Sep 14, 2017

3 Ways Posts Can Make Government Easier for Citizens

News Postal

The Governmental Link

Posts have always been intertwined with government. The world’s first Postal service came into existence around 4,400 years ago when royal couriers were hired to disseminate the laws of the Pharaoh-led government throughout Egypt. 

Since 1874 Postal Organizations have been Universal Service Providers with a mandate to serve all citizens, so, according to a report by Oxford Consulting, “many governments have considered [Post offices] a part of the national infrastructure, worthy of considerable investment and support.”

But for Posts to broaden their services in an increasingly digitized society, they need to build on that relationship with government, and make government access easier for citizens.  While there are numerous ways to do this, we have outlined three below that we have found especially successful in Posts.

1 - Extended Front Office

Post offices are still the biggest retail network in most countries around the world. It’s time to leverage that space and make it work harder, especially for citizens.

Jeremy Folkes, the Chief Product Officer at Escher, says one way to make government easier for citizens is that Posts can act as the “front office of government, especially where physical attendance or document presentation or ID checking is needed. Posts can provide governments with a unique ‘front office’ capability to allow local and central governments to reduce costs by outsourcing these expensive front office functions.”

2 - Digital Government Services:  Case Study: An Post (Ireland)

An Post, the state-owned provider of Postal services in the Republic of Ireland, shows us a great example when they implemented a brand-new licensing system that allows citizens to perform digital government services online. The Irish government noticed a trend that citizens want to perform more and more of their interactions with the government online and decided to award a contract to An Post and Escher Group to introduce an Integrated Licensing Application System, or ILAS.

ILAS brings together license applications for businesses across government departments, agencies and licensing authorities so that applicants can find and renew multiple licenses with a single query, and submit with one payment.

For citizens, digital communications, such as email, SMS or push notifications, remind them when they are needed to do something whether to update account balances, technical support requests, status updates or to simply check online whenever they have a question.

From the Posts’ point of view, the digital mail component generates mail items based on configurable workflow-driven business processes, providing citizens with insight and context during the transaction lifecycle, while delivering a set of regulatory services that help to increase quality, effectiveness, and efficiency.

The ILAS system has opened new revenue streams to government agencies as digital-facing citizens enjoy the convenient web-based system, renew licenses following scheduled reminders and become more aware of other related government services.

It’s a way of making Posts more integral to citizen’s everyday life as well as cost-cutting for government. Posts are using their illustrious history in order to position themselves as the link between the government and the citizen. An Post is one example that other Posts could follow.

3 - Trusted Intermediary – Citizen Digital Identification

The growth in eCommerce is something that Posts across the world have welcomed.  The potential for additional growth in this area is staggering. In 2016, $1.9 trillion was spent across the globe in online retail. By 2020, that figure is expected to increase to $4.58 billion – up 141%. If Postal organizations can increase their service levels by implementing speedier and more efficient delivery, then that figure could expand even further.

But just as eCommerce is seeing a significant level of growth, so too is online fraud.  In 2016, there was an estimated $7 billion in online fraud. By 2020 that figure is expected to balloon to $31 billion. The benefits are twofold if Posts can reduce the risk of fraud. Customers will be more likely to participate in eCommerce; Additional parcel deliveries will lead to more revenues.

Posts already play a role in digital identification but this could be a significant growth opportunity for Postal organizations in the future, especially when collaborating with government bodies. Citizens would be more likely to interact with both government and eCommerce if they know that fraud can be avoided.

The GOV.UK Verify system allows users to record their identity at their local Post office and register for government benefits like their tax assessment, their redundancy payments under government schemes, and rural payments for those getting agricultural subsidies from the government.

There are similar schemes across the globe. Canada Post has its Digital Proof of Identity while Swiss Post plans on launching an eID solution in coming months. Such a solution means Posts can leverage their position of trust to enable citizens to deal with government in a far more efficient manner.

Decades of consistent service ensures that Posts will continue to serve governments as both move towards digital transformation.

Do you want to expand your Postal Organization’s integration with government?

We’ve been helping Posts increase their offerings for decades and have an unrivalled track record of success. If you want a way to make citizens’ lives easier while simultaneously increasing the benefits to your organization, get in touch with Escher today.