The Malta Information Technology Agency recently launched the new myAlerts service, which further improves upon government's online service provision. Through this new service, users of e-government will receive notifications about updates and developments, while on the move.

Through the new myAlerts system, users can now receive e-mail and SMS notifications about various public services that are of particular interest to them. The services currently enabled through the system include updates on children's allowances, passport renewal reminders, the Valletta CVA, Gozo Channel, public procurement, Enemalta planned power suspensions and scholarships offered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Derrick Pisani, manager e-government programme at MITA said: "The need for this type of notification system was driven by the belief that online government services need to be as inclusive as possible. While internet penetration is relatively high, users are not necessarily able to constantly check for updates on the web. The myAlerts application addresses this issue by enabling government to reach out to a broader cross-section of the community and offering to notify users of any updates which are of particular interest to them through their medium of choice."

Currently, over 70 e-government services are fully available online, and records show that the most frequently used services are business-related.

"In 2008, over 60 per cent of local employers submitted their employees' social security declarations online, while over 80 per cent of businesses completed their corporate tax return online", revealed Mr Pisani.

Encouraged by the efficiency gains experienced in areas where there has been a strong uptake of online services, government is committed, in the coming years, to offer all public services electronically through the web portal MITA is currently in the process of procuring a new system which will allow the rapid deployment of services based on electronic forms, called myForms.

Automated workflows will allow information submitted electronically by an applicant to flow seamlessly between departments and thus facilitate government's ability to guarantee a highly efficient public service.

While MITA believes that the myAlerts application is certainly a step towards making e-government more convenient and accessible, it is not the only initiative that aims to improve the Agency's commitment towards user centricity. Two online surveys to gauge customer satisfaction are also currently underway.

The surveys were launched with the intent of analysing customer satisfaction levels and to gauge to what extent e-government services are fulfilling the needs and expectations of users. The surveys can be completed by both registered users as well as those who have never used an e-government service. The results will then be compiled and analysed, feeding in to the long-term strategy for the improvement and development of government's online services facilities.

The myAlerts initiative and all projects falling under the e-government programme form part and parcel of the government's aim to consolidate Malta's position as a leader in the application of Information and Communication Technologies to drive public service transformation.

As Mr Pisani points out: "The government is continually investing in the ICT sector and major projects like myForms will help ensure Malta's ability to offer a highly available, sophisticated electronic government. The application of technology to make public services more effective and efficient is part of the big plan to make Malta ever more competitive as a business destination."