According to Accenture’s fourth annual global e-government report, progress continues to be made in Ireland despite a slight slip in the overall ranking from 10th to 11th place, primarily as a result of the slowdown in the speed of implementation of some key e-government initiatives.
The overall Service Maturity score increased 10 percentage points over last year to 48.6pc. The increase reflects the refinement and expansion of existing services, plus the introduction of new services online, including driving test applications, vehicle registration for car dealers and distributors and internet ticketing with Bus Éireann.
The study found that of the 149 services for which the Irish Government is responsible, 139 are available online to some degree, resulting in a Service Maturity Breadth rating of 92pc, up from 89.2pc in 2002. There was also improvement in the Service Maturity Depth, which increased to 54pc, indicating improvement in the maturity of services delivered and demonstrating progress in closing the gap on other countries.
However, the speed of implementation progress has not kept pace with recent years and with other countries.
Speaking about the new study, Vivienne Jupp, the Dublin-based managing partner for Accenture’s Global e-Government Services, says: “Ireland continues to make steady progress in e-government and is holding its own among the major European countries, demonstrating an ability to execute visionary e-government programmes. However, the challenge for the year ahead, particularly in light of the slowdown in implementation of its e-government programme, is to focus its priorities and continue to target those e-government services that will deliver greatest value for its constituents”.
As part of the study, Accenture ranked each of the 22 countries in terms of the sophistication of their online services. It then placed each government in one of five ‘plateaus’ or levels of online maturity. The first plateau is the lowest overall maturity, which basically entails little more than having an online presence.
The fifth and highest plateau is overall service transformation.
For the third year in a row, Canada topped the list in terms of overall e-government maturity and it was the only country to reach the fifth plateau this year.
According to the study, Canada’s e-government initiative is differentiated by its customer-service vision; methods for measuring success of services; a broad, integrated approach to offering government services through multiple service-delivery channels and a cross-agency approach to online services.
Other countries which made the top 10 included Singapore, the US, Denmark, Australia, Finland, Hong Kong, the UK, Belgium and Germany, in that order.
Ireland ranked 11th and France 12th. All of these countries are ranked on the fourth plateau of mature electronic service delivery. These governments have established customer service objectives and their portals offer valuable, convenient online services to their customers, according to the report.
Countries on the third plateau of service availability – including The Netherlands, Spain, Japan, Norway, Italy and Malaysia – had basic portals, built with the goal of making as many services available online as quickly as possible. These countries had broad electronic service adoption targets; some sophisticated transaction capabilities; and were somewhat focused on their customers, with individual agencies taking initial steps to work collaboratively to offer online services.
As part of the study – entitled E-Government Leadership: Engaging the Customer – Accenture interviewed more than 140 senior executives in government agencies across Europe, North America and Asia. When asked to select factors driving development of online government services for citizens, 93pc of the government executives surveyed globally selected ‘improving citizen satisfaction’, 83pc selected ‘customer demands for new and better services’ and 77pc selected ‘the need to meet government performance targets’, whereas only 51pc selected ‘pressure to reduce costs’.
By Lisa Deeney