The COVID-19 pandemic boosted the digitalization of European government services, with now eight out of ten services online.
Paris, November 15, 2021 – Capgemini has launched the 2021 eGovernment Benchmark, its annual report that provides the European Commission insights into the level of eGovernment services across Europe. The results show that the COVID-19 pandemic brought turbulence, but also pushed European governments for change, including how government services are delivered. The study, led by Capgemini and jointly carried out with consortium partners, IDC and Politecnico di Milano, also highlights that ongoing investments and organizational changes are needed to accelerate the transition in Europe’s new digital government era.
The 18th edition of the eGovernment Benchmark report sheds further light on the status of the digital transformation of European public administrations. The 2021 report comprises details on the availability and quality of digital services across multiple business and citizen life events, considering different digital building blocks. The COVID-19 pandemic showed the necessity to transition services from offline to online in times when face-to-face interactions were impeded. By assessing over 7,000 webpages across 36 European countries, the study reveals that more than eight out of ten government services under evaluation (81%) are now available online.
Steps towards a trusted eGovernment for everyone
According to the report, the European countries particularly excel in providing online services: most services can be easily accessed through a government portal with almost nine out of ten government websites being mobile friendly (88% compared to 76% a year ago and 68% two years ago), user support is often available, and information is mobile-compatible for almost nine out of ten websites (88%). However, steps need to be taken to ensure that no one misses out on the benefits of digital service delivery. A web accessibility pilot analysis shows that only 16% of websites comply with selected web accessibility criteria.
Marc Reinhardt, Head of Public Sector & Health at Capgemini, comments: “The 2021 eGovernment Benchmark Report reveals that governments across Europe have made significant strides in digitizing the delivery of public services, successfully demonstrating their online service capacity in the face of a global crisis. While several steps have been taken by governments to fast-track the shift from offline to online services, the study shows that increased provision does not automatically mean increased usage, satisfaction, or inclusion. Governments will need to focus on evolving their digitalization strategies to factor in these three dimensions, thereby ensuring that citizens find continuous value in e-government and that no one is left behind.”
The report also provides insights into the area of data transparency, a key pillar for safe and trusted eGovernment. Only a slight majority (61%) of government portals inform users on whether and which personal data have been consulted by public administrations. As siloed government departments turn into well-organized data ecosystems, user consent for data sharing, privacy and security are more important than ever before. In addition, the results show that the ambition to share and reuse personal information across governments – in compliance with local legislations and in a secure way – has not yet materialized: only six out of ten online forms in Europe are pre-filled with information from sources like base registries, reducing the time users need to complete forms.
Scale successful efforts across government domains and layers
Overall, the report shows that Europe can celebrate multiple eGovernment successes. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed European governments for change, and as the pandemic fades, chances arise to leverage digital capacities across policy domains and government levels. In two years, public administrations brought 23% more business services online, helping to counter lock-down related economic damage. Other corners of government should learn from this experience. Moreover, the report pinpoints differences in performance between government layers, with local and regional government services appearing less mature. This gap can hinder seamless service delivery and impacts how users experience services from their government. Considering Member States’ reforms and investments, these and other digitalization opportunities are expected to be seized. Public administrations will, with reinforced efforts and guided by European values, enter a new digital government era.
Niels van der Linden, Account Lead for the European Union Institutions at Capgemini Invent concludes: “Reinforcing digital leadership and promoting human-centered, inclusive, and sustainable digital policies that empower citizens and businesses are at the core of the European Union’s digital targets for 2030. Towards this end, the Member States are equipped with long-term budget, coupled with the ‘NextGenerationEU’ stimulus package and investment in eGovernment plays a key role in achieving these objectives for a greener, more digital and resilient Europe. We encourage governments and public administrations across Europe to use this momentum to further their digitalization strategies, putting users first and offering integrated digital services that overcome information silos.”
For more information or to download the report, click here.
More information about the digital agenda of the European Union can be found at:
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 The 36 countries include the European Union Member States, Albania, Iceland, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Republic of Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. This group of countries is referred to as ‘Europe’ and ‘EU27+’ throughout the report.