“In an age when 96% of all 25-34 years olds are internet users, just 13% of our contact with citizens is currently carried out online.  We have to start looking at ways we can improve the way we communicate with citizens.  But, we also need to do it in a more cost-effective way than has been tried before.”

This is a statement by Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, in a media release issued on October 18th which summarises many of the savings in Government expenditure that have already been achieved by the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG). 

It becomes increasingly clear from this statement that there are two drivers for improving the online experience of public services.  One is the growing proportion of new entrants to the workforce and consumers of public services, born from 1980 onwards, who are ‘digital-natives’ and expect to be able to conduct their personal and professional business online.  The second is cost and the compelling reduction in service delivery costs that can be achieved by the online transformation of public services.

Data from the Department in Work and Pensions (DWP) in a 2009 report on Communicating with Customers produced by the National Audit Office demonstrates both the challenge and the opportunity when you examine the volumes of citizen contact made via different channels:

 

Saving money is probably the top immediate priority of all public sector organisations in the current economic climate.  The online transformation of citizen services is a ‘win-win’ in terms of providing public services in the way an increasing majority of citizens prefer to consume them and in driving down the cost of delivering the services.

For more information on the impact of the changing demographic of the workforce in the 21st century I recommend you take a look at the recent Microsoft Research on Hybrid Organisations.  For leading examples on how citizen services are being transformed online take a look at our LoveCleanStreets community environmental crime reporting solution for London Boroughs and Medway Council’s self-directed adult social care solution.

 Posted by Ian