The Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion, Chapter 12: General Government Services

The Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion is the product of a collaboration commissioned by the National Urban League. ITIF contributed analysis and recommendations to make government more effective in using digital tools to deliver public services to low-income and communities of color.

Digital equity and inclusion requires all Americans to have networks available to their communities, the means to afford broadband and the skills necessary to use it. But it also requires that those providing services to low-income and communities of color also have the necessary digital tools to provide those services in an effective manner. There are a myriad of ways that government could be more effective in delivering such services but, unfortunately, many government IT systems are outdated, government budgets are constrained in upgrading and maintaining digital infrastructure, government agencies do not face competitive pressures that force private sector actors to stay on the cutting of digital services and to prioritize citizen-centric experiences.

We should have our government institutions improve their online services to offer solutions on par with the best private sector actors, where competition drives continuous innovation. The government should take advantage of digital technology to make it easier for all persons, but particularly those from low-income communities and communities of color, to understand and benefit from the full range of government services, interact with those services, such as in making or receiving payments, and in enabling non-government organizations to assist Americans receive the help they need. The government should also collect data that fairly represents the activity of all Americans, not just those currently online.

Goals

  • Surveys should reflect that Americans are as satisfied with their interactions with government digital interactions as they are with the best private sector actors.
  • In order to improve usability and measure use, by the end of 2021, all federal and most state and local government agencies should monitor and report metrics about their website performance to a public dashboard.
  • By the end of 2022, interactions with federal government websites should be as easy to do on a mobile device as on laptop.
  • By the end of 2022, all government forms should be able to be accessed and filled out online.
  • The government should end the data divide by collecting data that fairly reflects the activity of all Americans, not just those currently online.