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Government going digital

Government going digital

Friday 03 October 2014

Government going digital

Friday 03 October 2014

The States say that within three years you’ll be able to do 75% of your interactions with them online as part of a huge project to bring Jersey’s government into the digital world.

The ambitious target has been set to cover anything from tax returns to a dog licence, or from Planning applications to your childrens’ school reports, as the States try to create a more efficient and more user-friendly government.

The e-government project is being led by Mike King, the chief executive of the Economic Development department. He says the States will award a contract to a “lead partner” to build an e-government system this month, then they will have up to nine months to design it and 18 months to implement it.

In the lead story of this month’s Connect magazine Mr King says that they hope to give the major contract to a local firm.

He said: “It is a tremendous opportunity for the digital sector. We have a total budget of around £7 million. But we have also been very clear about the ongoing element. You don’t build a house if you don’t have the money to keep it heated – so there’s a long-term revenue component to keep it updated, and ultimately, that will be a job for the internal guys.”

And he added that the inefficiencies of the current system mean that money is being wasted all the time.

He said: “Every year, around 7,500 States employees fill out a form to send to the government telling them how much the government has paid them. Later in the same form, they will tell the government the names, dates of birth and schools that their children go to – information that is all held very clearly by the government in a different place.

“The same is true of 13,500 pensioners, who every year have to write in their tax return and tell the government what the government has paid them in the state pension.

“What happens now? You fill in a tax return. It gets scanned in. People in the tax office sit there with the scanned image on one screen and typing the stuff on the other screen. That’s how it gets into the system that calculates the tax liability and gives you the effective rate. That is a labour-intensive process that can be fully-automated.

“Where we want to get to for anything is that it doesn’t matter what it is that you want to do, you go into the system on your desktop, your laptop, your iPad or your phone, you type in your digital ID, the system fills in all of the bits of the form apart from the bits that you need to fill in that are specific to that application.”

Read the full interview in Connect, along with a major interview with JRFC coach Harvey Biljon, a feature on a local tech success story and Jersey’s best line-up of columnists. The magazine is free and out around town now, or available online here.

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