Greystones Town Council member, Councillor James O’Sullivan, has said that the Government’s master plan to offer public services online will improve, streamline and reduce the cost of Government at all levels. Councillor O’Sullivan made the comments after the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD, outlined 45 goals in eight areas in which public services will move online over the coming four years. The report is entitled ‘eGovernment 2012-2015’.
Speaking after the publication of the report, Councillor O’Sullivan stated, “I commend the Government for taking up these proposals. For far too long, private industries have been way ahead of the public sector in terms of adapting to the needs of citizens and offering services online. The plan which is based on five key principles, includes the theory that public services should always be delivered through the most appropriate channels, that electronic governance should reduce bureaucracy and that the public sector should try to make online services the most attractive option.”
“The public sector has to be challenged to bring about these reforms. Public bodies, such as Wicklow County Council, must build on measures taken to date and continue to develop new services that meet the needs of the general public and local businesses. The services to go online first are – the ability to renew an adult passport, lodge planning applications and objections, apply for driving licences, and form new companies”, stated Councillor O’Sullivan.
“I’m glad the Fine Gael led Government recognises the need for public services to be delivered faster, better and more efficiently. Intelligent, targeted use of communication and technology will be key enablers for these improvements. The new strategy places all citizens at the centre of both local and national government.”
“More eventual reforms will include companies being able to file their tax returns online. By 2015, I hope to see 50% of public services and 80% of business services delivered online for the ease of both citizens and corporate entities. As a public representative, I consistently use social media and other forms of online communication to effectively engage with my constituents. Government should be no different. This new initiative will challenge public bodies to develop new services with public convenience in mind. This will bring about the real change that is needed in public services”, concluded Councillor O’Sullivan.
Five Key Principles of eGovernment 2012 – 2015
1. The needs of citizens and businesses are at the centre of eGovernment.
2. Public services should be delivered through the most appropriate channels.
3. eGovernment should reduce the administrative burden for citizens and businesses.
4. eGovernment projects should reflect Business Process Improvements, delivering demonstrable efficiency, effectiveness and Value for Money gains.
5. Public Bodies should work to ensure that the online channel is the most attractive option for customers.