Thursday, June 13, 2002

I spoke at the Electronic Government conference on 29th May. Dan Jellinek at Headstar summarised my presentation ably ... 'The government is in danger of reproducing its over-compartmentalised, department-based structure on the web, according to one of the leading architects of its web policy. Alan Mather, head of e-delivery at the Office of the e-Envoy, told delegates at a London conference last month that the government's current working methods resembled "lots of matchstick Eiffel towers dotted around - they look lovely but they aren't actually doing much. "Now we are in danger of repeating this on the web, with already some 2,138 '.gov.uk' sites, no sign of critical mass, no common design, limited transactions and no customer focus." He unveiled 'Mather's laws' of e-government which included "the number of technical solutions implemented by departments to solve identical problems quadruples every twelve months", and "80 per cent of the money spent on e-government to date has been spent on things the customer never sees". Some good things are happening but a far greater degree of consistency was needed across government, he said. "If you use Microsoft products you always know where the save function is. But across government web sites you don't know where to look to find forms, or search functions, for example." He said the way forward was for convergence across government on common systems and applications, with departments co- operating to solve problems. There was also a need for a far greater number of compelling, citizen-focused services to drive take-up, although "there is probably no single 'critical app' - you need more clusters or packages of useful, transactional services, perhaps with private [sector] services too".' I checked earlier and the slides were available for download if you'd like them.

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