Acareo Ltd

Focusing on the main thing!

E – is it really for everything?

Efficient, Effective, Economic and Electronic? I used to wonder if any finance managers ever cared about Effective and in my experience they were seriously worried about Electronic; it meant spending money to build websites and online access to services that no one would ever use. Lets face it, the e-Government Programme was hardly a universal success for anyone other than suppliers so may be they were right. Or were they? A lot of authorities learned an awful lot about change management and how to get more out of technology back in the mid noughties and they were and will be invaluable in the unprecedented changes now facing our public services. This week Martha Lane-Fox no less has been advocating e-everything as the way to balance cuts with service delivery at SOCITM and SOLACE conferences “Think e first, second and last”. She alludes to NHS choices costing 46p a visit and your GP costing £136 a visit – go figure! A few years ago I did a couple of big-ish studies into take up of e-services, how to measure it and how much it could save authorities. The reports are still around on the web if you dig hard enough (here if you cant be bothered). In my research there was always one big fear of the finance directors in relation to promoting take up of e-services; not that it would lead to channel shift per se, but that it would lead to an unlocking of latent demand. More demand would gridlock the back office and increase costs they argued. The first point they failed to grasp was that  they should close down under-used channels and save the costs. The second point was that any increase in demand is indicative of poorly met need and inaccesible traditional channels and that by realising an increase in take up you can re-target resources where they are most needed. What’s more the web server will give you evidence (volumetrics) to support the decision.
Time will tell if Ms Lane-Fox gets here way – I for one will be watching with interest.

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