EU sees big jump in availability of online public services

By Derek du Preez
21 Feb 2011 View Comments

The proportion of basic EU public services available online has increased from 69 per cent to 82 per cent year on year, helping cut costs and reduce red tape, according to the 9th e-Government Benchmark Report, released today.

Basic public services include car registration, tax declarations and registration of a new company.

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Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice-president for the Digital Agenda, said: "I am pleased that increasing numbers of EU citizens can now use online public services for major serivces.

"Member states who make these services fully available online can make life easier for their citizens and businesses, while reducing their own costs."

Austria, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Sweden performed best, with the full list of basic services online, while the UK is not far behind, providing over 90 per cent of its basic services this way.

The report also indicates that services for businesses are more advanced than those for citizens.

However, e-procurement is still at the early stages of development. Although 70 per cent of public authorities have started implementing it, overall take-up is low at five per cent of total procurement.

E-procurement refers to the use of electronic communications and transaction processing by government institutions and other public-sector organisations when buying supplies and services.

The report suggests if it were fully available and more widely used, it could deliver cost savings on public purchases of as much as 30 per cent.

Graham Colclough, vice-president, global public sector, Capgemini, said: "The foundations are in place, the continued uptick in availability and sophistication of online services is promising.

"Additionally, administrations across the European Union must embrace new technologies and delivery models to make the big changes that are entirely feasible and very necessary."


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