Common needs: what should people expect from a digital government?
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Finally, if we are to include everyone in digital then we need to understand their needs and meet their expectations. This is not about a digital “bill of rights” but it is about more than just expecting people to be able to gain access to the Internet. We need a common baseline statement of expectations of the digital services people should reasonably be able to expect from their government in the year 2015.
These expectations will naturally change over time. A public sector that continually and gradually adapts to meet changing public expectations is a public sector more attuned to the modern world.
Such a baseline statement of expectations could be used by all public sector organisations to plan their digital activities, and by people to hold those organisations to account if or when they fail to meet those expectations.
Our suggested starting point for these expectations are:
- Access to basic digital skills training at a nearby location
- Free access to the Internet on fit-for-purpose equipment at a nearby location
- All common public sector transactions should be available through both digital and non-digital routes for every citizen
- The ability to communicate with public sector organisations though both digital and non-digital routes
- All digital public services should meet a common standard and (given the growth in households with only mobile or tablet devices) be fit for use on both fixed and mobile devices.
When discussing this suggested starting point we had two significant debates.
First, whether and when any non-digital services routes be removed, or how significant a penalty was appropriate where citizens chose to use a non-digital route even though they had the capability to use digital services. Such an approach would be called “mandatory digital”.
Second, the expectations of parents and children: especially given the growing digital literacy amongst children.
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