We shop online, attend medical appointments, book holidays and attend events, so why is it that we still have to access public services mostly offline?

But is it changing?

Estonia is a European leader is eGovernment and has been for almost a decade. 

We are playing catch up in Ireland, but so are many countries. 

But the pandemic has expedited digital transformation by a decade and governments are leveraging this progress.


In today’s show I’m asking:

  • > Should all public services be available online, and what needs to happen?
  • >  I speak to Ossian Smyth, Minister of State with responsibility for Public Procurement, eGovernment and Circular Economy in Ireland.

Column | Are Public Services Better if They are Online?

Are public services better if they are online? The simple answer is no. There will always be a cohort of the population that will want or need to access individual services in-person, over the phone, by letter or in a group setting. 

But what can digital bring to the public service table in terms of better citizen experience?

Well, Salesforce and Boston Consulting Group also asked this question. They undertook a study to better understand people’s expectations of, and experiences with government digital service delivery.

They teamed up and surveyed 24,500 people across 36 countries on their use of digital channels for government services. It focused on the respondents’ expectations and perceptions of these digital services, and how their experiences have affected their trust in government.

Singapore findings

Here are some of the highlights of the findings, specifically for Singapore:

  • > About 77% of Singapore respondents believe that a great digital experience has a positive impact on trust for the government. A similar percentage believe that a bad experience decreases trust.
  • > 97% of respondents in Singapore expect government digital services to be as good as or better than banks, telcos, leading technology firms, or other leading governments. This shows that there’s considerable risk involved should governments get digital services wrong, or not provide it at all.
  • > Singapore is one of the top performers when it comes to digital government services meeting customers’ needs with a +54% net perception.
  • > However, the findings show that there is room for improvement. The survey found that 6 in 10 Singaporeans encountered at least some type of problem when accessing their digital service citing common problems such as:
    • > Length or difficulty of the process – 21%
    • > Technical difficulties or issues completing their request – 20%
    • > No help available – 16%
    • > Not having all the paperwork or information they needed – 16%
  • > Globally, citizens are willing to share data if it benefits themselves or the community.
  • > In general, customers in Singapore feel that the government is doing a good job of communicating the benefits of data sharing, with a net satisfaction of 50%. 


Consulting | Fostering Trust with Online Public Services

Apart from providing a more seamless customer experience, bringing public services online helps to build trust by demonstrating greater transparency. 

The post-pandemic age has shaken up the old ways of working and that includes keeping the detail from the public. 

The introduction of a digital citizen journey provides data that senior public sector decision-makers can then use to better understand what the public need, want and expect. Trends are identified to establish commonly asked questions, biggest reasons for accessing a particular public service and/or understanding societal issues. 

Aside from the pandemic, we are facing a climate crisis, food security challenges and other major issues that require public trust to be high. If it’s not it provides divisive groupings including political groupings to disrupt democracy. 

I keep saying it, we need the voice and visibility of our public sector and governments to be at an all-time high. 

Salesforce’s CEO Marc Benioff returned from the World Economic Forum with a profound insight: he said: the world is experiencing a trust crisis.

“There is a global trust crisis and it’s being felt in many places.”

Schwartz outlined several elements that governments should do to achieve trust.

  • > “First, you have to build partnerships with local leaders, with business, with academia, and so on.”
  • > “Secondly, it is speed and bias for action. We’re in a real crisis environment, and being able to move quickly and effectively is critical.”
  • > “Third is personalisation. That is being able to communicate effectively personally, organise services personally, all of that ability to personalise these digital capabilities so that people feel not that they’re a number, but that they’re a human being. That the capabilities are uniquely tuned to their needs and situations.

“That’s where personal data comes in. By having that data, it becomes possible to tune those services and enable the performance of those services to be personalised to the individual citizen. That then goes back to transparency. In the absence of transparency, people won’t share their data that enables you to perform at a high level. That’s the loop of performance, transparency, and service delivery that enables trust to be built.”

Interview Minister of State Ossian Smyth

In today’s show I interview Green Party Minister Ossian Smyth. 

He is Minister of State with responsibility for Public Procurement, eGovernment and Circular Economy in the Irish Government. 

Within the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform he is driving public sector provision r

Follow @smytho on Twitter 


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Thank You for Listening!

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