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Majority confident in online public services post-pandemic

18/10/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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A majority of people in the UK are now more confident accessing public services online than before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the survey for a new report.

Commissioned by BT and carried out by technology consultancy Public, it revealed that 60% of more than 1,000 respondents agreed they had become more confident, and 75% said they now feel comfortable accessing digital public services using their smartphone.

But it also showed that nearly 50% of citizens with full access to the internet access public services online at most a few times a year.

The report suggests the lack of public engagement with online services is due to their variable quality. 15% said they have had to repeat using a service because they were unable to resolve an issue in a single interaction, and 33% have experienced services that are only nominally digitised, still requiring them to submit a paper form, make a phone call or visit a location.

This prompted the support of 73% for the introduction of a government digital identity solution to reduce the number of steps.

The survey also revealed that 43% are now more confident in government’s ability to handle citizen data than before the pandemic, but 80% said that would feel more comfortable if there was greater transparency around the use of their data and complex technologies.

Warning against complacency

Rob Shuter, CEO of BT Enterprise, said: “This report highlights that people’s confidence in using digital public services has grown substantially since the COVID-19 pandemic, but we can’t afford to stall on the progress made. 

“For the UK to gain its position as a truly world-leading digital government, it must supercharge its efforts to provide citizens with a seamless digital experience. This starts with ensuring government bodies have the strongest connectivity, followed by a suite of integrated digital services that are easy to use, reliable, secure and ultimately provide a better quality of outcome for everyone.”

Image from iStock, ipopba

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