June 02, 2004

Utah 2004 CIO Awards

Gov. Olene Walker recently recognized the state's 2004 Governor's Chief Information Officer Award winners for outstanding accomplishments in e-government initiatives by state agencies, local government agencies and private sector partners.

Government Technology reports the following Chief Information Officer Award winners, by category:

Digital Democracy Award

Office of Legislative Research and General Council -- online RSS tracking of legislation. You can subscribe to the RSS feed using any number of RSS news aggregators (readers). Using the bill tracker, you can create a customer list of bills to track and then subscribe to the RSS to get updates. You can also track legislative committee actions using a second RSS feed.

Customizing Payment Services for Businesses and Citizens Award

Utah Tax Commission -- TaxExpress and PaymentExpress. TaxExpress is a free and easy way for individual to file their Utah income tax. In 2003, the service was expanded to allow more taxpayers to use this service. About half of those who have to file a state income tax return qualify to use TaxExpress.

For other tax payments, the Utah Tax Commission provides PaymentExpress, which allows Utah taxpayers to pay tax liabilities from a variety of payment documents such as returns, billing notices and payment agreements. There are 26 types of taxes that can be paid.

Public/Private Partnership to Increase Access to Government Award

Information Technology Services, Dept. of Administrative Services and Utah Interactive, Inc. -- 24/7 Live Online Help and Utah.gov. Utah is the first state to provide 24/7 live online reference help throughout the state portal. Because of features like 24/7 live help and a redesign of Utah.gov, Utah was awarded first place in Best of the Web by the Center for Digital Government. Utah.gov provides easy access and easy navigation to services and information from state agencies.

Outstanding Customer Service Award

Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Department of Health -- Secure Internet Link for Vital Records (SILVER). Citizens can go online to order certified copies of records of birth, death, marriage or divorce using the services provided by the Office of Vital Records and Statistics.

Outstanding Online Application for Service to Business Award

Division of Corporations and Commercial Code, Dept. of Commerce -- online UCC filing. UCC filing online ensures proper recording of debtors, secured parties and collateral description in "real time." Secured parties can enter the information directly into the database anytime they want.

Leveraging a National Solution Award

Division of Parks and Recreation, Dept. of Natural Resources -- online reservation system. Utahns can now make camping reservations for state parks online. The Dept. of Natural Resources partnered with ReserveAmerica to leverage an already developed national application to include Utah state parks.

Technology in Communications Award

Department of Public Safety -- Amber Alert System for child abduction cases. Once an alert is sent, it is also posted on Utah Department of Transportation automated highway signs and private automated signs. The alert is distributed by a variety of means -- pagers, cell phones, email, computers in police vehicles, etc.

Government Goes eBay Award

Division of Fleet and Surplus Services, Dept. of Administrative Services -- online auction for surplus items.

Outstanding Online Application -- Doing Business with Government Award

Department of Transportation (UDOT) -- electronic bid system for contractors. It provides access to bid details online, allowing contractors to use free UDOT-developed software for bid preparation and online submission.

Outstanding Enterprise Initiative for Services for Citizens

Department of Workforce Services, Department of Health, Department of Human Services, eREP Project Team and Information and Referral Centers -- Utah Cares online directory of health and human services available in Utah. The free tool assists Utahns in identifying needs and potential service providers employing an easy-to-use question and answer format.

Outstanding Enterprise Initiative for New Businesses Award

Department of Workforce Services, Department of Commerce, Tax Commission, Salt Lake City, Sandy City, Provo City and Logan City -- one-stop business registration. This cross-agency partnership involving multiple local, federal and state agencies allows a prospective new business to register and receive the necessary licenses, approvals and ID numbers from one convenient 24/7 online government service location.

Outstanding Enterprise Initiative for Business Award

Department of Community and Economic Development, Department of Commerce, Utah Interactive, Inc., Dept of Workforce Service, Tax Commission, Department of Administrative Services, Small Business Administration and Small Business Development Center -- Web portal Business.utah.gov. This ind-depth one-stop provides the business community with information and services for starting a business, running a business, relocating or closing a business.

Posted by Ray Matthews on June 02, 2004 at 08:14 AM | | Comments (0) | Send this story to a friend!

April 21, 2004

Nominations Sought for 2004 Governor's Medal

Gov. Olene Walker has announced that the Utah State Advisory Council on Science and Technology is accepting nominations for the 2004 annual Governor's Medal for Science and Technology Award. The Governor's Medal is awarded as a symbol of recognition to those individuals who have provided distinguished service to the State of Utah in science and technology.

Nominations can be made in any one of four categories: academic, science education, industry (including independent inventors and entrepreneurs), and government. Any Utah citizen or organization may submit nominations. The team category nominations awarded in past years will no longer be accepted. Nominees must meet a residency of Utah requirement detailed in "Procedures and Criteria for Selection."

The awards recognize individuals who have made a significant impact and contribution to science and technology in the State of Utah. Candidate nominations representing Utah's biotechnology, computer technology and medical technology markets are strongly encouraged, but nominees are
welcomed from any fields of endeavor.

The State Advisory Council on Science and Technology is responsible for administering the award and for recommending nominees to Gov. Walker. A one-page form is all that is needed to initiate a nomination.

Nominees selected from the first round of applications may be asked to submit a more complete application package. The nominations must be sent 5:00 p.m. May 7, 2004 to:

State Science Advisor
Office of Technology and Science/DCED
324 South State, Suite 500
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
FAX (801) 538-8616
Tel. (801) 538-8888
Email: science@utah.gov

CONTACT: Heather Greenwall, (801) 538-8616

Posted by Ray Matthews on April 21, 2004 at 08:26 AM | | Comments (0) | Send this story to a friend!

November 17, 2003

Nominations Open for Digital Government Awards

For the fifth consecutive year, the Accenture and MIT Digital Government Awards are showcasing technology breakthroughs that deliver public sector value in government and higher education. The 2004 Accenture and MIT Digital Government Awards celebrate existing programs and services that:

  • Address a significant problem faced by the organization and user community
  • Show success achieved through increased effectiveness and demonstrable outcomes, and employ specific performance measurements of success
  • Are delivered in a manner that reflects best practices in the areas of project management, systems development methodology, and customer service
  • Demonstrate creative thinking and innovative use of technology to create or increase the performance of programs/services as representative of a high-performance organization

Nominations are due January 10, 2004. To date, Utah has not yet won an award in the state government, local government, higher education, or government prototype categories.

The Digital Government Awards will be presented during the annual FOSE Trade Show, to be held March 23 � 25, 2004, in Washington, D.C.

Posted by Ray Matthews on November 17, 2003 at 02:23 PM | | Comments (0) | Send this story to a friend!

September 25, 2003

Brown University E-Government Ratings

The newly released Urban E-Government, 2003 report from Brown University's Center for Public Policy ranks Salt Lake City 7th in the nation in their analysis of 1,933 city government websites. Salt Lake City ranked 37th in 2002.

Salt Lake City sites received high marks for their low reading level grade (1st place), the high percentage of services executable online, availability of publications and data on all sites, support of secure credit card transactions for most services, and links to security and privacy policies from nearly all pages.

Brown University's State and Federal E-Government study of 1,603 state government websites reports that the State of Utah, as a whole, fell to 17th after placing 10th last year.

Utah ranked highly in providing links to its security and privacy policies. The reviewers found that 97% of agency sites provided publications and 74% provided information in databases. The State ranked poorly, however, in reading level (grade 11.7 or 50th place), accessibility compliance (47th with only 14% of state sites in compliance), and online services (0.7 per website or 46th). The ranking difference between Utah and front-running Massachusetts is primarily because the Commonwealth provides links to their 48 online services in their state header. This is an easy fix that might take Utah Interactive all of about five minutes to put in place (hint, hint).

In terms of federal agencies, top-rated websites include FirstGov (the U.S. portal), Federal Communications Commission, Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Library of Congress, Postal Service, Dept. of Treasury, and Securities and Exchange Commission. The lowest-rated sites are the various federal circuit courts of appeals. The new Homeland Security Department scores in the lower third of federal agencies.

The evaluation paid more attention this year to online services, the handling of privacy and security, and offering disability access.

After reviewing the Center for Public Policy's evaluations, here are some simple suggestions that webmasters can follow to get our state and cities ranked higher next year:

  1. Use the Flesch-Kincaid tests that come with Word and WordPerfect to keep documents to an 8-9th grade reading level
  2. Test your pages periodically with Bobby for W3C and Section 508 accessibility compliance
  3. Provide robust Privacy AND security policies (including policy on sharing personal information), and prominently link them from every page
  4. Continually evaluate and improve performances
  5. Identify your online services, list them (quantity does matter), categorize them, and make them easy to navigate to from the banner headers; for bonus points, include a few novel services
  6. Identify all the forms you have and make sure that all or most can be submitted online
  7. Support SSL and allow citizens to do financial transactions with credit cards (currently 71% for state agencies), and digital signatures (now 0%)
  8. Identify and provide easy access to publications and databases
  9. Provide foreign language features such as "En Espanol" links for all your key services and publications
  10. Lower the gross number and percentages of services that restrict access such as requiring user fees and passwords (Utah is currently in 42nd place with 29% of sites having restrictions)
  11. Go beyond email links (we rank high with 89%) with easy to use comment boxes and alert services to facilitate contact access and public feedback from every page; currently 11% of state sites over comment facilities, 17% offer updating; and 0% offer personalization
  12. Eliminate commercial advertising if you have any
  13. By all means, be sure you have standardized headers, site map, and a site search

    In the "if you can't be 'em, learn from 'em" department, take a look at FirstGov and these five top-ranked cities:

    • Denver recognized for its clear layout and organization with easy navigation to all citizen services;
    • Charlotte with a plethora of fully executable services, a database that allows a user to access property information and demographic information for any address, a noteworthy security policy, and a comments box on every page that sends form data direct to the page author;
    • Boston noted for its uncluttered and aesthetic appearance, information organized into sections for residents, businesses and visitors, and site personalization and email updates;
    • Louisville cited for its easy navigation and compliance to Section 508 and W3C accessibility standards, Secure Sockets Layer protocol to safeguard personal information, and easy to use dropdown menu to city services; and
    • Nashville recognized for its content rich abundance of publications and databases.

