Rate Your Local Police Online

March 11, 2009
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If British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has his way, every citizen in England this summer will be able to rate councils, police, childcare services, and public service delivery functions–online.
Kudos!
The BBC reported last night that Brown is frustrated private sector websites are unlike TripAdvisor and eBay, which enable anyone to rate properties and transactions. But it […]


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British PM Gordon Brown speaks to Congress in Washington

If British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has his way, every citizen in England this summer will be able to rate councils, police, childcare services, and public service delivery functions–online.

Kudos!

The BBC reported last night that Brown is frustrated private sector websites are unlike TripAdvisor and eBay, which enable anyone to rate properties and transactions. But it isn’t possible with government services, quoting Brown said the government is “much too slow to make use of the enormous democratising power of information.”

Observing the Obama Administration rolling out new websites and new contact forms, I see the content is the same drab boringness:

  • HealthReform.gov allows you to fill in your email address and write to your heart’s content, complaining or suggesting ways to improve services.
  • Recovery.gov asks for more required fields, but otherwise offers the same ability to provide feedback on how government spending is helping the economy.
  • WhiteHouse.gov has yet another standard contact form, if you opt to email the President.

What if the US could be more like Britain–or at least like eBay? Or, does the President have any tricks up his sleeve to enable citizen feedback in the form of ratings and reviews, not mere contact forms?

Hat tip to British blogger Paul Evans for the BBC link. Perhaps he says it best about rating the reputation of government “to break out of the cycle in which one bad news story about a council on a national news medium can trump all of one’s experience of local services.”


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