Recession will drive more Government services online

20 Feb 2009

The Irish people voted the online TV licence facility as their favourite e-government service last night at the e-Government Awards 2009.

The organisers of the awards said that the recession should be used by Government departments as an opportunity to look at ways of driving savings with in their own organisations.

Delivering education online, for example, can be up to 40pc cheaper than educating people in a classroom demonstrating again the truly significant savings that can be made by driving more and more government services online, according to Maeve Kneafsey, managing director of online strategy and marketing company, Elucidate which co-hosts Ireland’s eGovernment Awards.

“E-government, which includes e-learning, really comes into its own during a time when budgets are tight as it can mean a dramatic cut in the cost of delivering services to the citizen. It can also play a significant role in speeding up our transformation to a knowledge economy,” Kneafsey said.

“Today’s winners show how far eGovernment has come and the tremendous ability it has to deliver vital cost savings and efficiencies within the wider public service across the island. The range of online services is growing every year and includes the less known services such as the online livestock mart service from the Dept of Agriculture that has replaced a slow cumbersome system with a live web recording of animal movements.

“This prevents the sale of animals that have not been registered with the Department or from herds that do not comply with veterinary/disease test requirements. The speed and responsiveness allowed by this web enabled service to the Department is critical in helping prevent problems that might impact on the agriculture sector and its reputation outside and inside Ireland,” Kneafsey.

The overall winner, South Dublin County Council – Digital Book Service, also provides a online service whereby you can sign up to the library service and download audio books as well as reserve books online, providing direct access to the world of books to those with visual or literacy problems from their own home or office. The planning and negotiation needed by those running this project, to secure the rights to provide audio books is both innovative and visionary.

For the first time this year the public have voted for the most popular online government service, and the winner this year, the online TV licence service, illustrates the publics appreciate of the self-service model when it interacts with government ”

“The quality of entries this year has been truly remarkable and I would like to congratulate all of the 2009 award winners,” said Cathal Magee, managing director of Eircom Retail.

The Overall Winner of Ireland’s eGovernment Awards 2009 was South Dublin County Council’s Digital Book Service.

Ireland’s Accessible eGovernment Award went to the Department. of Social and Family Affairs’ Redesign Project

And the Central eGovernment Award went to the Dept. of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – Livestock Marts Online Project 

Ireland’s Cross Agency eGovernment Award went to the Irish Spatial Data Exchange Programme (, while the Education eGovernment Award went to the Higher Education Authority’s

Meath County Council & NUI Maynooth picked up the Irish Language eGovernment Award for their Online Irish language Programme.

Other award winners include South Dublin County Council’s Digital Book service which also won the Local Government Award, ESB’s Cul Green initiative picked up the Marketing Award, the National Tourism Development Authority and Fáilte Ireland won the Project Management Award for their eBusiness support initiative for tourism SMEs,  andAn Post the State Body Award for its service.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years