A single and convenient point of access for citizens to access public sector services and information which is held on existing public sector websites. The aim is to make it easier for citizens to find what they are looking for across the volume of public sector websites without having to know the detail of which organisation does what.
Why not just use Google?
Google is a good search tool particularly for Internet users who are web literate and proficient in creating searches. We want to create a “no wrong door” approach and the purpose of the OneScotland Portal is to provide a single point of access which will have a strong brand. Through the use of directories (e.g. A-Z, topic areas), the Portal will help the citizen to easily find what they are looking for.
In addition, the Portal will present the information/services in a structured/logical manner so if a disabled person is looking for information on Disability Living Allowance he or she will also be presented with additional information that may be of relevance such as eligibility for housing benefit and applying for blue badge scheme. This way of presenting the public sector information in a clearly structured and written context is something that Google does not do.
Why not join Directgov?
Directgov is an integral part of the UK Government’s Transformational Government Strategy and Varney ‘Service Transformation’ report which reflects UK reserved policy. The Transformational Government strategy does not reflect Scottish policy and has not been adopted by Scotland for devolved matters. Much of the strategy advocates the need to join up across Whitehall departments rather than the wider public sector approach which we are taking in Scotland.
We are ahead of the UK in developing a Citizen’s Account and National Entitlement Card and the development of the OneScotland Portal builds on that work.
The OneScotland Portal will allow us to develop a uniquely Scottish image to front citizen access to public services and information, regardless of whether they are local or central and, in time, regardless of whether they are reserved or devolved.
How does this fit with policy?
Many leading eGovernment countries have public sector portals ranging from simple signposting services to existing websites to fully transactional websites through which services are directly offered, as part of their eGovernment policy. This is something that Scotland is currently lacking.
The development of such portals by the leading eGovernment countries has been in response to citizens becoming more web-savvy and not responding to isolated bits of information but require customised access to public services and information designed around individual circumstances and lifestyles.
What are the benefits?
The primary benefit of Phase One of the Portal development will be to provide a single and convenient point of access for citizens to interact with The Scottish Government, Agency, NDPB and Local Authority public services and information.
This will help citizens to find what they are looking for across existing citizen facing websites without having to understand organisational boundaries or be familiar with the myriad of public sector websites already in existence.
There is potential to deliver more benefits over time as the portal develops towards a one-stop-shop with more services and information provided from the portal direct. Potentially, longer term benefits will include:
Personalised services for citizens – quick access to relevant services.
Seamless citizen access to all public services and information with a single customer account and authentication system to underpin all transactions – leading to improved customer satisfaction.
Seamless service delivery for citizens e.g. only having to notify a change of address once.
A consistent approach can be taken to designing services around the needs of the citizen, ensuring that accessibility and usability issues are managed.
Reduction in website design, development and hosting costs as some existing websites are closed down and their content migrated to the portal.
Supports shared services e.g. reduction in development costs for ICT solutions by providing re-usable components within the portal e.g. a single payments engine to manage payments across the public sector.
Improved co-operation across public sector organisations through a shared approach.
Meeting the i2010 strategic objectives.
Significant efficiency savings will be delivered where services are transformed for delivery within the portal and these will need to be developed on an individual business case basis.
What will Phase One consist of?
Phase One of the Portal will primarily be a signposting service to existing services and information on existing websites of the Scottish Executive, Agencies, NDPBs and Local Authorities. There will be some shallow content on the portal which will help guide users to the topic they are interested in. The portal will provide links to key UK reserved services e.g vehicle registration.
The portal will also provide a search facility for portal content and where feasible, citizen feedback and complaints facility.
…but I already have to maintain web pages on our existing website.
We do not want to make this onerous for you and the main aim is simply to improve the experience for citizens. The Portal forms part of our national strategy towards improved and citizen focussed public service delivery.
What happens if the funding is not secured beyond Phase One?
As a minimum we will ensure that Phase One of the Portal is maintained. Funding has now be secured to enable further development of the portal
When and how will the portal be marketed to citizens?
As part of Phase One of the project we envisage developing a Marketing Strategy. We hope that the development of the strategy will be achieved in collaboration with the portal stakeholders so that the messages, benefits and expenditure are achieved in the most cohesive way possible.
In addition we would expect the Portal content stakeholders to promote the Portal to their customers, potentially through facilitating a link to the Portal from their own websites.
How will the success be measured? What are the success factors?
Ultimately we hope that citizens will find the Portal as a useful service that will help them find the service and information that they want. Beyond Phase One we plan to undertake citizen research to ensure that the Portal meets citizen’s needs and requirements and to assist us in identifying further options and opportunities for the development of the Portal.
The Portal itself will contain a survey and feedback facility by which the users can express their satisfaction and suggest further development opportunities.
What is meant by Citizen Facing information and services?
We mean the range of services/information you would use as a member of the public e.g. register a birth; pay council tax; find schools in your area.
We don’t plan to include services/information which are aimed at practitioners, academics, public sector workers or businesses.
The Portal however, will contain a link to the Business Gateway, this portal provides practical help, advice and support for new and growing businesses in Scotland. Similarly the Portal will link to Scotland.org, Scotland’s international gateway.
How will the project developments be communicated to the stakeholders?
As an identified stakeholder you will be kept abreast of the developments at the key stages of the Portal Development and will be given an opportunity to view the final product prior to the launch. In addition, a communication plan is being developed detailing the communication requirements and regular engagement between the project team and the identified stakeholders following the launch of the Phase One of the Portal.
All enquiries on the OneScotland Project can be directed to the project mailbox at OneScotland.portal@Scotland.gsi.go.uk
How does the Portal development fit with the developments under the Customer First Programme?
The development of the OneScotland Portal takes advantage of the National Infrastructure developed under the Customer First programme thus adding a significant merit to the investment already made and facilitating smoother development of the portal.
The Customer First programme is also developing a portal which will provide citizens with access to their Scottish Citizen’s Account which is designed primarily with Local Authorities in mind. However the ICT building blocks which it is putting in place have potential for much wider use across the public sector and timing is ideal to draw these strands of work together with a more strategic approach to public sector websites.
The OneScotland Portal is building on the common technology developed under the National Infrastructure programme. Apart from the Scottish Citizen’s Account the Portal is also building on the Scottish Services and Navigation List by expanding them to include a wider range of pubic services in addition to the Local Authority ones.
What consideration has been given to the issue of accessibility?
One of the essential requisites for the OneScotland Portal is to be as accessible and as user friendly as possible. The Portal will be developed to the WAI AA (Double A) standard and independently certified. It is envisaged that the Portal will offer a number of accessibility options including text resizing.
Accessibility and usability of the Portal will be undertaken by a third party prior to its launch. This is to be coupled by citizen research into accessibility and usability post the Portal launch.