While the government is making progress on getting all services online by 2005, the provision of electronic forms remains a major challenge.
Speaking at round-table discussion on the future of e-forms in London, Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen hinted the UK had its work cut out: ‘Other countries are moving more rapidly than the UK, including Germany and the US,’ Chizen said.
As an example, he said, all tendering work in Germany is done online, where the policy is: ‘If you want to do business with us, you download a form and fill it in.’
The Adobe chief said that using e-forms was a ‘small investment with potentially huge returns’.
‘It’s all about efficiency,’ he added, quoting the example of the Inland Revenue Service in the US, where the provision of downloadable and interactive forms has produced ‘significant cost savings’.
Statistics compiled by Adobe showed 80% of decision-makers in government believe e-forms save time and paper, with 40% having already implemented such a solution.
Tom Adams, a senior consultant at the Office of the e-Envoy: ‘We have seen the growth of the internet within government, with the different departments starting to talk to each other.
‘We are currently looking at providing one form of access to all government services including the Inland Revenue, Department of Trade & Industry and Customs & Excise.’