Integrated service delivery: Not yet there?

By: Sandford BorinsIn his commentary on the Lac Carling conference “Plumbing the foundations of a new public service culture,” Don Lenihan observes that silo walls are not being breached, and that rather than integrating services, agencies like Service Canada and Service Ontario are resigning themselves to the less ambitious goal of helping citizens navigate the silos.Here's an example that suggests Lenihan may well be right. Ontarians whose automobile licence plates are due for renewal receive in the snailmail a form from the Ministry of Transportation telling them they can renew at “our regular service outlets” or at an electronic kiosk.They can also renew online on the Service Ontario Web site – I just did – but there is not a word of that on the form. Truly integrated service delivery means the form would tell them about the online option. Indeed, if MTO were really creative, those who renewed online once would have the form e-mailed to them.So why no mention on the form? I asked this as a question on the final exam for my public management course and, based on the students' thinking and mine, here are three hypotheses:1. no one at MTO ever thought of it2. the Service Ontario Web site isn't ready for primetime and couldn't handle a big increase in volume3. MTO wants to keep the business for its partners, the privately-run licensing offices and IBM's electronic kiosksHypotheses 1 and 2 imply that the lack of integration can be overcome eventually. Hypothesis 3 says no integration is here to stay. Is it?

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