New version of E-government Strategy to better reflect plans

Research, technological and social changes to be taken into account

The government is set to produce a new version of its E-government Strategy by mid-year, with the help of a $125,000 contract with Wellington’s Horizon Consulting Services.

The new version will re-examine the document produced in 2003 taking into account technological and social changes and research and experience in the past two-and-a-half years, says Laurence Miller, deputy state services commissioner in charge of the ICT branch (formerly the e-government unit).

“Over the last three years we have had the experience of implementing a number of projects,” Millar says, “and there’s been a lot more information from research into what the public expects from government services online”.

Much work has also been done internationally on the e-government front. At the same time, the environment of the e-government unit and the strategy has been changed by its absorption into the broader “networking” goal of the SSC, Millar says.

On the technological side one big change has been the rise of mobile digital communications. In 2003, the internet was the main focus, he says.

In many respects, wireless and 3G cellphone access have added to and expanded that perspective.

The other emphasis of the update will be to make the strategy “a bit more coherent and articulate” about the meaning of the goal that “by 2010, the operation of government will have been transformed” by use of the internet and other digital communication technologies.

As that deadline nears, government agencies and the public should have a clearer idea of “what a transformed government would look like”, Millar says. Again, considerable research has been done internationally on this front in the past two-and-a-half years, particularly by the UK government.

Horizon, led by Computerworld Excellence Awards judge Aaron Kumove, was chosen because it has a proven track record of researching e-services delivery, Millar says.

“But it’s not their strategy. It will be developed using both our own and external resources.”

There will not be a formal public consultation stage, but the ICT branch is in continual contact with appropriate “stakeholders”, Millar says. “We’re taking a lot of input from the public and industry.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: The original version of this story referred to the government's Digital Strategy rather than the E-government Strategy. We regret the error.