UK - Research Predicts Govt IT Revolution


        LONDON, ENGLAND, 1997 APR 9 (NB) -- By Sylvia Dennis. According to

        research commissioned by Bull Information systems, the British

        public will increasingly rely on information technology (IT) in

        their efforts to communicate with the government in all its forms.


        The report suggests that a significant proportion of the UK's

        citizens want to use the latest technologies, such as the Internet

        and smart cards, to interact with central and local government. The

        research surveyed 1,001 British citizens over the age of 15, on how

        they preferred to communicate with government and their attitudes to

        using technology in this process.


        The research, undertaken by Kable, concentrated on the four key ways

        in which people interact with government: obtaining products and or

        services, such as TV licenses and benefits payments; by tracking

        information on government activities, for example, the spending of

        council tax revenues; registering with government departments key

        life changes, such as births, deaths, and marriages; and finally

        accessing and interacting with records held by government bodies

        -- foe example, health or scholastic.


        The survey revealed that those who have either grown up with

        technologies such as PCs, or have access to them in the workplace,

        are the most keen to communicate electronically. The research

        discovered that as much as UKP37,800,000 of TV license revenue might

        be generated via e-mail and the Internet, even though these

        technologies are still relatively new to the public.


        Direct debit and call center technology also received a boost, as

        the survey underlined the important role they have to play when the

        British public obtains government services. According to the

        findings, 34 percent of respondents chose to pay for their TV

        licenses by direct debit, while 36 percent of those surveyed prefer

        the telephone to postage when dealing with government departments.


        The report concludes that Internet and electronic kiosks appeal to a

        significant number of respondents as methods of obtaining

        information on government.


        Surprisingly, of those who preferred kiosks, 17 percent were aged 55

        or over, citizens traditionally associated with "technophobia." The

        Internet won its fans in the age group which has most familiarity

        with PCs, the 15-44 year olds, Newsbytes notes.


        Interestingly, smart cards also found favor with respondents over

        personal health or academic records -- an overwhelming 80 percent of

        respondents saw smart cards as "very" or "extremely" useful. Only

        one percent of those surveyed would choose to use a government-

        provided ID card.


        Richard Snook, chief executive officer of Bull Information Systems,

        said that the company is poised to be a major provider of electronic

        services both to the public and private sectors in the emerging

        information age. "The importance of our research is that it is the

        first definitive view of what the public thinks about interacting

        electronically with government," he said. "It is clear that, despite

        an increasing comfort factor with technology and the efficiencies

        associated with this, people still want human contact."


        According to Snook, while the public has recognized the value of

        having a central point of information, there is a range of security

        and privacy issues associated with this that must be resolved.


        "The report not only gives a fascinating insight into attitudes

        towards the information revolution, but also is critical reading for

        anyone wishing to do business with, or interact with, the public now

        and in the future," he explained.


        (19970409/Press & Reader Contact: Amanda Purdie, Bull UK Press

        Office +44-181-479-2751/Reported By Newsbytes News Network:




        Copyright 1997 The Newsbytes News Network. All rights reserved.