If you are keen on increasing the accountability of government to its citizens, Osbourne with some reasons voting Tory (possibly for the first time) might bring open government further into being – particularly considering the expense of and complex blocking responses that are open to civil servants under the various FoI legislations. It remains to be seen, whether they will/can do at least some of what it says on the tin:
When it comes to public services, the government is racing just to catch up.
Of course the Government has created some new websites and many of the forms you need to fill in are now available for download. You can even fill in some forms over the net too.
That’s the most basic reaction to new technology: doing the old thing a new way.
But to really harness the new technology, you need to rethink the way public services work. As we move from a one-to-many to a many-to-many world, it won’t do to just replicate the same old processes, with new technology.
After all, it’s good that you can now apply for your passport online, but why can’t you check hospital waiting lists or doctor appointments in real time?
It’s a step forward to be able to submit your tax forms online, but why is it not possible to find out where that money is being spent?
There is certainly a public appetite for greater online interactivity. A survey last year found that over half of the public thinks that more public services should be available online.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty