Delaware portal revamped

Delaware has unveiled a new one-stop Web site as a first step toward reinventing government operations and services.

Like other states that have revamped their Web sites in recent months, Delaware (www.delaware.gov) takes the "portal" approach — one that is more citizen-focused and intentions-based.

The government signed an 18-month, $3.5 million contract with Accenture in December, and work on the site began in mid-January when Gov. Ruth Ann Minner issued Executive Order No. 9, said Michelle Reardon, a spokeswoman for the governor.

The executive order created an e-government steering committee headed by the state treasurer, Jack Markell. He said the committee would provide a higher level of technology standards and structure for agencies to follow when creating Internet content and applications.

"We want to make [the portal] so people don't have to understand how the bureaucracy is organized," he said. "We don't want to have them navigate through state agencies. This is really a first step in terms of revolutionizing the delivery of state services."

This month, a new Department of Motor Vehicles Web site will be unveiled, but Markell said transactional services, such as online vehicle registration, won't happen immediately. Although citizens can now perform some transactions online, such as filing personal and business tax returns, agencies are expected to make "compelling business cases" for transactional components before any money is spent.

Markell said public expectations for online services are "ramping up dramatically" and "it's incumbent on government to follow suit, and that's what Delaware is doing." But like many states, Delaware is experiencing budget constraints, and officials will look carefully before spending money in order to maximize returns on e-government services.

Markell plans to meet with Delaware residents and visitors to get feedback on the new portal.

Yahoo software allows users to personalize the portal. The site also complies with guidelines for making Web sites accessible to people with disabilities.

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