Consultants at work in the public sector – Stateside report

These are constructed without regard to organisational or jurisdictional boundaries. To increase collaboration and co-operation, government has begun to use web portals, data warehouses, geographic information systems (GISs), groupware and data mining. In addition, government is collaborating with external services providers to provide alternative means to deliver public services. There are many examples of such services:

The New York City Health Department is using a GIS to manage the entire workflow associated with its West Nile virus prevention efforts. Information is collected and analysed regarding locating and testing dead birds, testing mosquitoes collected in traps, and compiling standing-water reports and health reports on suspected cases of the West Nile virus. The information is shared with multiple city and state agencies; work orders are generated to the appropriate agency authorising and tracking critical mosquito surveillance and control activities.

The city of Hampton, Virginia, has implemented a 311 call centre through which, “one call does it all”. Citizens are no longer forced to navigate bureaucracy to obtain information or service. By making one call to the centre, a citizen will be teamed with a customer advocate who will use a multi-agency “knowledge base” data warehouse to access the collective knowledge of the city government. Questions can be answered and work orders submitted and tracked.

New Jersey’s One Ease e-link system ( is designed to restructure the state’s human-service delivery system by giving local collaboratives access to the hardware, software and training needed to create a local network of social service agencies. The network shares e-government resources that allow members to determine clients’ eligibility for services, locate local providers, communicate and ask questions, determine the availability of services and make appointments. Each local network uses standards that enable it to work with other local networks. The collaboratives are defined by local needs and conditions and, in most cases, are led by local government human-service agencies. The ultimate goal, which may be available soon, will be to offer residents the opportunity to apply for social services from any provider in the state.

Police and other criminal justice departments are transforming the way they handle crime fighting by using collaborative technologies to share information. For example, eight police departments in the Triad region of North Carolina are using a new data-sharing product to share law enforcement-related information about people, vehicles and property. Each agency that owns the data retains complete control of its system and database, but other departments can access the information.

The state of Maryland has established a non-mandatory, supplier-financed procurement portal designed to spur collaboration with vendors. The portal posts requests for proposals, invitations for bids, vendor responses and state award notices; and provides vendor registration, e-mail notification to vendors of pending bids, catalogues for commodities and services requisitioning, and requisition approval.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles offers an extensive array of online transactions for businesses and individuals designed to save money and time for the government and its stakeholders. For example, the Electronic Lien Program is a paperless method by which the DMV and lending institutions can exchange vehicle and title information. Through the Insurance Verification Electronic Acknowledgement Program, the DMV, the insurance industry and automobile owners can process all insurance-related information over the Internet.

Governments have begun to use technology to spur collaboration and co-operation. The recent terrorist attacks in the US will accelerate the process as governments implement systems for sharing data and knowledge internally, across jurisdictional lines, and with the private and not-for-profit sectors. In addition, as governments’ use of these technologies mature, it will allow development of one-stop or single-access delivery that allows citizens to be served in a seamless fashion, ignoring departmental or jurisdictional boundaries. For example, e-business centres will enable businesses to interact with a single government organisation to obtain diverse sets of requirements, from multiple permits to health inspections. Single-access services will enable human-service caseworkers to provide eligibility information for their customers through a single point of entry. “My government centres” will see multiple agencies and levels of government collaborating to understand a citizen’s interests/requirements, and disseminating appropriate information to them. ?:

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