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Government unveils 'master plan' to move public services online

The eGovernment plan hopes to allow adults renew passports, apply for driving licences, and file company documents online by 2013.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE GOVERNMENT has published its ‘master plan’ to offer public services online, as part of its overall plans to streamline the public sector.

The eGovernment 2012-2015 document, published this afternoon by public expenditure and reform minister Brendan Howlin, outlines 45 goals in eight main areas in which services will be moved online over the next four years.

The plan is based on five ‘key principles’, including the theory that public services should always be delivered through the most appropriate channels, that electronic governance should reduce bureaucracy, and that public services should try to make online services the most attractive option.

The plan also identifies 11 areas in which progress should be made by the end of 2013, including the ability to renew an adult passport, lodge planning applications and objections, apply for driving licences, and form new companies.

Other plans include the ability to allow the public apply for welfare benefits, while companies will be able to file their corporation tax returns. It is also planned to roll out the fixyourstreet.ie service, which currently only covers South Dublin, to the rest of the country.

Part of the broader plan will see public bodies adopt social media usage policies, develop smartphone apps where appropriate, and examine the possibility of establishing an online, interactive Citizens Information Centre.

Overall the plan intends to help Ireland meet EU targets of having 50 per cent of public services, and 80 per cent of business services, delivered online by 2015.

Howlin said the plan “places citizens and businesses at the centre of eGovernment” and challenged public bodies to develop new services with public convenience in mind.

He added that a public service Chief Information Officer Council had been established in order to oversee the implementation of the eGovernment programme.

A data-sharing ‘clearing house’ has been established within his Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in order to advance data-sharing across public bodies.

In full: The eGovernment plan for 2012 to 2015 (PDF) >

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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