Select Committee on European Union Written Evidence




This input to the consultation process has been submitted at the request of the Minister for E-Government, Mr Ian McCartney.

Main Comments & Recommendations

  The extent to which the channel policies proposed will achieve the aims and commitments of the Modernising Government White Paper must be the acid test against which the policies are assessed. These aims include the delivery of improved, citizen-focused and socially inclusive Government Services.


  Each component of the channel policies should be reviewed against the key aims of the White Paper.

  The main channel principles and policies outlined and the consultation process itself are to be applauded. The majority of the key areas for consideration have been considered, from branding through to licensing and commercial models.


  The channel provider consultation process should be formalised and widened to include representatives from Government Departments and Local Authorities.

  Channel case studies should be developed to inform the channel policies and the cultural change programme.

  Nevertheless, these components alone do not constitute a Government channel strategy. Without a coherent strategy across channels and channel providers the policies will not achieve the desired outcomes and some may even be counter productive.


  The PIU should be commissioned to develop a coherent Government channel strategy building on the work already underway on "electronic government" and "post offices".

  In particular there is insufficient evidence that citizen needs and their likely behaviours in different channels by segment are thoroughly understood and that this understanding is driving the channel policies. For example, despite the commitment to social inclusion and choice it is unclear how the proposed policies and the targetry/regulatory/licensing regimes will achieve this when similar regimes have not succeeded in this respect in other sectors.


  Further research and case studies should be commissioned to better understand likely customer behaviours using channels/channel providers.

  A balanced scorecard of targets for Government Departments should be developed to include multi-channel, citizen access targets. Within those balanced scorecards actual electronic usage rather than capability of usage should be measured and targeted.

  The regulatory and licensing regimes should cover criteria such as social inclusion and not simply business process issues such as security and accounting.

  There is insufficient consideration of the needs of channel providers and channel dynamics and the likely overall economic impacts to ensure that the policies are affordable and commercially sustainable.


  The complexities of the whole potential supply chain, including the role of existing and new intermediaries, requires further thought.

  The need for two-way SLAs should be explicitly acknowledged

  The requirement for contingency planning in the event of the channels failing or the channel model providing to be unstable should be considered.

  The paper correctly recognises that different commercial models will be appropriate (from Government pays through to channel or customer pays). However, it does not indicate that sufficient consideration has been given to the broad criteria that are likely to influence the selection of the appropriate options. In addition the paper does not explicitly acknowledge that significant changes in Government culture and approach will be required to deliver the channel policies including improved collaborative skills in the supply chain, greater flexibility and less emphasis on commodity/component cost procurement techniques.


  Key Government Services should be categorised in terms of criticality, fraud, complexity, social exclusion etc and the categories used to inform appropriate procurement strategies.

  A cross departmental channels group should be formed to co-ordinate individuals channel strategies within the Government channel strategy framework, exchange best practice and lead the required cultural change.

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