Guest blog: What’s the future of public services for citizens?

We asked citizens and public sector leaders what their expectations are for the future of the Government in the UK.

34% of the public are concerned about the UK government’s ability to support the radical change we’re experiencing.

A quarter of public sector leaders report feeling no benefit at all from technological advances. Yet the opportunity for the public sector to embrace technology is immense, with citizen demand driving the pace for change for Government services to mirror consumer experiences.

So what do citizens really expect from their public services?

Citizens expect 3 things from public services.    

  • Personalisation: Tailored public services to fit their particular circumstances.

 

  • Accessibility: Full access to public services at the right time and platform to suit their needs.

 

  • Trust & Transparency: An understanding of how their data is being used and shared across Government.

 

Interestingly, 34% of citizens lack trust in how organisations will use personal data and 54% of citizens think the government should regulate the use of personal data.

 

Yet, when asked the question of “Would you rather have a single login point for all Government departments?” a common response from users was that they’re happy to share all of their information with government departments on the condition that they don’t have to enter their details over and over again and on the proviso that it’s secure.

 

Citizens want their public services fast, simple and digital, on the proviso that their data is secure.

 

So, what needs to change to meet citizen’s expectations?

 

Fujitsu’s vision for the future of government is that we need to give citizens control over their own data.

Fujitsu’s vision puts citizens at the heart of government based on the principle that the citizen, not departments, are responsible for their own data and in control of sharing their data with government.

This is a model government for citizens where life events trigger automatic communication so that they don’t necessarily realise they are interacting with government. Engagement is minimal and permission based on age and the idea that if you have the right to services, you should never have to apply for them.

This kind of system is called ‘invisible government’, because it anticipates proactively the events in each citizen’s life, giving them what they need when they need it.

For example, when an individual has a baby, the birth certificate should automatically go into a secure data vault. This action should automatically inform the 10-15 government departments who need to know allowing them to pro-actively react to meet the citizen’s needs. The citizen will have full control of their data to see which Government departments have accessed their information and what services are taking place. This experience creates a personalised, accessible and transparent service for the citizen during a major life changing event. 

What technologies will be needed to enable this shift?

There are 3 key building blocks needed to achieve this citizen-centric vision: e-Identify, Blockchain and Interoperable Services.

Firstly, e-Identity will play a vital role to make it radically easier for citizens to interact with government services, providing faster access to information. Identity will be verified securely via card, or via government accredited smartphone applications to authenticate citizen’s identity online.

Secondly, blockchain has a big role to play in the journey. This technology makes information immutable. You can see if a citizens data has been changed, when it has been changed, and by whom – which is ideal for protecting and tracking citizens’ private data.

 

You can also secure data and choose to share it only with a select group of people. In much the same way that people already share data between the apps on their smartphones.

Lastly, systems need to inter-operate or give the impression of operating as a single integrated system of services for citizens and businesses.

To rationalise this, systems need to become interoperable between departments so that citizens only need to provide their data once.

This enables personalisation of public services, transparency and trust of data usage and accessibility to ensure that citizens receive the right services, at the right place, at the right time.

Find out why Citizen’s should be in control of their own data, learning from the best practise government of Estonia.

Author: Jamie Whysall, Government to Citizen Lead, Public Sector, Fujitsu

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