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Whitehall needs to change the way e-gov success is measured

James Rogers
Ian Kearns, associate director at the Institute for Public Policy Research, has called on the government to change the way it measures e-government success.

Speaking at a meeting of the Parliamentary IT Committee in the House of Commons last week, he said, "We need a new approach to measuring success - we need to develop the idea of public value."

The government should "systematically address" citizens' satisfaction levels with electronic services when compared to traditional services, he added.

Kearns also called on the government to examine whether technology is having an impact on delivering broader policy outcomes such as reducing the crime rate and improving standards in education.

Efficiency and trust in public services are other key areas that need to be examined, according to Kearns. Citizens need to feel that the electronic services are more efficient than traditional offerings, he said.

E-minister Douglas Alexander recently told MPs that the government would meet its target to have all public services online by 2005 and was committed to achieving high levels of use.

Figures obtained during the fourth quarter of last year show that 63% of government services were e-enabled, he said.

Last year a major international benchmarking report from management consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton highlighted the challenge the UK faced in encouraging take-up of its e-government services. The report found that only about 10% of the UK population had used online government services, compared with almost 50% of Canadians.

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