Despite strong progress UK falls behind European leaders in online public services

| Press release

A new pan-European survey shows the UK forging ahead in the online availability of key public services from central and local government, and in the sophistication of the services provided, including full two-way interaction. The survey, carried out for the European Commission by Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of Consulting, Technology and Outsourcing services, shows that some 70% of a range of 20 basic public services for citizens and businesses (including income tax, social security benefits and car registration) are now available online in the UK, compared with 58% two years ago.

However even stronger progress elsewhere in Europe means that the UK has fallen from third to sixth place in the league table of online public service availability – behind Austria (the leaders), Estonia, Malta, Sweden and Norway. The UK remains ahead of major European partners such as France, Germany and Italy.

The survey also ranks the UK as number six in Europe in the maturity and sophistication of its online public services, with an online sophistication score of 82% compared with the European average of 75%. The survey examined 14,000 web sites in the 25 EU Member States plus Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, and was carried out by Capgemini consultants in April 2006.

The survey shows that the maturity of online public services across the EU keeps growing and has now reached an overall level of sophistication where full two-way interaction between citizens and governments is the norm, and nearly 50% allow citizens to conduct the whole process online.  This in turn leads to better, more efficient and effective service provision. The sophistication index has risen by 6% in the year to April 2006 in the EU 15 Member States, but 16% in the EU10 reflecting the considerable efforts made in recent years. Austria leads the on-line public service league, followed by Malta and Estonia.

Since 2001, this survey has been measuring the share of public services fully available on line in the EU Member States, plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Hundreds of billions of euros could be saved for European taxpayers every year as a result of administrative modernisation across the 25 EU Member States, as outlined in the European Commission’s eGovernment Action Plan of April 2006 (see IP/06/523).

Welcoming the findings, Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said: “On-line service delivery is now a mature service delivery model in the EU, and a new paradigm of ‘intelligent’, user-oriented e-services is beginning to emerge. I am particularly pleased to see the new Member States making such good progress. The key factor in their encouraging performance is strong government sponsorship of e-Government programmes. This survey is the first concrete contribution to the i2010 eGovernment Action Plan, and its subsequent editions will be an essential instrument for monitoring the Action Plan”

General conclusions of the report

In 2006 the online sophistication of public service delivery in the EU Member States has reached an overall score of 75%, while almost 50% of the measured public services are fully available online. The different degrees of sophistication of online public services range from ‘basic’ information provision over one-way and two way interaction to ‘full’ electronic case handling (fully available online).

Both indicators of the survey have recorded a significant global progress of 10% for the 28 surveyed countries.

At the start of this century, the Commission’s e-Government initiatives focussed on developing eServices (projects aimed at providing online access to public services). These are now mostly in place, and governments are moving on to the next stage, of developing intelligent, user-oriented e-services.

Sophistication and full availability indicators show that Austria now leads the way in all 20 services measured[1]. Austria’s “eGovernment platform” is a class-leading example of how to optimize a government’s eServices offering and make it almost 100% transactional. Malta achieved the most outstanding progress ever recorded, moving from 16th to 2nd place, while Estonia moved up from 8th to equal 3rd with Sweden. Hungary has moved up from 23rd to 14th and Slovenia from 15th to 7th.

One of the i2010 eGovernment Action Plan priorities is to “make efficient and effective eGovernment a reality”. Future editions of this survey will be geared to measure this objective. Furthermore, this supply side measurement will be combined with measurement of take up and government reorganisation to allow the assessment of the impact of the i2010 eGovernment Action Plan.

[1] The 20 basic public services

 

Citizens

Businesses

Income Taxes

Social Contribution for Employees

Job Search

Corporate Tax

Social Security Benefits[1]

VAT

Personal Documents[1]

Registration of a New Company

Car Registration

Submission of Data to the Statistical Office

Application for Building Permission

Custom Declaration

Declaration to the Police

Environment-related Permits

Public Libraries

Public Procurement

Birth and Marriage Certificates

 

Enrolment in Higher Education

 

Announcement of Moving

 

Health-related Services

 

 

About the Capgemini Group

Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of Consulting, Technology and Outsourcing services, has a unique way of working with its clients, which it calls the Collaborative Business Experience. Through commitment to mutual success and the achievement of tangible value, Capgemini helps businesses implement growth strategies, leverage technology, and thrive through the power of collaboration. Capgemini employs approximately 61,000 people worldwide and reported 2005 global revenues of 6,954 million euros.

More information about individual service lines, offices and research is available at http://www.capgemini.com/

See also the full release from Brussels 

 

See the European Commission’s press release