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UK Government: The future of the internet revealed - survey reveals Nation's wish list for online services
[June 06, 2007]

UK Government: The future of the internet revealed - survey reveals Nation's wish list for online services

(M2 PressWIRE Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)

Reporting crime and bad drivers, having job interviews, calculating
carbon emissions and truancy alerts for parents are just some of the
services that Britons long to have access to online, according to
research released today. The national study* commissioned by public
services supersite questioned parents,
teenagers, over 50s, motorists and disabled people.

When asked what one online service they want from the internet in
future the top answers were:

* 'No show' truancy alert if child doesn't arrive at school - Parents

* Taking a virtual tour of colleges or universities - 14-18 year olds

* Guide to local services for older people - over 50s

* Renew car tax online - Motorists

* Personalised journey planners mapped by accessibility - Disabled

Parents - the virtual school Parents revealed that they want to get
more involved with their children's education, with a quarter most
wanting to receive immediate online alerts if their child hasn't turned
up for registration. In separate focus group sessions**, parents said
they want to use online technology to support their child's learning,
such as being able to play back school lessons to help with homework.

Almost one in 10 parents most want to have a bigger say in how their
child's school is run, such as by taking part in online PTA meetings
and one in 12 want to view the school's disciplinary record on the web.
Tracking children's movements outside of school as a safety measure
emerged as a key theme, with some even suggesting children should be
fitted with a transmitter monitored by their parents!

Young people - planning for the future

Young people may have a reputation for gaming and chatting online, but
the study revealed that 14-18 year olds actually want to be able to use
the internet as a tool to improve themselves. When asked what service
they most want from the internet in future, almost a fifth said they'd
like to be able to take virtual tours of colleges and universities and
this same figure most want to be able to have virtual driving lessons.

One in eight want to be able to ditch the traditional Saturday job to
earn money online using their skills and one in 10, rising to one in
six boys, most wanted to be able to learn trade skills such as
mechanics or plumbing to help gain qualifications.

Over 50s - staying connected

One in five over 50s most desire a guide to local services for their
age group, including transport, leisure, learning and health, while one
in six most want to stay in better touch with friends and family via
webcams and video conferencing. Planning for retirement, tracking
pensions and making money online also featured highly.

Interestingly, some of the services most desired by the over 50s
already exist or will be available in the near future on websites such
as This, coupled with the fact that only 48%
of over 50s feel the internet has made their life better compared with
the national average of 68%, suggests that this generation may be
failing to take advantage of the web.

Motorists - responsible driving

For motorists, services which would save them time and make them a more
responsible driver are a top priority. Over one in five most want to be
able to renew their car tax online, one in 10 want to put their car
through a virtual MOT and the same number want to renew their driving
licence online. One in eight want to access their car's history and one
in 10 want to be able to get insurance quotes for an accident online.
With a growing environmental consciousness, one in seven drivers most
want to be able to calculate the exact carbon emissions of their car
and the youngest motorists seem keenest to report a bad driver (15% of
18-24 year olds).

Disabled people - passport to freedom

For disabled people the most desired future services are those which
could allow them more time and freedom. One in 10 (one in five drivers)
most want the ability to plan journeys with accessibility mapped out
according to their requirements and over one in 10 want check-ups
online by 'virtual medics'. A further one in 10 (one in five parents)
want to meet more people with their condition online and one in seven
35-44 year olds most want to be able to have face-to-face meetings such
as job interviews or benefit claims renewals online.

But what do people think are the most useful services that are
currently offered online? Unsurprisingly the responses differed greatly
across the groups.

Access to local health services and getting information about schools
are most valuable for UK parents while teenagers rely on services where
they can communicate with friends such as social networking sites and
instant messaging.

Staying connected was also most valued by the older generation who rely
on the web to keep in touch with friends and family, as well as using
it to book travel or research hobbies. Disabled people most value being
able to find Blue Badge parking spaces before leaving the house, and
motorists find route planning the most useful service.

Spencer Kelly of the BBC's flagship technology programme, Click, said:
"Internet technology is developing all the time and every group in
society will benefit as its capabilities grow. Although some of the
responses from the study may seem a little farfetched, there is no
reason why you wouldn't be able to have a job interview or a health
check-up online in future - after all, 10 years ago who'd have thought
you would be able to do any of the things we now take for granted at
the click of a button?"

Jayne Nickalls, Chief Executive Officer of Directgov (effective 5th
June 2007), explains the thinking behind the research: "With two thirds
of our sample saying that the internet is invaluable in helping them to
manage their lives, this project helps us to understand what
information people want and scope to out the future of online services.
Although each group has different needs and priorities, some themes did
emerge; staying connected with friends and family, saving time and
hassle by increasingly moving to web-based contact with public services
and tools that enhance life experiences.

"With 60% of respondents saying they want more government services in
one place online, all of the insights we gained will be taken into
consideration as we plan the future of Directgov. The site currently
offers a wide range of services and there's something for everyone,
from advice on schools, applying for a driving license and finding a
job, to understanding benefits rights, planning a journey and finding
out about local recycling schemes."

Notes to editors

For more information please contact Betty Nwosu, Andrew Gerrard or Emma
Thompson on 020 7025 7540 / 020 7025 7531 / 020 7025 7518 or email
[email protected] / [email protected] /
[email protected]

What parents want from the internet - top 5 responses

1. Immediate online alert if child hasn't turned up at registration

2. View my child's school disciplinary record online

3. Have a say in the running of my child's school e.g. online PTA

4. Track my child's journey to or form school

5. Have a webcam in my child's classroom

What teenagers want from the internet - top 5 responses

1. Take a virtual tour of colleges or universities

2. Have virtual driving lessons

3. Earn money through using your skills online

4. Have job interviews

5. Have school lessons / tutorials

What over 50s want from the internet - top 5 responses

1 Find out about local services aimed at older people

2 Use webcams/video conferencing to stay in touch with friends,

3 Tracking pensions

4 Planning for new life after retirement

5 Be able to use online services regardless of physical situation or

What disabled people want from the internet - top 5 responses

1. Create a complete journey planner mapped by accessibility

2. Have face- to-face check ups

3. Meet people from local disability and other support groups

4. Have face- to-face meetings e.g. job interviews or benefit claim

5. Ask questions and receive verbal information from a digital 'person'

What motorists want from the internet - top 5 responses

1. Renew car tax

2. Calculate carbon emissions and receive personalised advice on
reducing them

3. Check car history

4. Get insurance quotes following an accident

5. Report a bad driver

*ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 2004 adults aged 18+ by
telephone between 25-29 April 2007. Some respondents fitted into a
number of categories. Interviews were conducted across the country and
the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM
Research also interviewed a random, representative sample of 14-18 year
olds by telephone between 25 April-6 May 2007. Results have been
weighted to the profile of all 14-18 year olds. ICM is a member of the
British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at

** Focus group research undertaken in partnership with Henley Centre -
Headlight Vision, during April and May 2007

About Directgov

Directgov, the government's flagship digital service brings together
the widest range of public service information and services in one
place; available on mobile, digital television and the website Directgov is the largest cross government
initiative, joining up central and local government's service delivery,
in a way that is easy to use and all in one place for citizens.

Launched in April 2004, Directgov now attracts more than 4 million
visits a month.

The site also provides access to government directories, as well as
links to relevant third parties who can offer additional trusted advice
and support.

((M2 Communications Ltd disclaims all liability for information
provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties.
Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at on the world wide web. Inquiries to
[email protected])).

Copyright 2007 M2 Communications Ltd.

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