UK digital champion Martha Lane Fox has urged the government to radically improve the way it delivers services online or risk alienating the population.
Lane Fox made a number of recommendations in her Directgov 2010 and Beyond report (PDF) published this week, calling for public services to be delivered digitally by default.
Making services available online should make them better and more convenient to access, and could lead to cost savings of £2.2bn annually if just 30 per cent of content is made digital, the report said.
"For years businesses have been using digital communications to improve services and engagement with their consumers," said Lane Fox.
"Government should take advantage of the more open, agile and cheaper digital technologies to deliver simpler and more effective services, particularly to disadvantaged groups who are some of the heaviest users of government services. "
Lane Fox also recommended that Directgov should have a stronger remit, and become a "customer champion with teeth".
The report also called for the appointment of an executive director for digital change at the Cabinet Office who would drive change and unite teams working in the same area and with the same vested interests.
The report was welcomed by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who claimed that the government will follow many of its recommendations.
"We will use digital technology to drive better services and lower costs. At present we inherited contracts that effectively limit the number of people who can use some online services," he said.
"And for most benefits it is simply not possible to apply online. This is inconvenient, expensive, wasteful and ridiculous, and it cannot continue."
Maude continued that online services are more convenient and cheaper and " can be better and more personalised".
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