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Thursday, 19 February 2009

When egov is glacial

Never mind the joys of social media, egov still has numerous extreme basics to get right ...

GC Weekly has another telling tale about the state of Whitehall run IT:
The Department for Work and Pensions is covertly supporting Royal Mail and the Northern Irish economy, Loose Wires can reveal.

A colleague's brother recently signed on for Jobseeker's Allowance for the first time. Attending Jobcentre Plus as instructed, he was asked to fill in forms to apply for the allowance, housing benefits and help with council tax.

He surprised the staff by asking if he could fill out forms on the spot - the expectation was that he would post them back. He was then told the forms would be posted to Belfast. Someone there might contact him - by post - for further information. That office would then contact his local authority - by post - regarding benefits.

The council concerned has since written, referring throughout the letter to the jobseeker's brother as Mr Dave (colleague's first name changed to protect the innocent). As the Jobcentre staffer misspelt the applicant's occupation after having checked how it was spelt - and he is not a xylophonist - this was not a big surprise.

Tomorrow, our brave jobseeker will return (after more than a fortnight) to find out what progress they have made. This news will have presumably been chiselled on a stone tablet by someone in the Falkland Islands.
And this is the same department doing interesting and good innovation via DirectGov (which they're responsible for).

I've been in a jobcentre and they've got touchscreens with jobs on, had them for years. Why in 2009 aren't applicants filling out forms on computers in jobcentres? ... for example ...

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