on Jan 14th, 2013 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 6 comments
 

Even with smartphones, high-speed Internet, and other modern technologies, Americans spend an inordinate amount of time running errands. Interacting and conducting business with our government is no exception. It can be time-consuming. Wouldn’t it be great to use the local Post Office as a one-stop center for doing business with government? Or, what if the U.S. Postal Service had a digital platform to access government services or information online? Last week, the OIG released a white paper called "e-Government and the Postal Service — A Conduit to Help Government Meet Citizens’ Needs.” The paper identifies opportunities for the Postal Service to partner with other agencies to better connect with citizens, improve services, cut costs, and reduce duplicative and wasteful services. By providing e-government services, the Postal Service could help the government save money. There has never been a better time to do more with less. Through the Postal Service, individuals could send secure messages to government agencies, convert physical documents to digital records and send them instantly, apply and pay for permits and licenses, and access other crucial services. The Postal Service could also verify a person’s identity for sensitive or complex transactions. In addition, the Postal Service could lease unused Post Office window space to other agencies, so citizens could have a convenient access point for face-to-face services across the government. Business owners could use the Postal Service to look up information on regulations and laws affecting them, learn about federal small business loan opportunities, file information with the IRS and other relevant agencies, and submit all necessary forms and documentation through the Postal Service’s secure messaging and identity authentication services. Or, these things could be done in one visit to the Post Office, rather than separate stops to numerous agencies. Do you think the Postal Service could serve as a one-stop shop for government services?

Comments

People can send documents digitally and securely through a email or fax system

Secure digital documents sent via email or fax should be a product available through USPS.

I find this idea incredibly interesting.
Though out government already has many services available online, there are some which would be better in a setting like this, plus some people still don't have reliable internet access or even a computer (especially in rural areas or with senior citizens).
I think the better option would be to create locations which provide both federal and state services in one place. To have services like a Post Office, a state's Secretary of State, easy availability of numerous government forms, as well as more all in one location would be great.

Any servics that the postal service can provide it's customers that brings in more money, we should consider.

I think this would be a great idea/opportunity for the Postal Service. Agencies are already moving toward e-Gov as a way to serve citizens better. But each agency has its own building, website and login information. Partnership with USPS would further this goal of better serving citizens even further. What a service it would be if there was one secure and trusted website, with one set of login information, which provided access to a number of important government services. What a service it would be if you could fill out your form and take it down to the post office to verify your identity rather than trying to find a local SSA or VA building. USPS already has a great partnership with the State Department. I can’t even imagine how complicated it would be (or where you would even go) to get a passport if you couldn’t get it at the post office. The idea of secure digital messaging is a logical service for USPS as they have already been reliably handling secure messaging in the physical world for over 200 years, and it is time for the Postal Service to be an active player in the digital sphere. In-person identity verification also seems like a service USPS could easily offer. And, like stated in a comment above, any opportunity for the Postal Service to earn money (and increase their value as a public service) should seriously be considered.

I THINK THE POSTAL SERVICE SHOULD TRY AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A REVENUE PRODUCING OPPORTUNITY, BY BEING A COMMUNICATIONS PORTAL TO HELP FACILITATE THE APPLICATIONS OF THE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE ACT. DUE TO THE ELECTRONICAL/DIGITAL HURDLES THAT IS BEING EXPERIENCED NOW. I BELEIVE THAT THE MAIL MEDIUM WOULD BE A VIABLE AND RELIABLE MEANS TO GET APPLICANTS COVERTED IN REGARDS TO THE NEW HEALTH CARE LAW. THE GOVERMENT CAN USE THE USPS MAIL STREAM TO SEND MASS MAILINGS REGARDING REQUIREMENTS AND ANY OTHER PERTINENT INFORMATION INCLUDING SIGN UP FORMS.

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