I voted to keep the targets in place. To ask for anything else is missing the point. I think I’ve said a few times before that Kennedy didn’t set a vague goal back in the 60s – get a man to the moon, by the end of the decade and bring him back alive. Clear, simple and to the point. And memorable. So … if the choice is 2005/100% online or “sometime in the next 5 years, put a few things online (whichever ones you think appropriate) and let’s see how it goes”, then it’s obvious which one I’ll go for.
It’s nearly 3 years since the PM announced the targets and, since then, I don’t think we’ve made enough progress towards the 100% figure – despite a lot of people working very hard. Why we haven’t made the progress is a topic for another day, perhaps when I’ve wrapped up this job. Anything less than a clear, unequivocal target opens you up to endless arguments … suggesting that the top 50% should be online just means that everyone jostles to be lower in the priority list.
All that said, the Kablenet survey does give some good and accurate conclusions – the order in which services go online should be based on offline usage, offline complexity, ease of use and so on. And that’s a point worth re-inforcing. No point putting a low usage, complex service online ahead of a high usage, simple service. Likewise, there’s no point in putting a service online if it is more effectively done on the telephone – but you don’t want to waste time arguing about these. There are world-class “arguers” in every bit of government in every country in the world. The less ammo they have, the quicker you can move on.