The COVID-19 pandemic has not only brought turbulence, it has also stimulated resilience and innovation, thus boosting the digitalisation of the EU economy and society, which includes how governments deliver their services.
The eGovernment Benchmark compares how governments deliver digital public services across Europe. It has become an internationally recognised study that sheds light on eGovernment in 36 European countries by evaluating so-called life events based on specific indicators. Life events include packages of government services that support citizens or entrepreneurs through key points of their lives, such as the birth of a child or starting a business.
These indicators are clustered within 4 main top-level benchmarks:
- User Centricity – indicates the extent to which a service is provided online, its mobile friendliness, and usability in terms of available online support and feedback mechanisms.
- Transparency – indicates the extent to which governments are transparent about:
- The process of delivery
- the responsibilities and performance of public organisations
- The personal data processed in public services.
- Cross-Border Mobility – indicates the extent to which users of public services from another European country can use the online services.
- Key Enablers – indicates the extent to which technical and organisational pre-conditions for eGovernment service provision are in place, such as electronic identification and authentic sources.
This year’s analysis gave rise to the following key policy takeaways:
- In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Career and Business Start-Up Life Events have proven that European administrations have what it takes to build digital services. More government areas could catch up.
- Central government services outperform local and regional services. Service digitalisation offers the opportunity to streamline government journeys across multiple government entities.
- Business services are more digital than citizen services.
- National users have an edge over cross-border users. Less than half of the services available nationally can be completed online by cross-border users.
A study from McKinsey has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digitalisation by 7 years globally. It has thus brought turbulence, but also stimulated resilience and innovation by boosting the digitalisation of government services.
It is clear that promoting the digital transformation of governments remains a clear priority for the EU: Member States plan to make sizeable investments Member States to further digitalise their public administrations under the Recovery and Resilience Facilityand the Commission has made a proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and the Council establishing the 2030 Policy Programme for a ‘Path to the Digital Decade’.
In this context, the eGovernment Benchmark is key to tracking continued improvements in online public services. While trend analysis can pinpoint in what areas and how governments have improved, lessons learned can help accelerate progress on the ambitious path towards achieving the Digital Decade targets.