E-government fails to materialise

The company has just completed an extensive survey of 2288 government websites across 196 nations and, despite its interesting findings, the overall result is a sorry one.

In general, the report found, e-government is failing to make the most of the many opportunities available to such services online. In particular e-government initiatives are missing perhaps the one true benefit of internet services – they simply aren’t giving people the opportunity to work interactively with the online government efforts.

Further to that, and perhaps particularly worrying in today’s climate, 6% of the websites studied showed privacy policies and only 2% have disability access.

There are of course clear geographical divisions in the state of e-government websites. North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East all ranked more highly than, for instance, Russia and central Asia.

The highest ranking sites were those from Taiwan, Australia, Israel, US, UK, Singapore, Ireland and Finland.

However, despite these geographical differences, one binding feature has cut across them all – the English language. According to the World Markets study, 72% of government websites offer an English version. Forty-five per cent of the government sites across the globe are multi-lingual.

Still, that doesn’t make up for the lack of services out there.

Despite the burgeoning number of e-government initiatives, only 6% of the sites studied actually offer a one-stop shop ‘portal’ for the government. This means that people need to trudge through myriad services, addresses and sites before they find what they’re looking for.

And worse, only 8% of the sites actually offer fully executable services online, saving people and government departments the hassle of booking and ordering services manually.

That means that 92% of them don’t offer anything over and above information that, in this time of supposed cost-savings and streamlining of government, isn’t exactly a reassuring trend.

There are of course those that have nailed it. The US for instance has the highest level of executable online services, with 28%, while the Middle East has 10% of its services available as an online executable.

In Africa and central Asia, the rate is more like two per cent.

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