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Online government services must do more to gain public trust

Although online government services are proving popular, the public claims more needs to be done, according to a new study.

Business advisory firm Deloitte and research company YouGov surveyed 5180 adults in the country, of which 88 per cent of people said they were open to online services with an appetite for more options.

Of those surveyed, 59 per cent said they would like to pay fines, bills and taxes online, but only 39 per cent currently do so.

Similar results were found in the health sector, with only 20 per cent of the 46 per cent saying they wanted to be able to book appointments online actually doing so.

According to Deloitte, this suggests people would like access to more options online.

Data Security Presents Major Concern

However, 17 per cent of those polled claimed that they were worried about their security and Whitehall’s ability to protect it and privacy fears led them to avoid government dealings on the Internet.

Despite this, only 3 per cent of participants said they preferred to access services exclusively offline. Of this 3 per cent, 42 per cent said that data sharing was the main barrier.

Respondents felt that sharing data across the government would not lead to improved services, with only 18 per cent saying it would and 20 per cent saying it wouldn’t save taxpayer money.

A further 33 per cent believed their data would be misused if shared.

The majority (75 per cent) of those polled said that the most important feature of online government services is strong data security.

This was closely followed by simplicity (70 per cent), saving time (68 per cent) and saving money (66 per cent).

Only 9 per cent of participants said they had confidence in the government’s ability to deliver IT project and just 6 per cent said they believed it be delivered on budget.

More Work Needed To Truly Be “Digital By Default”

“To truly realise its digital by default goal, government needs to build trust and offer online services, with support available, that are so well-designed that people opt to use them instead of offline alternatives,” claimed Joel Bellman, Deloitte public sector director.

“Online services should be intuitive and should bring government closer to people so they make a deliberate choice to opt for them,” he added.