Whilst the concept of online transactions is now a mainstream activity for most consumer organizations, designing and building this type of online service in government presents unique challenges. Unlike online banks, or eBay or Amazon, an online government transaction platform has to be designed with inter-agency operation in mind from the very beginning - which is a much more complex challenge than a commercial, single-domain solution.
When I think of successful projects focused on e-enabling government services and transactions, my mind often goes to UK’s pioneering Government Gateway system - the website UK citizens use to register for online government services. Established over 15 years ago in partnership with Microsoft, today the Gateway processes tens of millions of transactions per year.
I believe the Gateway is a clear-cut example of how to design a robust e-government system that spans departments, services and business processes, yet provides a single, front-end view for the citizen. And it continues to grow. Today, 166 enabled services from over 55 government offices are made accessible to UK citizens using the system. People use the Gateway for a seemingly endless list of services, from claiming child tax credits to paying parking fines to checking pension entitlements. In fact, these days people are very likely to use the Government Gateway without even knowing it. This is a result which I believe speaks to the ease-of-use and seamless experience it provides citizens.
While established several years ago, the UK Gateway continues to inspire and influence many similar Gateway models, most notably in the Czech Republic, which has deployed the same logical architecture. As governments continue to strive to deliver public services and transactional platforms online, I believe that this success story can provide a valuable reference. Learn more about the Government Gateway and how it’s influenced similar projects. Our sister blog, the Microsoft UK Government Blog, also has some great background.