A revealing benchmark of EU e-government practices has found Ireland – believe it or not – ranks above the EU average in a number of key areas, such as procurement, online availability and e-services to citizens.
At a time when most governments across Europe are under pressure to reduce costs by instigating harsh austerity measures, it seems that Ireland, as one of those countries most in need of slimlining its public sector, actually is above average when it comes to e-government.
The European Commission released today the 9th Benchmark Measurement of European eGovernment Services, carried out by Capgemini Group, Rand Europe IDC and the Danish Technological Institute (DTI).
With 100pc, Ireland’s full online availability is above the EU average of 82pc. In the full online availability ranking, Ireland now ranks first out of the 32 measured countries.
The online sophistication of public services reaches 100pc of which sophistication for business services stands at 100pc (compared to 94pc for the EU27+) and sophistication for citizen services is also at 100pc (compared to 87pc for the EU27+).
Ireland’s eServices scored 87pc on usability and 72pc on user satisfaction monitoring as compared to the EU averages of 79pc and 80pc respectively.
The study pointed to the fact that Ireland has a centralised approach to public procurement activity, with the establishment of a National Procurement Service and of a national eTendering platform.
Contracting authorities have to use etenders.gov.ie and electronically publish procurement opportunities more than €10,000. It is also mandatory for public authorities to use the electronic means for all payments. Ireland is a top performer for both visibility and preAward indicators, the study said.
The study pointed to a number of Irish Government websites as examples of best practice:
· Access to Revenue Commissioners Services and Information
· Electronic registration of transactions affecting the land register in Ireland
· Online facility to deal with the surge in queries around unemployment and a range of associated issues caused by the current economic downturn
· Collection of charges for non-principal private residences
· The ‘Customer Charter Initiative‘, four-step cycle of consultation, commitment, evaluation and reporting