What E-Government is All About

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E-government is about making citizens’ lives easier and more convenient. There is no greater service a civil servant can deliver than to save the time of a citizen.

A while ago I renewed my motor tax online at www.motortax.ie. I had received a renewal form in the post and on it was a renewal pin number. I went to the website, and there on the homepage were two boxes: one for my vehicle registration number, and one for my pin number.

I entered in both numbers and was then presented with a six-step process. I was finished within five minutes. I remember renewing my motor tax by post. It took a lot longer and it was a lot more hassle.

Government in Ireland has improved massively over the years. I remember having to go to government departments years ago. It was a nightmare. Opening late in the morning, long lunch breaks, long queues, and early closing.

Government can get better. Renewing my motor tax was much easier. However, renewing my driving license was not easy. I came across an online form that had 12 steps. Step 10 said to print out the previous 9 steps.

Government has a huge role to play in ensuring the success of the knowledge society. Historically, governments have focused a lot on physical infrastructure. This work will always be very important. However, increasingly governments will face the challenges of creating well-designed information infrastructures.

In Ireland at the moment, there is major pressure on our road networks. The economy is still growing rapidly. More houses, amenities and business parks are being built and that requires more and better roads. Pressure builds as drivers face bottlenecks and traffic jams.

Government planners need to think about the Web in the same way. The Web has sometimes been referred to as an information superhighway. Well, this highway is getting clogged with poor quality, out-of-date content. Poor classification means that citizens are taking the wrong turns. Confusing content and badly designed forms waste time. Time is the currency of the knowledge society.

Certainly, huge improvements have been made. It was indeed much more time-consuming back then when we had to get into our cars and drive into town to do business with government. Even though websites are not as well designed as they could be, they’re still better than many other options.

That’s not the point. The past is a distant country, and how we did things in the past is forgotten, or perhaps remembered nostalgically. People don’t come to the Web full of gratitude; they come full of impatience. When the search doesn’t work and the link is broken, when the content reads poorly and the instructions are vague, people don’t remind themselves of how lucky they still are. They get annoyed. They won’t go to that second page of search results because they’ll think it’s a waste of time.

Congratulations to Motor Tax Ireland. You saved me time. You’ve made my life easier and more convenient, and that is what e-government is about.

For your web content management solution, contact Gerry McGovern http://www.gerrymcgovern.com

Subscribe to his New Thinking Newsletter: subscribe@gerrymcgovern.mailer1.net

What E-Government is All About
About Gerry McGovern
For your web content management solution, contact Gerry McGovern http://www.gerrymcgovern.com

Subscribe to his New Thinking Newsletter: subscribe@gerrymcgovern.mailer1.net WebProNews Writer
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  • JohnMc

    I’m doing some research on eGovernment and have a questionnaire online at present, see below. Your points mirror my research. There are some very good eGov sites out there but I think more should be done, the link with travel is uncanny…


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