PracticePeople In PracticeWhitehall criticised over online services

Whitehall criticised over online services

The UK government is doing a poor job putting its services online and must bring in the private sector to achieve its aim of saving £3.7bn, according to a report by Forrester Research.

No government department was rated any higher than a ‘C’ on a report card included in a paper published by Forrester this week. Each department was graded for vision, implementation, partnerships and cost savings. Five departments, including the Office of the e-Envoy, were rated ‘D’ and four, including the Department of Social Security, were rated ‘E’.

‘The government’s strategy for delivering online services requires a new approach to private sector partnerships – one which includes revenue-sharing models,’ concluded the report, E-government Fails the Grade.

Government-branded portals such as UK Online will lose out to private sector content partners as the main delivery point for goods and services. ‘In an online world where Virgin sells cars and banks offer shopping centres, competitors will quickly dominate the government brand,’ the report claimed. Forrester also said that fewer than one in five departments know how they will share revenues with commercial partners.

However, the Cabinet Office reacted angrily to the report. ‘Forrester is very keen on giving grades to the departments, but if we were grading it on its research we would have to give it an ‘E’. We think the quality of the research was fairly poor and fails to capture the range and diversity of work being done,’ said a spokesman.

First published in Computing.

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