Awarding the Deserving

The nice thing about awards events is that as part of the submission for why someone has to win, they get to write a little business case. That document is full of nuggets about usage of the nominated service – stuff that is pretty hard to get from anywhere else unless you look hard. I’ve sat on a few awards committees; the judging process is pretty fun and really quite random, depending on who is sponsoring, what power is vested in the judges and what’s up for an award. But everyone has a good time, aided by copious amounts of wine and, in the end, some people who have worked really hard to get a job done take away a glass block that they will put on display for years to come, it gathering dust until, eventually, the project is defunct and everyone has forgotten what the award was for, except for the person that stood on stage before an adoring (or drunk) crowd and accepted it. Awards keep the industry (whether public or private) going so are, I expect, an all round good thing.

The latest awards in this space are the “e-government national awards” … here’s a sample of what won with their usage stats, plucked from the Public Technology website:

Directgov … In the largest cross government programme of its kind, Directgov joins up central and local government’s service delivery, in a way that is easily understood by citizens. Responding to customer needs and expectations Directgov links and promotes relevant and related services together across multiple channels. In September 2005 Directgov received over 1.8 million visits and by offering convenience to customers and enabling them to discover more from one place is driving take-up of electronic transactions. From November 2005 it will be the single online destination for a host of new transactions for example the purchasing, renewing and updating of driving licences … traffic has shown healthy growth. The target of one million visits per month was exceeded by over 80% in September 2005 with 1,842,086 visits. This is more than double the 758,149 visits achieved in September 2004 with no significant marketing effort. (Source: Revenue Science). Out of nearly 500 central government websites Directgov also achieved the fourth position in September 2005 in terms of market share.

Jobcentre Plus … Jobcentre Plus launched its first employer-facing internet service in May 2005. With this innovative new service, Employer Direct online, employers can now post and manage their vacancies to the UK’s largest jobsite (which receives over 750,000 visits per week). The business target of 10% of weekly vacancies business being posted via this new channel was hit seven months early

Land Registers of NI … In less than 3 years the Land Registry’s online service landweb direct has achieved the following results: 93.6% market recognition of landweb direct (2005 annual customer survey), 86.1% customer satisfaction rating of agency performance, In November 2003 online surpassed the number of manual transactions – now landweb direct accounts for 71% of total Agency transactions, In August 2005 over 50% of all Solicitor companies in NI are actively using landweb direct – this account for around 80% of total transaction volumes generated by solicitors, In 2004, there were 555,747 applications received via the system.

Electronic Vehicle Licensing … Following early success DVLA has set a target of achieving successful take up of at least 60% for eligible customers by October 2008. (it doesn’t say what the take up is now – AM)

Planning Portal … rom a standing start the Portal team has established the Portal as the de facto web-site for information and guidance on planning matters in the U.K, for citizens and practitioners alike. The Portal now has more than 50,000 unique monthly users, generating more than 150,000 visits, whilst the email news service has in excess of 13,000 subscribers.

The Portal is now on target to process more than 3,000 online planning applications per month by March 2006 and more than 10,000 per month by the end of 2007. This will deliver efficiency benefits through this transaction alone of more than £20M per year by 2008. These examples of success illustrate what is an inspirational example of e-Government in action, a fact recognised when the Portal was recently cited as an example of best-practise in a European Commission survey on electronic public services across Europe.

Tameside Customer First … The system provides the mediated service channels with a powerful, easy to use and intuitive CRM system. It’s based on a single customer database, which provides citizen portal functionality and customer tracking. The single common data source for all information and eforms helps to ensure a consistent approach to the delivery of services, regardless of how they are accessed. Responses to service requests are managed through the newly developed contacts database that logs and tracks each unique request, giving the customer a receipt and a service level agreement and then monitors, and if required escalates the transaction as it is processed in the back office. In 2004/5:Customer First’ functionality got 679,813 unique visitors at a cost of £0.25 – compared to the call centre’s 314,602 unique calls at a cost of £1.39 each … is the UK’s first single online local authority portal to provide joined-up services for citizens across five local authorities. The Dorset For You Partnership was conceived because local people are often unsure which council provides which services in an area where there are three tiers of local government. The partners; Christchurch Borough Council, Dorset County Council, East Dorset District Council and West Dorset District Council switched off their individual websites in April 2005, whilst North Dorset District Council have sought for deep linking. Six months on, the website is managed by the Dorset For You team and Programme Board of partners, a unique joined-up approach.

In a world where it’s easy to be cynical about what hasn’t been achieved, sometimes it’s nice to see what has. What worries me is that you have to be a public sector geek to find out about these services unless you look in the right place … marketing needs to get better. Which is why this sentence, buried in the directgov summary, intrigues me:

From November 2005 it will be the single online destination for a host of new transactions for example the purchasing, renewing and updating of driving licences

That shows that at least one department is routing transactions away from its own site and towards directgov … will others follow?

Leave a Reply