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Maintenance costs, low take-up rate cited as reasons to close OneInbox, which lets users view govt letters

Five years after it was introduced, a digital mailbox for the public to receive government correspondence is being shut down in June owing to low take-up rate and the costs to maintain it.

Called OneInbox, the service lets Singaporeans sign up for the free digital mailbox to view e-letters from public agencies such as the Central Provident Fund Board, Housing Board and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras). The notices range from GST Voucher letters to Medisave deductions.

OneInbox was said to have cost the Government as much as $5 million to develop. The tender was awarded to local systems integrator CrimsonLogic. The targets were 250,000 users by the first year, and up to 800,000 in the third year.

The Government Technology Agency (GovTech) would not say how many eventually signed up for the service, part of the e-government masterplan, which then included the revamp of the eCitizen portal. But a report in June 2013 said just 3,000 users had signed up.

At the weekend, users received an e-mail about OneInbox's impending closure. "We regret to inform you that this service will end on June 8, 2017, because of low demand and relatively high maintenance costs," the e-mail read.

Affected users will no longer receive digital letters in their OneInbox from Saturday, and hard-copy letters will be sent to their registered mailing address instead.

Users may also view their digital letters by logging in to the individual agencies' websites.

The joint initiative between the Ministry of Finance and GovTech had come about as users had indicated they wanted a central inbox for government letters. To access OneInbox, users log in with their SingPass on the eCitizen website. The OneInbox app is also available for mobile device users.

A GovTech spokesman said the low sign-ups could be due to OneInbox having only one function - viewing letters.

The nine agencies on board - including the Manpower Ministry and Iras - also have their own digital channels for viewing notices, she said.

Discontinuing the OneInbox service "will allow us to channel our resources to develop other citizen- centric services that will better meet public demand", she added.

One bright spark on the eCitizen portal is MyInfo, a digital vault of individuals' personal data, launched in May last year to automate the filling of forms online. It has since attracted 100,000 citizen and permanent resident sign-ups.

Some users were disappointed by the move to axe OneInbox.

Lawyer Rajesh Sreenivasan, 47, said: "With banks and utilities companies all switching to electronic communications, it was a surprise to receive an e-mail informing me that I will be getting hard-copy letters again instead of the previous electronic versions."

Mrs Grace Neo, 42, a Singaporean who lives in Thailand, said she has not missed any important income and property tax notices because of OneInbox.

Director of a Singapore technology firm Lin Yih, 61, uses OneInbox because he had missed a few important letters owing to non-delivery. "I suspect OneInbox is not popular because it is under-promoted," he said.

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  • 250k - Targeted number of users for OneInbox by the first year.
  • 800k - Up to this number of users targeted for OneInbox in the third year.
  • 3k - Number of users who signed up for OneInbox, according to a report in June 2013.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Irene Tham

Quelle/Source: The Straits Times, 06.04.2017

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