WATCH: Smart Guernsey to bring more States services online
ISLANDERS will soon be able to access more States services online with the launch of Smart Guernsey.
The initiative is the result of the States working with digital specialists Agilisys to use technology to transform the way services are delivered.
The States signed a 10-year contract with the company at the end of last year and Smart Guernsey forms part of the overall 10-year public service reform programme.
States chief executive Paul Whitfield announced the initiative at the first Chamber of Commerce lecture lunch of the year yesterday and told the audience that it was aimed at everyone, islanders and businesses alike.
‘Businesses want effective and efficient government; they want our services to be joined together; they want costs to be reduced and quality to be consistent and high; they want us to provide the flexibility that digitisation brings,’ he said.
‘That is what Smart Guernsey will deliver.’
Islanders will already have seen some changes and a pilot offering online medical exemption certificates has been running since December. It has already seen 100 certificates issued.
Unemployment benefit will be the next Employment and Social Security service to appear, allowing potential claimants to check their eligibility online before putting in an electronic application. This is set to go live next month.
An enhanced corporate tax return process is currently being tested and developed and the plan is for it to be up and running by the end of January.
Longer term, the goal is to provide a single sign-on portal for everyone and the design, definition and scoping work for this project, My.Gov, will begin in the next couple of weeks. It will allow businesses and individuals to see all of their interactions with the States in one place ‘and in doing so the requirements for an online payments solution, a roadmap of prioritised developments, will be created, enabling a wide variety of online resources to be delivered on the States’ enterprise digital platform,’ said Mr Whitfield.
There will also be a platform where people can put in applications for planning and building licences (targeted for release towards the end of this year) and early next year drivers will be able to go online to renew their licence, update or amend any personal details and change the registration of vehicles.
Agilisys Guernsey chief executive Richard Hanrahan also spoke at the meeting and praised Guernsey States’ IT staff for their work in getting the project up and running: ‘Now we’re going on a transformational journey,’ he said.
Addressing the publicised cost of the States’ deal with Agilisys, £200m., he said that did not mean there was a ‘magic money tree’ in Guernsey and this was not the States finding a ‘new’ £200m.: ‘The States said “we have a budget and your challenge as provider is to deliver us better services at a lower cost than we’re currently paying”,’ he said. About half of this amount would go back into the supply chain, flowing into the local economy, while about £27m. would go on transformation and modernisation.
‘There’s lots to do and work is well under way. We’re confident that, in the coming months and years, islanders will really feel the improvements Smart Guernsey will bring.’
- Comment on Page 16 of today's Guernsey Press.