New government service delivery models based on a “franchise” metaphor are being proposed recently to allow more citizen-centric service delivery by decoupling the government’s internal departmental structure from the way services are presented and delivered to citizens. In order to evaluate the approach from an online channel perspective, the Queensland Government commissioned a market research study to compare their websites with the online presences of the UK Government and the South Australian Government, who both have adopted the “franchise” approach. The study aimed to inform an understanding of citizens’ preferred model for interacting in the online channel and to identify the relative strengths and weaknesses of the existing websites. In this paper, we will a) report on the findings of this third party usability study and b) position the study, in the form of a critical reflection, against the background of a more comprehensive “Transformational Government” approach using a “franchise marketplace”. The critical reflection points towards limitations of the study with regard to this bigger picture and discusses the potential benefits of service bundling that remained unconsidered in the study.


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