When thinking about digital public services, it’s easy to get bogged down in jargon like g-cloud, data mash-ups, web 2.0 (or is it 3.0 now), and the tantalising promise of having a ‘government on the web not of the web’. But this article
I saw recently by a man venting his frustration at registering his tax return online, reminded me why as the national organisation for consumers, Consumer Focus
is tackling the issue of digital public services. Despite lots of policy frameworks, smart designers and plenty of investment, consumers still seem to be at the bottom of the priority list when it comes to digital public services. And with a mass switchover proposed to start in 2012, this is cause for concern. As explained here
, we think people should be at the centre of design of digital public services and that their involvement is critical to designing better quality, more efficient and more flexible services.
Our report ‘Does Directgov Deliver?
’ analysed how well the national online service does against its claim to ‘provide information and online services for the public all in one place’. Based on user journeys, we considered exactly what the consumer of digital public services gets at the moment from government and found that while some individual transactions performed well, the site had an unclear layout, an inconsistency of information and signposting and time-consuming methods of accessing some services.
However, pointing out pitfalls and problems is more straightforward than mapping out solutions to what is a tricky and rapidly changing landscape. We think that solutions are best found through bringing together the insights and creativity of people from different perspectives. So, we would like to invite digital services innovators, public service designers, providers, policy-makers and consumer representatives to explore with us how we can help ensure that the consumer interest is at the heart of the design and delivery of digital public services, and decide on a direction for change involving a collaborative approach. We are holding a small workshop on March 15 in central London.
Spaces will be limited as we are looking for people with particular perspectives on digital public services for example:
* Consumer representatives
* Policy makers in this field
* Providers of public services at local or national level
* Public service design experts
* Digital innovators
If you fall into one of these categories or know someone who does then please join our group here
to find out more. If spaces fill and you’re still interested then let us know there and we’ll find a way to get you involved.
Senior Policy Advocate
Developing better digital services through user involvement
- about this project
The tough issues in user involvement
- report from UKgovcamp