    See also: State E-government press release | Urban E-government press release | PDF version of the full State E-Government report | PDF version of the full Urban E-Government report | Govering.com state report | Governing.com city report | Brown Policy Reports archives, 2001-03 | Government Computer News (GCN)

    Posted by Ray_Matthews on September 25, 2003 at 12:02 PM | | Comments (2) | Send this story to a friend!

Utah.gov Ranked #1 in Best of the Web

The Center for Digital Government has given the Utah.gov portal first place in the "state government portal category." The Center's 2003 Best of the Web contest based this award on its innovation, Web-based delivering of government services, efficiency, economy, and functionality for improved citizen access.

Cathilea Robinett, executive director of the Center for Digital Government and a Best of the Web judge for all of its eight years, said "Utah has a beautiful Web site that is easy to navigate and offers a variety of online services. It has a live 24/7 customer-service help function, the most advanced common look-and-feel features in the nation, dynamic content, and a large amount of online services. Utah has historically been a leader in digital government." She added "Capturing first-place in the Best of the Web contest reflects its true commitment to the citizens and businesses of the state."

Congratulations to Utah Interactive and all of those of you involved in producing content and products for the portal.

Press release: http://www.centerdigitalgov.com/center/highlightstory.phtml?docid=69619

View the video of the presentation to Governor Leavitt (RealVideo)

Read more in: Capitol Connections | Governor Mike Leavitt's Press Release | Phil Windley's Enterprise Computing Weblog | Dave Fletcher's Government and Technology Weblog | Deseret Morning News | Dave Fletcher's Utah Headlines | Ted Ritzer's GovIT | Government Technology International

Posted by Ray_Matthews on September 25, 2003 at 08:41 AM | | Comments (0) | Send this story to a friend!

May 16, 2003

UII a Credit to eGovernment

Just like the owner who rewards a successful coach with a contract extension, Government Technology reports that the State of Utah has extended its e-government portal services contract with Utah Interactive, Inc. for another four years. UII, led first by Ric Brown and now by Amy Sawyer, has a stellar record of accomplishments since its launch in 1999.

The Center for Digital Government and The Progress & Freedom Foundation ranked Utah fifth, overall, in its 2000 Digital State Survey up from its overall 12th ranking in 1998, and 25th ranking in 1997.

The Center has ranked Utah seventh in the nation in its eGovernment Services in the last two years, and seventh among all states for sustained eGovernment leadership over the last five years.

Utah Interactive is a wholly owned subsidiary firm of the National Information Consortium (NIC).

Posted by Ray_Matthews on May 16, 2003 at 04:33 PM | | Comments (0) | Send this story to a friend!

May 06, 2003

Web Accessibility Developments

Dave Fletcher reports today in Government and Technology Weblog, that Utah CIO Val Oveson has, in a memo to state agencies, "reconfirmed the State's commitment to website accessability standards. The Utah State Library is supporting the effort by providing third party assessments of agency compliance and training for agency personnel." Lou Reinwand at the State Library is coordinating this Section 508 Compliancy Program and training.

Yesterday, the State Library was contacted by HiSoftware Company regarding possible statewide licensing of AccMonitor Server, AccVerify, and AccRepair desktop client for Utah state agencies. Although we've been reviewing AccMonitor with them since last November, the licensing offer is new. The State of Kentucky, through their Governor's Office for Technology, negotiated a similar deal last month.

Those unaquainted with these products may appreciate two recent reviews appearing in TechRepublic of AccVerify and AccMonitor. HiSoftware has offered to provide a short online demo of these products to the monthly eDG meeting.

The State Library's Section 508 Accessibility Training scheduled for May 13 is being rescheduled because one of our instructors, Colleen Eggett, will be out for the week for her daughter's wedding. Please contact Lou for information about attending future training.

Posted by Ray_Matthews on May 06, 2003 at 03:55 PM | | Comments (0) | Send this story to a friend!

February 21, 2003

New State of Utah Search Engine

The State of Utah portal and all state pages switched the search today to the State Library's UtahGov Search engine. Coincidentally, we were able to resolve the long time issue that has prevented the search engine from displaying gilsUtah metadata fields in the search results.

Posted by Ray_Matthews on February 21, 2003 at 10:02 PM | | Comments (0) | Send this story to a friend!