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Article Commentary: Digitization Makes Government Services Equitable




I recently read an article published by GovTech about a conversation at CodeForAmerica’s FormFest.Here’s the critical part:


“Code for America CEO Amanda Renteria told Government Technology that digital forms make government more accessible because “they’re the front door” to many government services.”


Accordingly, the digitization of government services provides three main benefits:


  • A better resident experience is achieved through web forms with clear, concise directions.

  • Provide inclusivity of services; Some residents may need more access to transportation or even a printer.

  • Cost savings won by replacing paper-based, manual processes and offering front-line counter service.


Renteria adds that Forms (products like Laserfiche) are agile technology that can be changed and updated when necessary. Processes are sometimes complex to change, and organizations should look for efficiencies beyond replicating the paper flow.


The first success story cited is about the City of Seattle. Residents did not want to retype the same metadata repeatably across forms for various programs. The city adopted a low/code approach to citizen services and worked with Google to build forms. “Since the June 2021 launch of the pilot, the city has received 14,000 applications to city benefit programs using CiviForm, with 19 percent reusing their information to apply to two or more programs.”


The City of Syracuse was the second city that deployed forms equitably. The municipality sought to tie new vendor registration with minority and women-owned business certification programs. “The paper-based application was a lengthy 18 pages long and posed a barrier for some. The city conducted vendor interviews and surveys, involving user testing and empathy mapping — a way to synthesize data from different perspectives in the decision-making process — before finally launching the new digitized process.”


The last agency case explored was Sonoma County. Sonoma has some experience transforming paper-based workflows to digital ones and then studying the new ones to ensure that digitization is genuinely efficient. They noted, “that once a process has been digitized, the data is more easily accessible to the county, which is important in understanding potential areas of improvement from a diversity, equity, and inclusion perspective.”


These success stories can be replicated at your agency using Laserfiche Forms and CPS’s workflow know-how! If you are interested in learning more, please contact us!

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