CHANNEL IMPLEMENTATION POLICIES CONSULTATION
: THE POST OFFICE
This input to the consultation process has been submitted
at the request of the Minister for E-Government, Mr Ian McCartney.
Main Comments & Recommendations
The extent to which the channel policies proposed
will achieve the aims and commitments of the Modernising Government
White Paper must be the acid test against which the policies are
assessed. These aims include the delivery of improved, citizen-focused
and socially inclusive Government Services.
Each component of the channel policies should
be reviewed against the key aims of the White Paper.
The main channel principles and policies outlined
and the consultation process itself are to be applauded. The majority
of the key areas for consideration have been considered, from
branding through to licensing and commercial models.
The channel provider consultation process should
be formalised and widened to include representatives from Government
Departments and Local Authorities.
Channel case studies should be developed to
inform the channel policies and the cultural change programme.
Nevertheless, these components alone do not
constitute a Government channel strategy. Without a coherent strategy
across channels and channel providers the policies will not achieve
the desired outcomes and some may even be counter productive.
The PIU should be commissioned to develop a
coherent Government channel strategy building on the work already
underway on "electronic government" and "post offices".
In particular there is insufficient evidence
that citizen needs and their likely behaviours in different channels
by segment are thoroughly understood and that this understanding
is driving the channel policies. For example, despite the commitment
to social inclusion and choice it is unclear how the proposed
policies and the targetry/regulatory/licensing regimes will achieve
this when similar regimes have not succeeded in this respect in
Further research and case studies should be
commissioned to better understand likely customer behaviours using
A balanced scorecard of targets for Government
Departments should be developed to include multi-channel, citizen
access targets. Within those balanced scorecards actual electronic
usage rather than capability of usage should be measured and targeted.
The regulatory and licensing regimes should
cover criteria such as social inclusion and not simply business
process issues such as security and accounting.
There is insufficient consideration of the needs
of channel providers and channel dynamics and the likely overall
economic impacts to ensure that the policies are affordable and
The complexities of the whole potential supply
chain, including the role of existing and new intermediaries,
requires further thought.
The need for two-way SLAs should be explicitly
The requirement for contingency planning in
the event of the channels failing or the channel model providing
to be unstable should be considered.
The paper correctly recognises that different
commercial models will be appropriate (from Government pays through
to channel or customer pays). However, it does not indicate that
sufficient consideration has been given to the broad criteria
that are likely to influence the selection of the appropriate
options. In addition the paper does not explicitly acknowledge
that significant changes in Government culture and approach will
be required to deliver the channel policies including improved
collaborative skills in the supply chain, greater flexibility
and less emphasis on commodity/component cost procurement techniques.
Key Government Services should be categorised
in terms of criticality, fraud, complexity, social exclusion etc
and the categories used to inform appropriate procurement strategies.
A cross departmental channels group should be
formed to co-ordinate individuals channel strategies within the
Government channel strategy framework, exchange best practice
and lead the required cultural change.