Kent council’s IT director Peter Bole has said that the risk of exclusion should not be used as a reason for shying away from the government’s ‘digital by default’ agenda – using digital means to deliver public services – and that a key challenge will be to make sure citizens get the necessary online support.
“I think that the challenge for adopting a digital by default approach is finding ways of ensuring people are not excluded, as opposed to seeing that as a rationale for not going in that direction,” he said during an interview about the council’s IT services.
Where individuals need a high level for support in using Kent’s online services, they are provided with appropriate help, he added. The council has also recently launched online monitoring intended to provide better feedback about its online services.
Bole said that approximately 10% of the ICT devices purchased by his department are deployed for public access in public libraries, ‘gateway’ centres and schools.
Kent has a target of achieving savings of £400m over four years and is looking to ‘channel shift’ (moving services from more expensive options like telephone and face to face meetings to cheaper options like self-service on the web and on mobile phones) as a way of contributing to this.
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