Sunday, 17 March 2013

NBN: ReInventing Government Service Delivery in The Age of the Internet.

What impact might Universal fast broadband have on Government Service Delivery Costs?

Exactly none if there is no fast, ubiquitous network or if Government Agencies don't rethink their Service and Delivery models.

I suspect that Centrelink and FAHCSIA may become one of the largest RSP's in Oz, offering 'free'/cheap Internet access for job-searchers (web searches, video interviews and VoIP) and discounted Internet for pensioners to access banking, Government services, maybe more.

Moving to tele-access from physical offices would be a major cost saver for Government:
  • people can work from home [savings on accom & o'heads']
  • people can be contracted from country areas: cheaper hourly rates and with higher unemployment rates, a much more committed workforce.
  • on-demand in-bound call centre capacity. Possible to pay $20/day on-call, with 30min work segments.
  • but most of all, very detailed records of "work performed". Can have call centre staff work very 'efficiently'.
I think Centrelink & Fahcsia could shave 25-33%, even 50%, off their service delivery costs whilst improving their compliance monitoring and fraud detection. Random video calls and automatic face detection to find cheats and multiple-claimers.

If they have robust methods of quickly detecting fraud, the service culture might swing around from "guilty until proved innocent" to actually helpful, as they are with people moving into retirement, and because of simple, fast access, might remove or reduce assessment delays.

For anyone who's had to struggle through their process, this would be a real boon.

But is that possible? Would it work given our resistance to the Australia Card.

They might even be able to fly-in to disaster zones and setup temporary mobile networks (based on WiFi mesh and a Satellite or Fixed Wireless uplink), supply merchants with 3G/4G EFTPOS devices, handout cheap smartphones (they get pictures of the people and GPS co-ords for tracking them), and provide charging stations which can also include a guarded ATM.

Centrelink can transfer money into accounts, but if people can't access the Net to do their banking, or convert bits into cash or use EFTPOS, then it's useless. How you solve the "I don't know my bank account number" problem. Maybe "on-line secure vaults" are needed. Good freebie/cheapie for AusPost or Centrelink to get into. I like the idea of not just using passwords and questions, but a live video call to a real person to confirm ID against a stored photo or ten.

It's not unreasonable for people to register a picture with Centrelink & Fahcsia when they claim benefits.
When it's only a 2 minute task to update the picture (direct from a video-call at home) in a regularly scheduled contact (that'd be nice: "how are things going? What can we do for you? Are you working again?"), then people should be happy to comply.

As most people get into the system, if they turn up to an Aid Station without ID, wallet and phone [the majority case in a disaster], then they can get positive ID and be issued with a smartphone containing a certified ID + signature.
If you aren't already registered, then you only have to find 1 or 2 people in the system who can vouch for you, and afterwards you need to validate yourself properly.

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