UK government "lagging ahead" on digital services in Europe

Despite wanting to promote the country as a technology leader, the UK's digital public services only rate as the 16th best amongst the 28 European Union member states, down one place from 2015.

This is according to the 2016 Digital Economy and Society Index, which "tracks the evolution of EU member states in digital competitiveness."

The report said: “Modern public services offered online in an efficient manner are a vehicle for efficiency gains for enterprises, citizens, and the public administration itself. While active eGovernment use is somewhat above the EU average, online service completion and in particular the sophistication of provisioned services could be improved.”

The main area that the UK fell down on was pre-filled forms on government websites where it ranked 26th, falling one position from 2015.

But there is also some good news. The UK came 16th in life events that can be completed online, consisting of starting a business, losing and finding a job, studying, regular business operations, moving house, owning and driving a car and starting a small claims procedure.

This performance placed the UK in the "lagging ahead" category - defined as "those that score above the EU average but whose score grew slower than that of the EU over the last year" - along with the likes of Belgium, Denmark and Ireland.

There was also good news for Austria, Germany and Portugal which were all placed in the "running ahead" category, whereas France, Hungary and Poland were deemed to be "falling behind."

Steven Cox, Vice President and Head of Public Sector, UK & Ireland, Fujitsu commented: “The public sector throughout Europe is significantly less confident than other industries when it comes to digitalisation. In our Digital Tightrope study, over half (58 per cent) of public sector organisations admitted the success of digital projects is a gamble with a lack of clear strategy and competing priories blamed for this. The UK fared even worse than its European counterparts, with only 21 per cent of IT decision makers feeling confident in advising their organisation on digital.

"The public sector is clearly keen to take advantage of digitalisation and deliver the services and the convenience that citizens want, but without a clear and agreed plan, the fact is that digital projects run the risk of failure.”

Image source: Shutterstock/Gil C