A Manifesto for Online Public Services

Posted by Erin Routson

As public services become increasingly digitized and move online, what are the impacts on the end user? While online public services may offer convenience for (some) members of the public — as well as cost savings for government — here at the PPL we think investment in digital services shouldn’t come at the expense of making the whole service experience between citizens and government work well, from visiting an office in person to filling out forms online.

A new manifesto, commissioned from design firm thinkpublic by the CF Labs unit at advocacy group Consumer Focus, tackles the important question of what British citizens want from the digital services that will ultimately serve them:

We want online public services that

  1. Help us to get on with the rest of our lives.
  2. Are easy to understand and use.
  3. Look clear and simple.
  4. Allow us all to easily register our opinion on any public service; and on the agencies at whichever tier of government that are responsible for them.
  5. Support us when we want to make a contribution to public services and government.
  6. Allow us control of our online identities and our personal data and still get the most out of public services.
  7. Are provided by whoever’s going to do the best job.
  8. Are more transparent.

In the video piece above, a sample of citizens outlines what each tenet of the manifesto means to them – from describing how not every service can work equally well for every person, to the desire to establish a positive dialogue with government that doesn’t just involve citizens complaining when something goes wrong. Click through for downloadable reports, as well as more details on the manisfesto and the research process.