Performance is polarizing
The results of the latest eGovernment Benchmark show a cautious acceleration of eGovernment implementation in Europe. The Benchmark evaluates the priority areas of the EU eGovernment Action Plan 2011-2015 and measures the progress on every priority area by one or more indicators, such as the availability and usability of public eServices, the transparency of government authorities’ operations, service delivery procedures, the level of control users have over their personal data, and the availability and usability of cross-border services for citizens and businesses. All benchmarks have progressed over time, and with each biennial measurement all benchmarks made more progress. However, it seems that performance is polarizing, thus creating a widening gap between the best performers within the Digital Diagonal of countries from the South-West to the North-East of Europe and other European countries who show no signs of catching-up.
“On the positive side it can be concluded that a ‘Digital Diagonal’ of countries is pushing Europe forward. This string of countries could inspire other European countries to improve the speed and quality of their online public services. However, we should be careful that pushing does not turn into dragging as the gap with lagging countries is growing faster than is acceptable in a Digital Single Market,” said Niels van der Linden, eGovernment Benchmark Lead at Capgemini.
Seven Life Events: financial eServices and eRegistrations show strongest growth
The Benchmark also monitored seven life events between 2012 and 2015 to measure the progress made in digitizing public services for businesses and citizens. These life events include starting a small claims procedure, regular business operations, studying, moving, starting up a business, owning and driving a car, and losing and finding a job. Research reveals that within these life events, digital financial services (from 50% in 2012/13 to 59% in 2014/15) and electronic registrations (from 42% in 2012/13 to 54% in 2014/15) show the strongest growth. These services can include ‘corporate tax’, ‘VAT claim’ and ‘driving fines’ each of which are characterised as services with a high frequency and a high volume of users. From this point of view, it makes sense these are taken on with priority. Perhaps also because they actually bring in money for the government itself. The latter might explain that even though these services might seem more complex in terms of development, it hasn’t hindered progress.
“Looking back at the past few years, we can say that European digital government services have developed steadily, but we haven’t seen any groundbreaking progress,” said Dinand Tinholt, Vice President and Global EU Account Director at Capgemini. “The priorities in government policies have only slightly changed since 2006, while technology has rapidly developed over the last ten years. If there is really an ambition within the EU to develop into a Digital Single Market, there is a clear need for governments to take transformative action. We need to ask ourselves whether the technology which is being used by European governments today is advanced enough to properly address societal challenges and if the right skills are in place to truly drive that digital transformation.”
Please find a full copy of the report here http://www.capgemini.com/egov-benchmark
(1) The Digital Diagonal of best-performing countries consists of: Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France.
(2) Average score of all EU member states and other European countries that are part of the measurement
(3) TNS (2015) Special Eurobarometer 431 Data protection: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_431_en.pdf. Please note: only studies EU Member States News Alert
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13th eGovernment Benchmark Measurement for eGovernment Services
User Centricity. Assesses whether the expectations of users are met by the government when providing online services, to what extent they are available and how the online user experience is perceived. While the online availability of services at EU28+ level 2 reached 81% (+9 points since 2013) and online usability 83% (+6 points since 2013), the ease of using and speed of using these services online – as perceived by the mystery shoppers – advanced poorly, increasing by only 1 percentage point since the first assessment in 2012.
Digital by Default. Public services are increasingly online available for citizens and businesses, though only few governments choose to make the online channel mandatory. Mandatory online services are becoming common practice for business’ eServices (half of European countries has made one or more services mandatory online), increasingly for student’ services (11 of 34 countries), but hardly for other citizen’ services (4 of 34 countries). The fact that 1 in 5 European citizens does not have the required digital skills obviously hinders an uptake of eGovernment services.
Mobile. With fixed broadband coverage reaching almost 97 per cent on average in the EU, almost all European citizens have the ability to access Internet. The use of mobile devices to access the internet has seen a huge increase, which strongly impacts public service providers, since people expect to be able to navigate public websites for information and services on their mobile device. However, only 1 in 3 public websites is ‘mobile-friendly’.
Transparent government. Transparency improvement focus on building trust with citizens and improving policy makers’ accountability through a better use of personal data in decision making. This benchmark has increased by 8 points between 2013 and 2015, reaching 56% in 2014-2015. However, despite the general improvement, the implementation of good transparent procedures is still lacking in large parts of Europe. Across Europe, governments have room for improvement to make their organisations more transparent.
- Trust. Citizens may gain a sense of control if they can manage their personal data within online public services. The score for the indicator transparency of Personal Data rose 8 points but that does not necessarily mean citizens also feel more in control. For example German citizens feel least in control while their Greek and Cypriot counterparts feel most in control.3
- Cross-border services. Currently the assessment shows that, at the top-level benchmark, business-related services are more advanced in terms of cross-border mobility than the citizen- related services: even if the latter increased more since the first measurement (+13 points against +11 for the business), business mobility gets a higher score (64).
- Key enablers. This indicator assesses the availability of 5 enablers for online services: Electronic Identification (eID), Electronic Documents (eDocuments), Authentic Sources, Electronic Safe (eSafe) and Single Sign-on functionality. Despite their high relevance in ensuring an effective and secure delivery of online services, the top-level benchmark score is the lowest (54) in the eGovernment benchmarking framework after the Citizen Mobility indicator (52).