The Electronic Government (eGovernment) is the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the public sector in order to increase efficiency, transparency and citizen participation.
A new EU eGovernment 2014 report has revealed the main points on which the member states stand or need improvement. The paper shows that eGovernment services are improving, but not with the ideal speed. According to the report, the lack of progress in areas such as better flexibility, ease of use and transparency can undermine public confidence in online public services, and so prevent their use.
To assess these services there have been used mystery shopping techniques to recreate the citizens' navigation through websites and government services. The report highlights the progress and gaps in four indicators:
- User Centricity, this is, meet and satisfy the final user. The report examines the availability and ease of use of online services, establishing that there is room for improvement in both criteria. Availability is by 72% of average in the EU, while the ease of use goes from 78% in usability to 58% in ease and speed.
- Transparency. Examines the extent to which governments are transparent about their own responsibilities and performance, the service delivery process, and the personal data involved. Here, the overall EU score was only 48% in the Transparency indicator, which is mainly due to insufficient information provided to users during delivery of eGovernment services.
- Cross Border Mobility. This values the transparent access to online public services when users are away from their home country. The paper shows that the EU average stands at 42%, 30 percentage points below the offer of services at the origin countries.
- Key Enablers. This indicator measures the availability of five technical elements which are essential for public services: Electronic Identification (eID), Electronic documents (eDocuments), Authentic Sources, Electronic Safe (eSafe) and Single Sign On (SSO). According to the report, key enablers are implemented in less than half (49%) of the cases that could be used.
The paper also summarizes the main findings of the user survey of 2012 (carried out to over 28,000 European users), which shows that, because of experience with different providers, such as online banking, almost 40% of European would not be willing to use eGovernment services.
In order to close this gap, the Commission will work with Member States to promote and adopt the approach of Open Government.
Thus, the EU document classifies countries into five groups according to their strategies and results:
- Pioneers (Malta, Finland and Estonia): Excellent in all areas, technology driven. They are the frontrunners in cross border services.
- Silo-topplers (Austria, Denmark, Spain, Lithuania, Norway and Portugal): they are also excellent in all areas, but they can improve cross border services.
- Steady performers (Belgium, France, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, Slovenia and Turkey): they have a constant good performance in all areas, but still have room to grow.
- Business oriented (Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Luxemburg, Holland and United Kingdom): good service delivery to businesses, even across borders. They have some room for improvement in terms of key enablers, transparency and mobility of citizens.
- Castaways (Bulgary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Switzerland): modest performance and large room for improvement in all areas.
Spain is at the head groups in the use of eGovernment. The report highlights good marks to almost all aspects of the Spanish eGovernment, for example the user centricity and the use of key tools. However, the efficiency and impact are slightly below the European average.
Even though the most negative is reflected in everything related to the cross border, the strengths of Spain, mostly surpassing the EU average, is reflected in many of the life events that the report examines like losing and finding job, entrepreneurship, ordinary business operations, purchasing and driving a car, study ...
Download here the complete report
View here the report according to each country