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UK fails to make top eGovernment rankings

UK fails to make it into the top rankings in the European Commission’s eGovernment Benchmark report, which shows that across Europe, two-thirds of public sector services are now available online

The European Commission’s eGovernment Benchmark report shows that Europe is making progress in digitising government services.

The benchmark report, which was led by Capgemini, measures the quality of digital services across Europe, based on four benchmarks, including user-centricity, transparency, cross-border mobility and key enablers, such as the availability of eID, eDocuments and authentic sources.

The study assessed more than 10,000 public sector websites and found that European governments are improving and maturing their digital services overall. 

11 countries scored above 75% on delivering high-quality digital services, including Estonia, Denmark, Malta, Austria and Latvia in the top five. However, the UK failed to make it into the top rankings.  

Those top five countries “have managed to make public services widely available online, in a mobile-friendly manner and with a strong focus on citizen and business users”, the report said. 

“At the same time, their public organisations are transparent on service delivery, organisational operations and personal data processing, and equip users with smart key enabling technologies (such as eIDs and digital post solutions).” 

Commenting on the results, Niels Van der Linden, principal consultant and Capgemini Invent’s eGovernment Benchmark project lead, said the result underlined that overall, European governments are increasingly designing public services with the “the needs of citizens and businesses in mind”.

“This accommodates a diverse audience of national and fellow-European users in their digital journeys. By continuously innovating services based on user preferences, governments are creating more inclusive and accessible services,” he said.

On user centricity, one of the four benchmarks, the UK reached 83% and ranks in the top three for mobile friendliness. On digital skills, the UK comes in at 72%, higher than the 55% EU average. 

However, the European Commission sees the UK as underperforming on digital skills, because the “high level of digital skills does not coincide with the expected high levels of digitisation performance”. 

The UK government also sets an example for mobile services, and ranks highly on penetration of eGovernment services, which is much higher than the EU average. However, it underperforms on digitisation.  

“By comparing performances of countries with similar relative indicator scores, the United Kingdom scores outperforming in penetration and is underperforming in digitisation,” a detailed document on the country’s performance said.   

“The penetration level is higher than the one of the European countries with similar relative performances: The United Kingdom seems to have implemented good polices in order to increase eGovernment usage.

“On the other hand, the digitisation level is still relatively low, also compared with similar country. The United Kingdom’s eGovernment maturity process seems to be benefiting from a digitisation of the back-office and the front-office.”

Cyber security

New to the 2018 benchmark report is cyber security. The study found that there is a need for European eGovernment websites to seriously raise their cyber security game.  

The researchers conducted a pilot to evaluate the security of public websites, which looked at more than 3,500 URLs across the participating countries. 

“The results of the pilot indicate ample room for improvement on cyber security of public websites,” the report said, adding that the results from the internet.nl tool, developed by the Dutch national government, which was one of two tools used, found that “less than 10% of European public websites pass the basic tests performed”.

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