It’s the end of 2005 and, if Santa has been kind, the PM’s 2001 goal of “Getting all of government online by 2005” (most of us interpreted that as the end of 2005 but there was much debatein some corners) should have been reached. Some say that local authorities have managed as much as 97%. Central government will, I’m sure, announce a similar figure any time soon, although Ian Watmore is cool on the whole online services agenda and more focussed on creating shared back-office services for use inside government. In March 2005, 75% of services were reported to be online.
Of course, as many have said, having any percentage of services online is not much good if too few people use them. There are, though, many services that haven’t found their way online yet – and you could argue that these are the kind of services that would perhaps attract most usage:
Here’s how to claim Disability Living Allowance (you can download a form)
Or Incapacity Benefit (ditto)
And there still isn’t any thing like a service that allows you to find out what government owes you or could owe you if your circumstances changed – the UK equivalent of the US’ GovBenefits for instance.
With all the problems of fraud with Tax Credits (a plain old-fashioned offline fraud made simpler and quicker to execute using the online channel in the absence of any front end authentication for the service), perhaps it’s as well that some of these services aren’t yet online. In the past I’ve argued that there needs to be a shift to paying money to people online – or creating services that save people money and significant time – rather than taking money from them.
I’m not quite holding my breath for the announcements on what is and isn’t online but I will bv fascinated to see what is commented on. In the meantime, I’ve got a bit of retrospective underway that will be out soon.