What is digital government service?
As citizens expect the civic experience to be as simple and seamless as what they receive from private sector businesses, digital services delivery is getting prioritised by governments worldwide. What is this digital model shift exactly?
Digital government services definition
Digital government services are defined as service delivery within government — as well as between government and the public — using information and communication technologies.
Common digital services range from filling tax returns to renewing a driver’s license to arranging a bulky item collection. Nearly any government form or service can be offered digitally.
Traditionally, government services have been delivered in person, by individual departments in different locations, and often using paper forms. With digital services, government can deliver information and services to citizens anytime, anywhere, and on any platform or device.
Benefits of digital government services
When implementing digital services, innovators can meet challenges related to internal risk aversion and user adoption, but these challenges are easily overcome and quickly replaced by benefits, which include:
- Better online user experiences for citizens.
- Increased public participation.
- Improved internal efficiency and productivity.
- Less burden on IT (when delivered with cloud-based technologies).
- Better collaboration among departments.
- Reduced labour costs.
- More innovation.
Importantly, organisations that transition from traditional to digital services see benefits extending beyond service delivery. No longer bound to a phone or service desk, government staff can think and act proactively on other strategic initiatives. For example, they can invest time streamlining procurement and approval processes, improving recruitment and hiring, streamlining backend processes, and incorporating technology standards.
What does digital government service delivery look like in the real world? Here in the UK, public sector organisations are leading the way in government digital transformation. Digital trends and best practices developed in the UK are gaining momentum around the world, including the US.
The overarching objectives, in these examples are similar — officials focus on enhancing the public’s online experience with government. By doing so, each government emerges with a scalable, unified method for serving and impacting citizens.
Example: serving citizens online saves £250,000
When Durham County Council launched their new citizen engagement strategy, Altogether Better Durham, they had three main goals: give citizens more choice, gain better citizen insights, and increase efficiency. So, the Durham County Council transitioned toward a digital approach to public services using a digital government services solution, called govService.
Now, over 90 processes and forms for government services can be accessed online and in one place, making it easy for citizens to make transactions of all kinds with their government. As a result, the number of citizen requests made online has increased. This dramatic shift in contact channel has already identified over £250,000 in annual savings, a figure that is expected to rise with time.
Example: improving citizen experience and staff productivity
Officials in Milton Keynes, (population 230,000), wanted to improve adult social care and improve the health and well-being of citizens. So, they gave citizens an online, self-service destination to access information about public services. With digital forms made possible by govService, citizens can quickly and easily search, compare, save, and download details of community services.
Since launching their online service portal, fewer citizens are contacting city staff unnecessarily. “Our staff find that when people progress to needing to speak to them, they come much better informed and have realistic expectations of the support we can offer.” said Victoria Collins, Director of Adult Social Care. “With fewer telephone calls and face-to-face interactions to deal with, our staff have more time to focus on those that need our support the most.”
Example: integrating digital services with cloud communications
Wrexham County Borough Council, (population 128,000) has been working to deliver a better citizen experience for one of its most-popular services: waste and recycling bin collection.
After modernising its approach by integrating govDelivery, its cloud-based communications platform, with govService — more citizens are opting in to keep the county clean. Here’s how it works: when a customer visits the Wrexham website and enters their address in a form, govService automatically looks up the customer’s collection day and calendar, then sends the information into govDelivery, which automatically signs the customer up for their bin reminder emails. After that, the customer receives relevant, timely, and automated information about their bin collections. This combination has improved sign-up rates and ensured Wrexham reaches more citizens. Today, residents get exceptional customer service, while county staff gets fewer phone calls from confused residents.
How does Granicus help?
At Granicus, we empower governments to transform how they deliver public services through a new generation of tools, called govService. With govService, you can achieve the benefits of digital services delivery and provide citizens with a one-stop shop for all government services without overhauling your internal process. Interested? Learn about govService.