More people prefer to use the telephone for contacting public services rather than the Internet. A survey by Fujitsu Consulting found that for many types of transactions, particularly when information only is required, the phone is considered by people to be far quicker, more convenient and simpler to use than the Internet, even when the Internet is readily available.The survey found that while around 45% of UK households are online, 71% of citizens said that if they were to contact their local authority, they would do so using the phone. This finding is supported by the limited growth in the number of citizens accessing online government. Since 2000 this has only moved from 15% to 16%. Buying and banking online have consistently grown over this period and now the figures have reached 27% and 21% respectively.
The research has identified two groups in society who prefer phone access. They are the disadvantaged, particularly those that are elderly, or who do not regard English as their first language. For those over 65 just 15% of men and 7% of women use the Internet. The other group are the young, affluent and ‘mobile’ who increasingly want their services to be delivered while they are on the move themselves. In both cases, the Internet is not necessarily the medium of choice.