Public sector should learn to build trust from Amazon

The public sector should learn from Amazon when it comes to building up trust with individuals, said Glyn Evans, transformation policy leader at Birmingham City Council.

The public sector should learn from Amazon when it comes to building up trust with individuals, said Glyn Evans, transformation policy leader at Birmingham City Council.

Evans said citizens should have individual information accounts to make them feel in control of their own data.

And he said Amazon's individual approach to customers - giving them accounts and looking at their purchase history to make recommendations - could be applied to the way councils and central government departments treat citizens.

"You feel you've got a measure of control over it," said Evans. "I think we should try to take that thinking to the public sector."

Birmingham council is considering introducing individual information accounts, where each citizen can choose which agencies they want to link up with and add their information to.

"It changes the power balance - instead of the public sector being all-powerful, members of the public should feel they can influence things. They decide how they want government to join up by controlling their own account."

Recent high profile failures in data security mean trust in the public sector's ability to manage individuals' information is at an all-time low - but the government is looking to increase data sharing between different agencies and increase the amount of information held on people.

The answer is to make data services more customer centric, Evans said. "We shouldn't have a one size fits all approach. We need to realise that everybody is different, so there are going to be differences in how people want to be treated.

"You know it is a computer behind Amazon that works out what products to recommend to you, but the emotional response is that this thing is trying to be helpful.

"You feel like they are talking to you as an individual. A lot of the time, I don't think the public sector gets that right.

"The question is, how do you turn that thinking from the Amazon world into the public sector?"




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