Headlines: April 12th, 2001

One stop shops are now the most popular channel for accessing government services. Support for doing business in the shops has doubled in the last year. This is the finding of a survey published by KPMG Consulting in ‘E-Government For All’. The report recommends that local councils should champion a network of e-enabled one stop shops to meet the demand for human contact when dealing with government.At this early stage in the development of one stop shops, most bring together the services of the organization. The 40 local authorities that have either opened or plan to open shops mainly offer the services provided by the council. The new Working Age Agency, formed out of the merger of the Benefits Agency – the benefit paying arm of the Department of Social Security – with Employment Services, provides a one stop shop for job hunting and welfare support.

The next stage is the ‘wall to wall’ one stop shop which gives access to public services across organizational boundaries. This is the concept of the Government GP proposed last year in a Cabinet Office report, which has been taken up by the Post Office. The project has been launched in Leicestershire and in the next few months all post offices in the county will trial the service, which is backed by 25 m pounds from the Department of Trade and Industry. If the trial is successful and extended nationwide, it will bring competition to the delivery of public services in a way that compulsory competitive tendering was never able to do. A Post Office success could also stimulate other companies to enter the market place.

The survey finding is likely to encourage development of one stop shops, which, if they do become an established feature of modernized government, will create a new profession of generic information provider with its own career structure.