(0) | TrackBack (0)

Digitial Inclusion Panel Report

October 12, 2004

Quoting the Press Release:-
The Cabinet Office today published the report of the Digital Inclusion Panel, which has identified social groups at most risk of digital exclusion and actions to encourage them to take up Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) that can help improve their lives.

The publication of the report coincides with the launch of the Alliance for Digital Inclusion, a group of private and voluntary sector organisations including Citizens Online, AOL UK, BT group plc, Intel UK, Microsoft UK, T-Mobile, Cisco Systems UK, IBM UK, that has been formed to promote the use of ICT for social benefit, as recommended in the report.

Digital inclusion means the provision of access to ICT and interactive content and having opportunities to transact electronically. Digital technologies include digital television, Internet-enabled PCs and mobile phones.

Groups identified as needing support and incentives to take up ICT include unemployed people, people with literacy issues and older people who are not benefiting from or even using new technologies. For example, while 61 per cent of UK adults have accessed the Internet, only 17 per cent of those over the age of 65 have done so.

Speaking at the launch of the Alliance for Digital Inclusion, Ruth Kelly, Minister for the Cabinet Office said:

“This report represents a major contribution to ensuring all sectors of the economy are working together to tackle digital exclusion and engage people with the technologies that can transform their lives for the better.”
“As the report makes clear, partnerships, innovation and enterprise will be the major drivers to further digital engagement. All sectors of the economy need to work together to develop new digital products and services that people will find valuable, compelling and relevant.”

The Digital Inclusion Panel report also recommends that Intellect, the IT industry trade body, should convene a new cross-industry, fully representative group that focuses on the implications for digital engagement in the UK of the convergence of broadcasting, telecommunications, broadband and the internet.


Posted by David Dawson at 23:12 | Make or Read Comments(1)

Audit Commission report on Choice in public services

October 1, 2004

William Heath, posting on The Ideal Government Project blog that I've mentioned before, draws my attention to a recent report from The Audit Commission, Choice in public services.

The report draws upon the results of an Audit Commission-commissioned MORI study of just over 1,000 British adults during July of 2004. It suggests that people want choice because they believe that the resulting competition will improve services, but that they're not necessarily prepared to pay more.

Analysis would appear to suggest that, generally, the least privileged in society were most supportive of the need for greater choice; the very people who should benefit most and whom current political debate has suggested are least likely to take advantage of new choices.

William credits Tom Raggett for blogging about this report in the first place.

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 20:55 | Make or Read Comments(0) | TrackBack (0)

Brainstorming e-Government

September 22, 2004

Kable are sponsoring a four-week brainstorming blog on the desirable shape of e-enabled public services. The idea, apparently, is to present a synthesis of the outcomes to Ian Watmore, the new head of the e-Government Unit.

Have a read, have a think, and have a say. And the links in the sidebar are useful, too!

Story from The Guardian's Onlineblog.

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 22:20 | Make or Read Comments(0) | TrackBack (0)

Authenticating for e-Government with your credit card?

June 24, 2004

According to this piece from Digital Media Europe, the UK's e-Government Unit is working with Visa to explore the possibility of allowing citizens to authenticate for e-Government services using their existing credit card, rather than having to apply for a separate certificate as before.

Entirely selfishly, my immediate response is "Great". I have a credit card, and I haven't got a Government certificate. Therefore the new approach would be less of a hassle, and reduce barriers to adoption for many.

However, what about all those members of the population who - for whatever reason - don't have a credit card? And are credit cards unique? When two members of a family, say, are each given a card tied to the same bill, do they have different numbers?

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 13:49 | Make or Read Comments(0) | TrackBack (0)

The UK has a Head of e-Government...

May 25, 2004

It's Ian Watmore, currently UK Managing Director at Accenture.

Ian takes up post in September, when he replaces the current e-Envoy, Andrew Pinder. In anticipation of this change, the existing Office of the e-Envoy will begin transforming itself into the new e-Government Unit from next week.

Information from a Cabinet Office Press Release.

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 16:41 | Make or Read Comments(0)

DirectGov works...

April 29, 2004

According to a Cabinet Office press release yesterday, a sample of users have given the government's new DirectGov site a resounding thumb's up, when compared to the existing UK Online service.

As part of the next phase of development, the site is now directly available in its own right at www.direct.gov.uk, rather than as an experimental section of UK Online, and it is also to be available to digital television subscribers over Sky, Telewest and NTL.

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 07:57 | Make or Read Comments(0)

UK e-Ready

April 19, 2004

According to a report from The Economist's Intelligence Unit and IBM's Institute for Business Value, the UK is the economy second most ready for e-Business. We come behind Denmark, and are surrounded by the other Scandinavian economies in the top 5.

Pretty good.

News picked up from The Register

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 16:13 | Make or Read Comments(0)

Contender for the most thankless job in the country?

March 2, 2004

Head of e-Government.

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 10:09 | Make or Read Comments(0)

Goodbye UK Online, Hello Directgov

March 1, 2004

The UK Government today unveiled the successor to their existing UK Online citizen's portal.

The new offering, called Directgov, sports an orange colour scheme, and is due to launch later this year.

Like most e-Gov front doors, Directgov focusses upon trying to gather information relevant to a user task or 'life event', rather than following the organisational structure of government.

UK Online did this too, of course, but only really to the degree of gathering together a set of pointers related to, say, Learning to Drive. The user then had to follow each of the links in turn, and interact with whatever department or agency web site they then found themselves on. Directgov goes a step further, and attempts to actually place all the relevant information (which it has gathered from all those department and agency sites) on a single Directgov page, with links off to the source sites for those in search of background.

The Office of the e-Envoy has issued a press release on Directgov.

Posted by Oliver Smith-Toynes at 21:11 | Make or Read Comments(0)

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