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Online gov services are mostly time-wasting duplicates, says EU

Mystery shoppers find "life events" a challenge on the move

Sick of repeating the same information every time you need the authorities to help you out? So is the European Commission.

According to a new study on eGovernment services, users are still asked to fill in forms with information already available to bureaucrats more than half the time. And if you’re on the move it gets worse – nearly three quarters of EU public service websites are not mobile friendly.

The 12th eGovernment Benchmark report, released on Tuesday, follows “mystery shoppers” through seven life events – losing and finding a job, studying, starting a business, moving, owning a car, small claims procedure and regular business operations – to find out how public services online measure up.

According to the EU Commish-sponsored report, although 50 per cent of life event services can be used entirely online, aspects like ease and speed of use rate poorly. Further, only 57 per cent of public services are available to cross-border businesses and only 41 per cent to other EU citizens across the border.

This is far from adequate, says the Commission, and could hamper its Digital Single Market.

Forms pre-filled with data already available to public administrations (e.g. date of birth, home address, marital status) would stop wasting everyone’s time, but are available only in 45 per cent of cases.

EU digi-veep Andrus Ansip, former PM of leading eGov light Estonia, is keen to push for better European public sector websites incorporating Electronic Identification (eID) and Single Sign On (SSO). As part of the Digital Single Market strategy, he promised to hold a public consultation to get opinions on how to improve matters. ®

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