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Citizen Centric Government Through Public Portals

USA of the people by the people for the people postage stamp

In today’s connected world, consumers want to interact with service providers on their own schedule and receive individualized information and experiences. The same principles apply to citizens, who are the “customers” of their government. Citizen-centric government using public portals is a growing trend. These portals offer citizens secure, convenient, and personalized channels to interact with their government and offer civil servants greater efficiency and deeper insight into the needs of their citizenry.

What is citizen-centric government?

Traditionally, government functions and services have been viewed from the perspective of what information and activities a government office manages. For example, an office that grants fishing permits will focus on the number and type of permits issued. Citizen-centric government turns that perspective inside out to view services through the eyes of citizens. It asks what an individual citizen experiences when obtaining information or services from a government office.

How can public portals help?

Public portals can

  • deliver personalized services such as licenses and permits efficiently
  • improve trust by providing greater transparency
  • streamline feedback and communication between citizens and government
  • reduce administrative costs

 

How do citizens engage?

Citizens engage with their government offices in person, by phone, and especially online via public portals.

Features of good public portals

A good public portal will include

  • intuitive and efficient ways to look up information such as
    • polling place for a given address
    • how to obtain copies of vital records
    • how to obtain a marriage license
  • ability to submit forms and fees through the portal
  • contact information for citizens who need real-time help

 

How do citizen-centric portals benefit government employees?

Shifting the focus from government operations to citizens’ experiences can benefit everyone.

Under-the-hood design features

Government staff and contractors benefit from good design practices, including

  • consistent architecture so that the path to get information is similar across departments
  • consistently formatted data
    • for example, zip code and phone number formats are always the same
  • services to share data between departments and with third parties securely and reliably
  • data analysis systems that accommodate both structured and unstructured data
  • multi-layered security

 

Good practices that improve the civil service staff experience

When data is secure, centralized, and consistent, it’s easier for staff members to do the repetitive tasks. It also frees up their time and attention for individual cases that need human expertise.

TL;DR

Citizens are also consumers, and they want the same convenience, personalization, and security they enjoy in the business world to extend to their government offices. Well-designed public portals help to make citizen-centric government a reality.

To learn more about Susco’s work for the Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court, click here.

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