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e-Services and Local Government

Report of workshop from conference:
"Putting the 'e-' in e-government"
Birmingham, February 2001

Case Studies

Guy Rubin of the Greater London Authority and  Rob Hughes of Vantagepoint Management Consultants presented different aspects of how local authorities communicate with their customers.

e-Democracy

Guy Rubin's focus was on his work at Lewisham Council implementing "e-democracy". Lewisham has for some time enjoyed a deserved reputation as one of the most go-ahead authorities for delivering services online.

Where other authorities have tended to exhibit a high degree of caution, Lewisham has steadily been implementing online consultation and democratic participation. Key aims have been:

  • testing and evaluating different ways of involving citizens

  • improving the quality of decision-making

  • encouraging active citizenship.

Initiatives have included:

  • online Citizens' Panel - providing PCs and Internet access to members of the Citizens' Panel so as to consult them on specific issues

  • Young People's ICT project

  • online "Quickpolls" - to give instant feedback on key policy issues

  • online surveys

  • online Question Time - live question-and-answer sessions with elected members

  • "hearing the messages" database, where you can search an archive of consultation

In many ways these are still early days, but getting on and using their website in innovative ways will enable the development of new services and initiatives.

For further information see the Lewisham Listens website  

 

e-Customer Services

Based on Vantagepoint's experience in providing customer service solutions to local authorities, Rob Hughes provide some "lessons from the future" to enable organisations to achieve their "e-customer service" potential.

Rob summarised the challenges as being to:

  • re-focus business processes around a comprehensive customer service strategy, and effectively use technology and people to execute it

  • use e-commerce as a tool for customer independence, then incorporate it into the whole authority as a bedrock of efficiency

  • make sustainable returns in e-government - redefine employee responsibilities and skill sets to fit e-driven business processes.

For further information contact: 
gillian.angel@vantagemc.co.uk
  

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