Thought for the day: e-government isn't working

Unlike other attempts at e-government portals, will the Online Government Store convince the majority of the UK population to log...

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Unlike other attempts at e-government portals, will the Online Government Store convince the majority of the UK population to log on in their droves? Simon Moores doesn't think so.



I am a little confused by the report that the Office of The e-Envoy (OeE) is to create another single access point for online services.

The eGov monitor reports, “The Online Government Store will bring together the various e-services scattered across department websites into a central hub or 'one-stop shop', where citizens could pay their income tax, buy a TV licence or apply for a passport."

Not so long ago, a friend in government commented:

”For the most part, people are not even trying to find services online in many cases. That for me, means we've failed the neighbour test, meaning that until the service is so good that your neighbour will lean over and tell you what they found using a government website, high usage will remain elusive”

It seems then that any decision to find a second "universal" portal has something to do with driving take-up, which is still mediocre even after the UKOnline London taxi campaign. The UK is not alone in struggling to encourage acceptance of online government.

When I spoke with Detlef Eckert, now with Microsoft, who was responsible for the information society initiative within the European Commission, he remarked that if more than half the population of Europe have not attempted to access a government service over the internet, we need to understand the many complex reasons behind the problem.

So, at more taxpayer’s expense, the government is trying once again, with yet another website, with another memorable name, The Online Government Store, when we already have the UK Online citizen portal and the UK’s flagship IT project, the Government Gateway, both of which have been e-government services.

Is this a great idea which should be recognised for its value in driving acceptance of online government among the population or yet another example of public money being wasted in a desperate attempt at self-justification?

What do you think?

If you were the e-minister, what would your five-point plan be to encourage greater use of online services? Tell us in an e-mail >> reserves the right to edit and publish answers on the website. Please state if your answer is not for publication.

Setting the world to rights with the collected thoughts and opinions of leading industry analyst Dr Simon Moores of Zentelligence.

Acting globally, Zentelligence (Research) advises governments, suppliers, business and the media on the evolution, application and delivery of leading-edge technologies and specialises in the areas of eGovernment and information security.

For further information on Zentelligence and its research, presentation and analyst services visit

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