eGovernment improving but citizens ask for more

Almost half of EU citizens (46%) now go online to look for a job, use the public library, file a tax return, register a birth, apply for a passport or use other eGovernment services. 80% say online public services save them time, 76% like the flexibility and 62% say they save money. But these users are more satisfied with online banking (8.5 satisfaction rating on a scale of 0 to 10), and online shopping (7.6) than with public services online (6.5).
European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes responded to the results saying: "These are promising trends for eGovernment in Europe. However, when users are more satisified with online banking than online public services, it shows that public administrations must do better at designing eGovernment services around users' needs. And we have to do more to make eGovernment work across borders."
The Digital Agenda for Europe aims to increase the use of eGovernment services to 50% of EU citizens by 2015.
The eGovernment Benchmark 2012 report surveyed 28 000 internet users across 32 countries. Among the key findings:
  1. The most popular services were declaring income taxes (73% of users declare taxes online), moving or changing address (57%) and enrolling in higher education and/or applying for student grant (56%).
  2. While 54% of those surveyed still prefer face-to face contact or other traditional channels, at least 30% of them indicated they could also be regular eGovernment users if more relevant services were provided.
  3. 47% of eGovernment users got all they wanted from online services, 46% only partially received what they were looking for.
The report also signals that improvements are needed to online services for important life events like losing or finding a job, setting up a company and registering for studying.
  1. For people living in their own country, on average more than half of the administrative steps related to these key life events can be carried out online. Websites give information about the remaining steps. However, more transparency and interaction with users is needed to better empower citizens.
  2. The picture is less bright for the almost 2 million people who move or commute between EU Member States. While the majority of Member States provide some information about studying or starting a company from abroad, online registration is less common. Only 9 countries allow citizens from another EU Member State to register to study online, and only 17 countries allow them to take some steps to start a company in this way.
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