Since the inception of Gov2.0, there have been several government agencies, some local some state and some federal that have assimilated beautifully into an online presence that serves the people. There are some, yes, which haven’t quite met the mark but overall it is a fairly positive experience towards making government more accessible and transparent.
A good part of the population believes the government attempt to keep up with technology has failed miserably, and in some cases. Well let’s just say it needs some work, but overall these sites have made it easier to get the benefits, the interactions and perform transactions with the government than ever before.
MVD or DMV
This is one of the best improvements on accessibility to the people. Pretty much anyone who has ever had to go to the DMV for anything can attest to the long wait times, long lines, and pretty much it taking a better part of the day. That much hasn’t really changed but there are quite a few things you can now do online through your state DMV site that make the whole process as quick as a push of a button.
Things like registration renewals, updating contact information, to name a couple, plus there is all the information you need to know about owning and operation a vehicle on your state, drivers license requirements and so much more. Every DMV site I have visited is easy to navigate, transactions are seamless, contact information is not hard to find, and some even show you the wait times on offices around town in case you do have to visit the actual office.
IRS – The dreaded IRS. Did you cringe when you read it? Well the IRS has come a long way in not being the bad guy in the office, up there, or over there who descends on us at tax time without so much as a – good day. While it took a little while to make the site not such a clunker in terms of ease to get around and what you could or couldn’t do on it, it is now a wealth of information with forms for taxes that once upon a time we had to pick up post offices or office supply stores. They have also made taxes a lot easier by offering e-filing, and those getting a return can check on the status of their money everyday if they like. I don’t think there is much that can change the overall general idea of the IRS being, big, scary, unapproachable, that sort of thing, after all they have a long history of being so. Their online presence is much more appealing for them as well as makes them less scary for the people to interact with them as a bureaucracy.
Taking cares of thousands of veterans, the Veterans administration has always been known as a difficult and time-consuming process. With the changes in technology and government working towards being out there for the people, the VA has put up a site that is user friendly, has places to read all about benefits, apply for benefits and even manage your health care and refill your prescriptions online. In Healthcare, they have added a secure messaging system in order for Vets to reach their providers in a way that is encrypted and like your health records, within the VA system itself. This has changed the ability of vets to get appointments quickly and interact with their providers personally, avoiding long phone delays.
We can’t talk about government successes to be more accessible and transparent, without mentioning the one big bomb, that really is what gives most people a bad taste in their mouth for the Federal government using the Internet.
The website for the recent switch over in health care from private to more governmental, as well as now required insurance, was a good example of the care that needs to be taken in making these policy shifts happen digitally. It was poorly planned and executed, the technology was not up to date and as most of us, especially those of trying to sign into it when it was up know, it broke the internet and never really recovered in time.
There is a lot to be learned from that tank. Hopefully, it will just mean moving forward with a better plan and showing the people that the government is willing to be flexible and really is for the people too.