Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

What is the most important issue that should be discussed at the workshop? - Sunshine?

Discussion

Workshop 2 covers a diverse range of areas.  Which do you think are the most important? For me it is the need to increase the number and growth rate of individuals using eGovernment services. On a provocative frivolous note this is probably related to sunshine.

Using eGovernment services should provide major opportunities for 'cross-selling' to users involvement in decision making, empowerment and other activities.  However, eGovernment use remain stubbornly low despite a relatively healthy increase in Internet use.  Or is it possible that these other uses could be the driver to encourage users to utilise digital public services?

In the four year period between 2007 and 2010 (the last year for available statistics) the percentage of individuals using eGovernment services (in the last three months) increased from 30 to 32 per cent (Eurostat tsdgo330).  In the same time period the level of household internet use increased from 55 to 70 per cent (Eurostat tin00134). 

The highest levels of eGovernment use are generally in Northern Europe (for example in 2010 Denmark 72%, Iceland 77%, Norway 68%, Sweden 62%), the lowest are often in Southern Europe (for example in 2010 Greece 13%, Italy 17%).  I once undertook the anlaysis - there is a very high correlation with annual hours of sunshine.

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Comments

Richard Potter's picture

Two suggestions: 1) The ability to give feedback on use of services would help, not many of the services I use have an easy way of giving feedback and engaging the user in their improvement. 2) Expanding from this, e-government is pretty much a one way street. It feels from Government to the public. There is not much allowance for ideas to come from the public and be taken up by Government. The next time an issue is there for discussion locally or nationally the discussion could be widened out from the Council Chamber.
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Emilio Garcia's picture

Interesting debate why take-up of eGovernment services is so low ... or so high. The question is that we do not have data to make such assertion. Eurostat gives us the results of survey related to users, this data has a connection with take-up but do not give us the complete view. What is important for governments (as for banks) is the percentange of cases handled online vs face-to-face. In the countries with a lower percentange of users (Italy, Greece and Spain in some degree) you have an strong tradition of intermediation in the relationships with government. People and businesses use a third party to apply for grants, taxes and so on. This model has migrated to online scenario due to the lower usage of Internet that also happens in southern countries. The question is if we should expect a different model of relationship in the digital arena than in face-to-face arena. This is not happen only in government. The perecentage of e-banking users in Sapin is lower than e-gov users according with Eurostat. What is more, the gap between the average number of e-banking users in EU and in Spain is bigger than for e-gov services. So it is not a question os sunshine, in my opinion. It is a question of different model of relations.
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Giovanna Galasso's picture

eGovernment take up is a relevant topic to be taken into account. But the key challenge is to design effective government services according to the user needs. I agree that the relationship model needs to be taken into account when designing egov services. Apart from low broadband coverage in rural and mountainous areas, in some countries such as in Italy low egov services take up vs full availability demonstrate the failure of many public administrations in selecting the right egov portfolio solutions & service models not taking into account user needs and expectations. A huge amount of money has been spent over the last years. For example in Italy the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion mapped 2.1 B € projects funded by ERDF in the area of Digital Agenda http://www.opencoesione.gov.it/progetti/temi/agenda-digitale/. By the end of the year public sector organizations will finalise the allocation of cohesion policy funds for 2014 – 2020. In time of economic crisis, it is extremely relevant that the next ERDF funds addressed to the implementation of the Digital Agenda & egovernment are used in a wise way. Discussion around these topics are relevant.
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Paul Foley's picture

Lack of feedback is a useful observation. Singapore provides a useful example of better practice, see http://bit.ly/13kEpnL. However, the link ('feedback') is hidden away on the top right hand corner of a rather 'busy' home page. Are there other good practice examples?
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Paul Foley's picture

Interesting and useful point. Any study should also include postal and telephone inquiries as well as online and face-to-face channels. I know a few people in eGovernment and terrrestrial service delivery in local authorities, I'll try to get some numbers.
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Paul Foley's picture

I had an interesting discussion with Master students at Cranfield University last week about take up, the use of different channels and customer satisfaction. Two key issues were identified. Firstly, the best online or smart pohne user interface in the world might not promote re-use if the service outcome (subsequent delivery or action) is poor. The need to provide a good and timely service will probably affect (ex post) user perception whatever the channel used. Secondly, user perception could be greatly improved if passive or pro-active (SMS messages) tracking was provided to enable users to know the progress of service delivery, but very few providers offer this service.
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Charles Lowe's picture

Just to endorse these suggestions, when I project managed the eVoting trials in the UK in 2003, a frequent comment from potential voters we spoke to whilst drumming up support was that they would only be prepared to get really engaged if there was a way of feeding back comments and suggestion to the politicians, and that there was clear evidence that the politicians listened, & amended Government services accordingly.
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Juan Pablo Laporte's picture

An interesting topic I would like to follow the trade-off between facilitating the citizens the access to online services and the amount of spurious reports received. It is logic to assume that easiness might foster the appearance of fake reports (for example citizens reporting abandoned cars). At what extend are government organisation willing to cope with this? Is this going to affect the expected increase in efficiency through the utilization of on-line channels?
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Juan Pablo Laporte's picture

Obviously that might be not the more important topic, but it is an issue worth discussing
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Jérôme Portalier's picture

Some suggestions: - Social medias as a new channel for government service provision ? - Standardisation of e-governement processes regardless to the channel used by the citizen.
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