This year’s results show that all European countries improved their digital service delivery and are increasingly supporting citizens and businesses to obtain government services online. The study, led by Capgemini and jointly carried out with its subsidiary Sogeti and consortium partners, IDC and Politecnico di Milano, also highlighted that in order to achieve an eGovernment that works for the people, steps needs to be taken to accelerate the implementation of digital building blocks which are prerequisite for the design of user-centric, seamless and transparent services.
This 17th edition of the eGovernment Benchmark report puts a spotlight on the state-of-play of the digital transformation of European public administrations. Recent developments related to COVID-19 showed the relevance of continuous online public service delivery, highlighting that it is not only about the business case for having online channels and attracting users to these channels, but the necessity to support citizens and businesses in times when face-to-face interaction is not possible. By assessing over 10,000 websites across 36 European countries, this study shows that businesses and citizens can currently complete 70 percent of the services under evaluation online.
European countries closing gap in eGovernment
According to the report, digital government in Europe is moving in the right direction: overall the average stands at 68 percent, up from 65 percent last year. Moreover, the gap between the leaders and the laggards has further decreased, which is testament to the increase of eGovernment across Europe.
In the field of usability of important web portals, the European countries excel, demonstrated by their average score of 91 percent. Many Europeans enjoy a multitude of support options, ranging from demos and FAQ-sections to live chat functions, to help them with their questions online. At the same time, cites the report, eGovernment could reduce the workload for citizens and businesses even further by making more use of authentic sources, such as base registries, to prefill personal information (now provided in 57 percent of the forms where personal data is required).
New and old digital horizons
This year, another four-year cycle of benchmarking European eGovernment comes to completion, meaning that the progress of digital service delivery in different life events can be evaluated. Four years of benchmarking show that entrepreneurs in particular are well supported by eGovernment, while doing both regular work, such as corporate tax, as well as during their first steps when starting up a business, registering their company and hiring their first employees. Substantial improvements were made for citizens that want to buy a new car or move house, where face-to-face contact with the government is increasingly less required.
Over the past few years, major steps have been taken to make digital the new default. This latest report found that communications with the government via digital are increasingly becoming the new normal and that over three quarters (76 percent) of the websites under evaluation are now mobile friendly (up from 61 percent two years ago). Another pertinent topic in the upcoming years will be users’ access to personal data. Although this indicator has improved substantially over the last few years and now scores 64 percent, there still remains work to do in the future before citizens and businesses can easily see and decide who uses their data and for what purpose.