Government looks to digital TV service

Multi-channel approach to help achieve e-government goal

The government is looking at digital broadcasting as an alternative way of offering e-government services to people without internet access.

The idea is being canvassed as part of a multi-channel approach that the State Services Commission believes will help achieve the e-government strategy’s 2010 goal: a government transformed by online access.

“Technological innovation is transforming our world and New Zealanders expect government to interact with them in new ways,” says a recent report, titled Enabling Transformation, on the subject. “This means using network technologies that people are familiar with in other parts of their lives — social networking websites and tools like blogs, wikis, and folksonomies [collections of information organised in categories according to users’ interests] — and the full range of digital channels … as well as internet pathways.”

The latest e-government strategy, the third, emphasises “joined-up” government, with increased information exchange between agencies. One of the report’s key messages is that e-government should be collaborative and “citizen-centred”.

“E-government supports organisations working together: integrating their services, sharing information and technology and committing to jointly deliver better results,” the report says.

The SSC describes the basis of such sharing as a “federated enterprise architecture”: applying an “architecture” that relates ICT to the achievement of business and other goals.

This collaboration should extend not only to central government agencies but to local government and private organisations, too.

When it comes to people, collaborations should be two-way, with e-government catering to individuals’ needs while individuals allow information to be collected about them to help cater to their needs, says the SSC.

Government ICT deputy commissioner Laurence Millar said earlier this year that connections have been made between the e-government strategy, the government’s broader Digital Strategy and the development goals of the State Services Commission.

For example, there is a year-by-year roadmap for achieving a list of sub-goals that were first identified when the e-government strategy was being developed back in 2000. These include convenience and satisfaction; integration and efficiency and trust and participation.

A list of evaluation criteria is given — which are drawn from the SSC’s own list of goals — by which success will be judged. These include answering questions such as: “Can New Zealanders provide information to government just once, or do they have to provide the same information many times over to different agencies?” And, “Do workers in state agencies work with colleagues across the sector to put results for New Zealanders ahead of individual agency interests?”

The e-government programme also has a new goal: “By 2020, people’s engagement with the government will have been transformed, as increasing and innovative use is made of the opportunities offered by network technologies.”

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