GX Conversations on Service Continuity: Expert Takes In The Times Of Crisis - Elizabeth Goodman
How can governments maintain continuity of services they provide to citizens, residents and businesses in these times of crisis? Listen from service pioneers, policy experts, government leaders, innovators and thinkers from across the globe.
In the last few days, our world has completely changed. In such times, it is imperative that we reach out to our experts and leaders and guides, and use their wisdom to educate and inform our people to enable them to make some sense of today and tomorrow in our areas of common interest. For government services, the first objective for any government today is to maintain the continuity of services to their citizens, residents and businesses. Most governments are responding to this in their own ways.
GX reached out to some global leaders and asked them about their opinion on service continuity and requested them to address key questions like the following:
- How do you think that governments can maintain continuity of services they provide to citizens, residents and businesses in these times of crisis, and make sure that vital services are still accessible and available? Can you outline some key actions that they could take?
- What are the key factors that governments should consider when figuring out the continuity for such services? Can you outline some key factors that will/shall drive the decision-making process here?
The responses from these leaders and experts shall be presented in this series over the next few days. In this part, we present the views of: Elizabeth Goodman, Director of Design at A1M Solutions and former Director of Design at 18F (Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/esgoodman/)
Elizabeth Goodman says:
Digital doesn’t mean “online only.” It perhaps goes without saying that in many cases, governments should provide self-service, online options wherever possible. However, those online transactions require considerable up-front investment – from cloud infrastructure to user experience -- if they are to be reliable, secure, and easy-to-use. Moreover, “online” may mean “inaccessible” or “unavailable” to the people who need government services most. What about people without Internet access where they are sheltering? Or those limiting mobile data usage to save money? Continuity doesn’t equal convenience. During a crisis which traps people in their homes, paper mail can remain the channel of last (and often first) resort. A digital backbone is key – but not sufficient for real continuity.
Reconsider what’s essential. What services are truly vital in this crisis? What are the real consequences if they are inaccessible? What policies governments really need to enforce? And where is the money going to come from? Governments can and should make decisions about what to prioritize. Is it absolutely necessary to renew car registration or parking permits if non-essential travel is prohibited? What happens if citizens with recently expired ID cards are simply allowed to use them until the crisis passes? Conversely, services aimed at vulnerable populations may require even more investment – in telehealth, in improved data sharing tools, and remote training on infection control.