State of Florida a model for government online service delivery

Technology is the key to cutting government red tape, according to an U.S. government official.

Kim Binkley-Seyer, Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), State of Florida, made the comment Thursday at the “Red Tape to Smart Tape” conference in downtown Toronto. The event was organized by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada.

In her keynote, Binkley-Seyer noted that “innovative” technology is necessary to improve and transform government regulation. Governments, including those in Canada, have to anticipate customer demand for real-time access to information with a central point of contact, Binkley-Seyer said.

Customer service, security and competition are driving forces behind the shift to providing government services online, she added.

Binkley-Seyer explained the Florida DBPR is a US$1.5 billion state agency regulating one million professionals and businesses across 198 licensee categories, with a goal of ensuring quality services for the health, safety and welfare of the people of Florida.

DBPR has become a regulatory agency through its use of modern technology to deliver the integrated licensing/permitting transaction, Binkley-Seyer said, adding the DBPR licensing system was given a jump-start by leveraging the Accenture eGovernment Accelerator – processes have been streamlined, license renewal turn-around times are faster and there is less duplication of agency resources.

Graham Gordon, partner, Canadian e-government practice, for Ottawa-based consulting firm Accenture Ltd., said the Canadian government has made a concerted effort towards providing secure online delivery to businesses and citizens.

Concepts such as CRM (customer relationship management) are relatively new to government organizations but this is changing, he added.

“In general, people are expecting from the government the type of service they get from the private industry. This is not becoming a ‘nice-to-have,’ it’s becoming an expectation,” Gordon said.

The adoption of online services such as the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) Netfile taxation services was “fantastic,” which proves the demand is there, but there is still a long way to go, Gordon noted.

Canada offers a lot online, but there are a number of inhibitors – including security and privacy issues – before government online service delivery becomes prevalent, Gordon noted.

“Government has been set up to create stovepipes in order to protect citizen information…the biggest challenge is to share information across various departments without breaking privacy laws,” Gordon said.