Paris – The European Commission released today the 11th Benchmark Measurement of European eGovernment Services, carried out by Capgemini Group, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, and its partners. The study, Delivering on the European advantage ‘How European governments can and should benefit from innovative public services’, provides insight on where Europe is on ICT delivery and uptake whilst delivering a call to action going forward. This year marks Capgemini’s ongoing partnership with the European Commission, after recently being awarded the mandate to deliver eGovernment benchmarking insights for a further four years.
The report, which surveyed over 28,000 citizens from across the EU member states, reveals an environment of ‘quantity over quality’ – whilst government online services are now widely in place, usage of them has slowed due to several challenges including ease of access, speed of use and lack of transparency of the service delivery process. The report offers insight into how services can be made ‘twice as good, in half the time, for half as much’, and can stimulate public service providers to respond faster and smarter.
This year a focus of the report was on uncovering benchmarks against four key pillars and how Europe needs to digitally transform in order to predict new models of public delivery, foster innovation and leverage these services and the companies that deliver them internationally, for local value and international economic advantage. As the eGov action plan concludes in 2015, there are many areas where Europe needs to adapt in order to achieve predicted targets. Key findings from the report highlight progress and gaps in the following four areas:
- User Centricity – The indicator for online usability measures the relevant aspects of the quality of the user experience, by assessing usability (support, help, feedback functionalities), ease of use and speed of use. Although usability features are widely present on government websites (78%), this hides the fact that the user’s experience, within the customer journey, is less favorable: the evaluation of ease and speed of use comes out 20 percentage points lower (at 58%).
- Transparency – Transparency refers to elements of service delivery in which crucial information any user needs when dealing with public administration: Informing if an application has been received through to where the application stands in the entire process are all factors. The transparency benchmark is scored at only 48%, and this is due mainly to the insufficient information provided for users during the delivery of eGovernment services: the transparency level is slightly higher for the provision of institutional information about the administrations and of personal data related with the services. However, there is still a long way to go if governments want fully open and transparent services and organisations.
- Cross Border Mobility – Mobility for businesses and citizens implies seamless services, without any burdensome procedures when crossing borders within the EU. Cross-border mobility is also quite low with a benchmark at 49%: the range of services offered to support citizens’ mobility within the EU is very limited, especially as regards transactional services. This is shown by the very large gap between the benchmark of online availability of domestic services and that of cross-border services (a full 30%). It shows that most countries are still not considering cross-border online services a worthwhile investment.
- Key Enablers – key enablers and innovative technical approaches (Cloud, IPv6, SOA, big data, mobile and social media) are vitally important to fully exploit the potential of ICT; to do ‘more with less’. The key enablers benchmark clocks in at 49%, but the level of implementation of the 5 technology tools measured varies considerably, from the 35% score of eSafe to the 62% of eID. The enablers were measured in connection with the delivery of services. Even the most widely implemented of them, eID, is still far from full deployment.
Citizens expect the public sector to adapt and adopt
With technology pervading every avenue of daily lives, expectations towards government performance and quality of services is growing. Citizens now see what is possible in the private sector and await the public sector to adapt and adopt. From the commercial sector citizens now experience user friendly, intuitive, online services that work and as such now expect this of Government services. And on those occasions where citizens don’t, they generally come with supportive customer service, and are increasingly responsive to social media feedback. The commercial world starts service design from the customer’s end. It is harder to do so with public services; it is however just as important.
This gap between citizens’ satisfaction of commercial services compared to public services is significant. For example citizens are significantly more satisfied by the services provided by banks (satisfaction 8.5 out of 10) than for regular public services (satisfaction 6.5 out of 10). There is also a worrying inverse relationship between interaction and satisfaction for public services: the more interaction with government is required, the lower satisfaction results. This also results in lower usage for each of these services.
Additionally, limited collaboration between government organisations is also a barrier for full online, seamless service provision. It prevents governments and citizens from reaping the benefits of digitisation of government services. As long as governments do not collaborate closely, more money will be spent on the development of the same solutions, solutions will not be interoperable and information cannot be easily exchanged between government organisations.
“With wider services now in place, governments across Europe should now focus on innovating to streamline customer communications with citizens to increase satisfaction and close the gap on expectations,” comments Dinand Tinholt, Vice President and EU Account Executive at Capgemini. “The public sector could innovate further by modelling elements of user-centricity from the commercial sector. However, this needs to be balanced with increased transparency around what citizen data is being used for, whilst collaborating more effectively between organisations.”
Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda commented “It is great news that governments are making on-line public services more user-friendly, but we are still not enticing citizens to engage on-line with public administrations as they would with their bank or other digital service providers. Europe’s citizens and businesses are already thinking digital and living digital. Now it’s time for governments to be digital and more transparent in the service delivery, and this can be achieved by opening up their data, processes and services. There is no need to hesitate, governments can provide better services at less cost, create jobs and growth opportunities, and increase accountability and trust.”
The report insights map benchmarks against the eGov action plan that the European Commission and Member States adopted in 2011 which is due for completion in 2015. The results build from a variety research data, using different methods, with collaboration from Member States. With Europe’s vision of both the eGov action plan towards 2015 and Horizon 2020 in mind and an assessment of the current performance of the member states, action needs to be taken that clearly shows how the region must adapt and change, to exploit the untapped potential of our European advantage.
To access the full report, please go to http://www.capgemini.com/egov-benchmark
For more information about the EU’s digital agenda, please go to
– ENDS –