Headlines: July 7th, 2009

Eight out of ten people want public services such as voting, claiming benefits and making appointments to see a doctor to be possible online. A consumer report from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts is urging the Government to follow the nation online.

It finds that eighty per cent of people want services to be available electronically and three quarters of them want it to happen in the next five years. The study found most people were tired of having to queue, make trips or wait for hours on the phone to use services. Sixty per cent of respondents believed access to essential services would be easier if they were moved online.

NESTA also carried out a ‘health check’ on Britain’s online habits and found that 92 per cent of those surveyed were regularly using the web for everyday activities such as shopping while 80 per cent used it to give feedback to a company or organization. More than half accessed online information from NHS direct and a third had shared information such as videos, photography, blogs and music on popular social networking sites.

NESTA said people’s enthusiasm for online activities was proof that more needed to be done to prepare Britain for a new digital era and in particular, to bring public services up to date. Jonathan Kestenbaum, NESTA’s Chief Executive said: “It’s clear that the UK is committed to an online future. We’ve got to use this to our advantage by making our public services accessible to people. Our economy will depend on it.”