Don’t automate existing processes when moving a service on-line is a key message from a Cabinet Office benchmarking survey of global e-government. On-line service delivery creates new opportunities, capabilities and expectations and they cannot be exploited fully without re-thinking processes and re-engineering operations.The survey found that the Service Canada initiative and Singapore’s eCitizen centre were prime examples of ‘thinking outside the box’. Service Canada brings together a variety of Federal government services through citizen-focused one-stop shops under a strong government brand.
Singapore’s eCitizen Centre provides a portal to a broad range of government services. It is presented around a concept of “towns” on a life journey. Each town is adopted by a responsible ministry, integrating the services provided by other relevant departments. The centre began as a pilot in 1997 with a remit to demonstrate to ministers what was meant by ‘integrated’ and ‘citizen centred’ electronic services. It started with a single education services package in late 1997 and since then different services have been added on. In April 1999, the centre was officially launched covering 49 life events and 150 transactions.
Other learning from the e-government survey is that seeking views from customers is crucial . The most popular and cost effective way used by many countries is through e-mail-based feedback channels offered on government web-sites. Integrating service delivery across government is costly and time consuming. The State of Victoria in Australia found that getting departments connected to the award winning maxi system was slow because of high costs and interoperability problems. They also discovered that the ‘big bang approach’ was not effective and pilot running with gradual expansion would have been a faster and more reliable route for implementatio