How to create an inventory of your government services

Posted on November 22, 2023

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People come to your website to accomplish tasks. They want or need to do something. This means interacting with your digital government services.

Some of your services are digital government services. Some are in-person and many are somewhere in between. Regardless, people should be able to find out about all of your services on your City website.

What is a government service?

A service helps someone do something.

“Someone” is usually a member of the community, like a resident or business owner.

A service:

  • Sometimes includes multiple steps and departments
  • Has a desired outcome for the organization, such as meeting a goal
  • Sometimes has a cost, sometimes are free

How to create an inventory

Create a list of your services with this information:

  • Service name
  • Who needs it and why
  • Supporting tools and information
  • Goals and desired outcomes

Service name

It helps to name your service with a verb, like:

  • Find a City job
  • Pay your property tax
  • Start a business
  • Host a short-term rental
  • Pay a parking ticket

Who needs it and why

It’s important to understand who your key audiences are and why they need the service.

While many of your services are available to everyone or a variety of people, it’s a good exercise to identify who you expect to use the service. This will help you tailor content for different groups.

Understanding audiences and motivations helps you create content that helps people:

  • Know if they are eligible
  • Know if they need to do something
  • Understand benefits
  • Avoid penalties

Supporting tools and information

Most services have related content that helps people understand detailed rules, costs, or criteria. For each service, you should list these items.

This might include things like:

  • Forms or applications
  • Online payment portals
  • Permitting or licensing systems
  • Maps
  • Parcel number lookup tools
  • Ordinances or codes

Goals and desired outcomes

Government services are typically tied to departmental or organizational goals with desired outcomes. Understanding the why behind the services helps connect them to your mission and explain their purpose.

For example:

  • Getting a building permit helps make sure a construction project is safe
  • Paying your water bill helps keep drinking water clean
  • Starting a business helps grow the local economy

Use our services worksheet

Our services worksheet (Google doc) will help you identify:

  • Services (like getting a permit or becoming a vendor for the government)
  • Information and tools that support them (like program rules or a checklist)

To use this worksheet, select Make a copy in the File menu.

Turn services into actions

A service helps someone do something, so your website content should support that. For each service, or subtask to a service, use an action page to help people complete the task.


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