The 'citizens' who feature in the title of this book are so described because the author's primary focus is on how public services can become more productive by using technology and on how governments and public bodies can thus provide a better service to them. The issues for suppliers and service providers - public or private - are similar and have much to do with changes in public attitudes and behaviour, largely due to the empowering nature of the internet, the demand for more personalized services and the increasing lack of deference in society. Considering the chequered history of the use of information technology by governments, Christopher Exeter argues that the likely future for IT in delivering public services has more to do with psychology and sociology, than with hardware or software. Borders are increasingly becoming purely a construct of government. The internet has already opened up a world of new experiences where customers can purchase different, cheaper goods or services from other countries, manage their financial affairs, and plan journeys in ways hitherto impossible. Citizens or customers can effectively 'opt out' if suppliers in the public or in other sectors cling to traditional and now inappropriate methods. Based on the author's extensive research and 'hands on' involvement, and illuminated with case studies and interviews with key figures from government and industry, this book provides academics, public policy makers, business people and those looking at future investments with a thorough analysis of the nature of emerging new relationships and with some stimulating future scenarios to consider.
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