Latest Capgemini benchmark shows rising maturity of online services throughout Europe
The UK government has received a plaudit from management consultancy Capgemini for the best performance in the EU in providing mobile-friendly websites.
The company’s annual Benchmark Measurement of European Government Services, released by the European Commission, says the UK is the only member state to provide mobile-friendly websites across domains, reflecting the fact that mobile internet usage is increasing faster than the EU average.
It attributes the achievement to the gov.uk portal being mobile-friendly, and says it compares against only one in four government websites around Europe meeting the demand.
Mobile friendliness is key because experience shows that once websites are designed for mobile the number of users increases exponentially. In the UK, for example, mobile usage went up from 10% to 25% of the total in the months after gov.uk replaced Directgov and provided a more adaptable design.
The UK also scored well on user-centricity of online government services, rating 73 out of 100 on a combination of availability, usability, ease and speed of use.
It also came in above the halfway mark on cross-border mobility, scoring 58 out of 100, but was lower on transparent government with 51 and key enablers with 50.
Neil van der Linden, managing consultant at Capgemini and one of the report’s authors, told UKAuthority: “The UK is progressing well in most areas but there is room for improvement. It’s around the average for Europe as a whole in its performance.
“Mobile is an important element in that, but there are others around the digitisation of government, such as authentication, where it needs to improve.” He added that the government’s Verify identity assurance programme should make a difference to improving the overall performance.
As examples of countries that have made more progress he pointed to Estonia, which has a digital infrastructure for many services and issues its citizens with digital identity cards, and Denmark, which is moving towards mandatory online services.
On an EU-wide scale, the report says that member states’ governments are becoming more digitally mature with an average score of 73. But they are only halfway to delivering fully open services and there are still many barriers in the way of the Digital Single Market.
“One of the features around the Digital Single Market is to find information on setting up a business in other countries, which should be a big advantage but we see it is more difficult,” van der Linden said. “It should be something they should focus on.”
The benchmark study involved surveying more than 10,000 websites across Europe, with a focus on the user experience through life events such as starting up a business, losing and finding jobs and studying.
It involved testing a number of online services that could come under the control of central or local government, depending on the country.
In March the European Commission published the Digital Economic and Society Index showing the UK was 10th among its 28 members in the provision of e-government and e-health services.
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