Customer portal: part 1

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Today we start a series of blog posts to discuss the development of what will be the most visible face of eGovernment: the customer portal.

The customer portal is one of the eGov foundation components. The other components are digital ID, the people and business directories and the integration layer. You can read more about them in this industry briefing published in this blog back in August.

Benefits of a customer portal

The States of Jersey already offer a number of services online, but we know that we can do better.

  • The customer portal will give us the opportunity of interacting with you while, by using digital ID, knowing who we are dealing with.
  • This will allow us to process your requests quicker and more efficiently.
  • The customer portal will provide you with a way of telling us about yourself (your address, your contact details, your house hold) so all departments and parishes can use that information when delivering the services you need.
  • This in turn will allow us to provide personalised services. For example, by knowing where you live we could alert you to road works near your home, or we could let you know that you need to renew your driving license.
  • It will also allow you to communicate with us, request services, review the progress of your requests and access a history of transactions. One communication channel irrespective of which particular department or parish you are dealing with.
  • When filling out forms online we will be able to pre-fill them with information we already know about you, or avoid having to ask you certain questions altogether, saving you time.

We will know that we have succeeded when you, the States of Jersey departments and the parishes choose the customer portal as the preferred way of communication.

Building on components we already have in place

We already have tools and skills that will allow us to start building the customer portal now. The States of Jersey have been working with a software provider called Firmstep for some time to deliver our online services. Today a third of UK local councils, and some Jersey firms, are supported by this same platform.

We are now expanding the use of the tool by building an internal prototype: we are aiming to deliver in the first half of 2017 a first iteration of the customer portal integrated with the other eGov foundation components.

Get involved

As a potential user of the Customer portal

We would like to hear from you about the services you’d like to see included in the portal, and any other suggestions. Please use the comments section below to let us know your thoughts.

As a member of the digital industry

We want to engage in discussion with the local digital industry to gather ideas and best practices about the portal content and how to build it. Let us known any suggestions you may have or that you are interested in talking to us using the comments section below.

We intend to follow a hybrid development model, with our own staff working alongside local suppliers where possible.

We need to use developers who are familiar with, or trained in, the platform we’ll be using. We know that there may not be many people with that experience in Jersey today and so to help develop local capability we are organising training in November and December to be attended by a mix of States personnel and supplier staff.  While we would be looking to share costs among all attendees this would open the opportunity to be involved in the ongoing development of online services for the States of Jersey.

If you are interested in attending training, please contact us on eGov@gov.je.

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