Re-introducing trust in government
So what has government got to do with this, you may ask (apart from nudging the regulator to avoid a 21st-century equivalent of the tulip fever crash of 1637)? Consider that, in 2017, government was the least-trusted institution in half of the 28 countries surveyed by Edelman as part of its annual global trust barometer. In the UK, only 26% of the population trust the government, and the trend is worsening.
Could blockchain re-establish the trust capital between citizen and state?
I have written before (admittedly in French) on BVEx about the comparative citizen experience of filling one’s online tax return in France and in the UK. Reform’s rationale is UK-centric and picks up on the tedium of filling in different e-forms for the DVLA, HMRC, DWP and the Home Office with essentially the same personal data. Reading the iTunes user reviews (average rating 1.2 out of 5) for the Experian Identity Service, one of the GOV.uk Verify partners, one gets the sense that current efforts to spin up a trusted third party to manage citizen data are not quite there.
Things can only get better, as D:Ream would say if it were 1994
Don’t get me wrong, I believe the online tax disc renewal process is a thing of unimaginable simplicity – connecting in a few seconds insurance companies, DVLA and garage-generated MOT data. It does beat going to the post office with scraps of paper in the rain. And TechMarketView’s Richard Holway recently praised the speed of his passport renewal.
So, taken individually, these citizen processes have improved immensely, and have no doubt generated substantial savings for each of the agencies concerned. But they still operate as a disjointed system, with multiple public service identities maintained in disparate government databases.
What Reform is highlighting is that blockchain can deliver a single identity, controlled by the citizen in question, you or me. The distributed ledger technology ensures security and government departments are peers in the network.
Estonia is often quoted as leading the path in digital government services globally, connecting diverse ministries’ data sets together. If we can beat them at the Eurovision song contest, surely HM Government can in cyberspace too.
Author: Vincent Rousselet
Vincent is founder and MD of V Rousselet & Associates. With more than 20 years of strategic and operational marketing experience, predominantly in IT and telecommunications, he is an experienced global marketer and strategist who has worked with some of the world’s most recognizable organizations and brands in Europe, America and Asia. Vincent is passionate about customers, who must be at the heart of strategy and transformation.