So, the government wants to go paperless. That is, if they still remain in office. Having said that, they have put the pressure on the next government (whatever it may be) to either scrap the idea or to push forward. There will be criticism regardless, just as there is now.
I’ve read some of the arguments. Pros: saves paper, saves money. Cons: more vulnerable people lack access (the pros argue that they will set up centres to help with this), some people refuse to use the internet (no help there, except that they will be forced to use it), loss of jobs results in loss of income for the government (pros will argue that the savings will make up for it).
Of course, going online will take time and money to get started, so we shouldn’t get overexcited yet.
Yes, I do like the idea of making things easier when dealing with government offices. I have already seen government inefficiencies and can see the advantages of going paperless in some instances. However, I do share the concerns about everything going on the internet.
Fraud is the biggest concern, and I really don’t need to go into details about how that can be accomplished on the net. I was caught recently in a virus scam and I can easily see how going paperless will result in this happening even more. Furthermore, fraudulent claims, especially for benefits will not be picked up so easily. There will still need to be some human contact. There still needs to be some face-to-face interviews and identity checks. They should try to make those as painless as possible. I’ve been to some that have been completely convoluted.
Perhaps one of my biggest concerns is the lack of human contact. Already, I hate the automated messages and FAQs that don’t answer your specific questions. Not that human contact is the answer to that particular problem, knowing as I do that the most intelligent person is usually not the one left answering the phones. But it helps to put a complicated question to a person rather than to a robot. If they go paperless, they’ll probably start to go telephone-less as well, since they won’t need people to sit in offices. (That’s a loss of revenues to BT, but they’ll make up for it on the broadband side.)