SINGAPORE; Mar. 31, 2014 — A new comparative study by Accenture (NYSE:ACN) has found that Singapore, Norway and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) rank first, second and third, respectively, among 10 countries in their use of “digital government” — from offering online portals to access public services to employing digital channels and social media to communicate and engage with citizens.
The majority of countries that scored best in the study have made a sustained investment in digital government. Top-ranked Singapore, for example, will be one of the first countries to ensure that every citizen has an electronic health record. The highest-ranking countries also actively seek and listen to citizen feedback. In Singapore, 70 per cent of citizens believe that government should consult with them in the design and delivery of public services, which indicates a highly engaged population.
According to the report, high-performing digital governments are:
Focusing on their digital strategy, which is deeply embedded in the government agenda and public reforms.
Continuing long-term investment in key information and communication technology (ICT) assets and the digitalisation of core public services, such as taxation, pensions and healthcare.
Leveraging the power of new technologies, such as social media, mobility, analytics, big data and cloud computing.
Connected across agency boundaries and have a strong culture of collaboration and data sharing.
“Singapore leads in all dimensions of digital readiness and scores high in economic competitiveness, citizen engagement as well as public sector productivity,” said Ng Wee Wei, Accenture Managing Director, Health & Public Service, Singapore. “As governments adopt new digital technologies such as cloud, mobile, social and analytics to provide wider access to citizens and better anticipate their needs, they are experiencing higher levels of engagement, accountability and public trust,” Ng said.
To determine citizens’ perceptions of digital government, Accenture surveyed 5,000 people across the 10 countries in the study. The survey found that the majority of respondents in Singapore – 85 per cent – would like the government to provide more services through digital channels and most, 68 per cent, would like to use social media to engage with government.
Citizen demand for digital services is strong in Singapore – besides social media, 72 per cent of respondents are also open to using mobile devices to interact with government departments offering public services.”
One example of a digital government service is the Central Provident Fund (CPF) retirement planning e-services that enables citizens to track the accumulating growth of their retirement funds, and use interactive calculators and scenario tools to simulate future situations, receive appropriate advice to better plan their retirement and fix periods of underfunding through top-up payments. These services can be accessed 24/7 across multiple digital channels. Nearly 3.34 million citizens have opted for CPF e-services since its launch in September 2010 and almost US$1.15 million have been saved by reducing the use of paper statements. Transactions through e-services increased to 46 million in 2010, while transactions at the counter reduced by 46 per cent in the same year.
“New digital technologies emphasising speed and mobility are not only changing the way we live, work and interact with each other, but they are providing unprecedented opportunities for government to radically transform complex bureaucracies and become more agile, citizen-centric, efficient and innovative,” Ng added.
The countries in the study — Brazil, Germany, India, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the United Kingdom and the United States — were measured against the following criteria and given a cumulative score from one to 10:
Citizen Service Delivery Experience: The extent to which government agencies are citizen-centric, leveraging multichannel and cross-government public service delivery and initiating proactive communications, education and the use of social media for engagement.
Citizen Satisfaction: The extent to which citizens believe governments are meeting their needs and providing quality services.
Service Maturity: The level to which a government has developed a digital presence, in terms of publishing, interactions and online transactions.
Accenture conducted a comprehensive review of digital government in 10 countries — Brazil, Germany, India, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States— and developed a cumulative score from one to 10 based on three factors: citizen service delivery experience (weighted 50 per cent), service maturity (weighted 10 per cent) and citizen satisfaction (weighted 40 per cent). To measure citizen service delivery experience, Accenture conducted a quantitative analysis of the 10 countries by evaluating services offered at the federal or central-government level to ensure direct comparisons across the countries. Service maturity measured a government’s online or digital presence, such as providing portals to access information about government services. (Note: The importance of this factor was given less weight in the country rankings since e-government has become ubiquitous and less of a differentiator among countries.) To gauge citizen satisfaction, Accenture also had IPSOS Mori conduct an online survey of 5,000 citizens across the 10 countries in October 2013 to assess their opinions of how government is meeting their needs and their perceptions on the quality of services government is providing.
Learn more about Accenture’s global program Delivering Public Service for the Future.
Accenture brings global experience and private-sector innovation to inspire government agencies to explore new opportunities to deliver better public services, while meeting increasing citizen demands at sustainable costs, by making four fundamental shifts: moving from standardized to personalized services, reactive to insight driven, public management to public entrepreneurship, and piecemeal efficiency to mission productivity. Organizations doing this are delivering public service for the future—supporting a flourishing society, safe and secure nation and economic vitality for citizens.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 289,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its home page is www.accenture.com.