Paperless Consultation – Has the goal of e-enabling consultations been achieved?
We’ve just passed the 2005 deadline for e-enabling the citizens’ interactions with Government and its agencies.
Beyond the predictable and competing claims of success by the programme’s supporters and carping criticisms from its opponents, it is worth remembering that the whole e-government initiative has been a journey into the unknown. In historic terms, five years is a very short time, but the pace of technological change has been relentless, and in hindsight this has been mostly a leap of faith.
For consultation and other public participation applications, it is worth recalling some of the arguments which have raged. Service providers in Local Government and elsewhere struggled with tight budgets whilst watching ICT departments showered with money they never requested just to build websites that no-one used. Then there were issues about the digital divide. In one breath, public bodies were being told to be more inclusive and seek the views of the hard-to-reach; in another they were being urged to use forms of e-consultation which effectively disenfranchised half the population!