Making government digital by default should be the priority for the States of Guernsey and Jersey, according to C5 Alliance CEO Mark Loane.
“Making services such as tax returns, pension and employment claims and other transactional activities like registering a new car or applying for a passport digital could see the States in both islands make significant financial savings,” he said.
“The UK government has just released its digital strategy, calling for ‘modern, efficient, digital-by-default services’. This is the future of government as digital enables a leaner public sector something that is equally relevant in small islands as it is in larger economies such as the UK.
“UK officials are talking about harnessing the best of the web to provide UK residents with a better service – but on a smaller budget. Digitalisation enables the reduction of public sector expenditure; according to the report online transactions can be 20 times cheaper than by phone, 30 times cheaper than face-to-face, and up to 50 times cheaper than by post.”
Mr Loane also highlighted the benefits that would apply to the end users of government services.
“Digital transactions are also better for taxpayers too. Individuals and businesses can save time when dealing with government. This is more convenient for individuals but becomes critical for businesses who will have time freed up to pursue their core interests, resulting in increased business growth,” he said.
“If digitisation is the future of government, Guernsey and Jersey need to adopt this strategy in order to stay competitive. Steps are being taken in both islands but, like in the UK, in order to get the best results the process needs to be a collaborative effort between civil servants and software developers from the local IT sector. Services need to be properly optimised and user friendly, otherwise they risk being under-utilised and will miss out on efficiency savings.”
Category: Finance & Business