Expectations high, but trust low on digital government services

More than 80 per cent of Australians expect most government services to be available online over the next five years but almost half baulk at providing personal data, a new report says.

John O’Mahoney

The report, Digital smart: Accelerating digital government for citizens in the Asia-Pacific conducted by Deloitte for cloud computing company VMware, highlights the latest trends in digital government services across APAC.

The report found citizens are more engaged than ever and have increasingly complex needs for governments to service.

But it also showed many remain uneasy about sharing private information, although 55 per cent say they’re willing to provide personal data if it makes accessing services easier.

“While this finding does indicate there’s some level of unease among Australians, it presents a huge opportunity for government to seek new ways to innovate, better educate and communicate the efforts they will be bringing to deliver digital government services more efficiently and safely,”  the report’s author John O’Mahoney told Government News.

“It reinforces the need for governments to build trust with citizens and … instil confidence that they have robust cyber governance in place.”

Digital services not yet accessible for all

Mr O’Mahoney said while the report shows citizens have high expectations about digital government services and are likely to demand greater digitisation, many still need help when it comes to accessing them.

“Interestingly, we were surprised at the finding that almost 30 per cent, or three out of ten Australians, require assistance to access digital government services,” he said.

“While this is low relative to other markets in the study, it does point to the fact that there is much work to do for Australian government agencies, to design and develop services with a citizen-customer mindset to make it easy and seamless for citizens.”

There is much work to do for Australian government agencies, to design and develop services with a citizen-customer mindset to make it easy and seamless for citizens

John O’Mahoney

Mr O’Mahoney says government has a challenging task ahead to meet the high expectations of citizens, and building trust and improving digital inclusivity could take some time to realise.

“That said, the digital government ‘race’ to lead the world in terms of their capability is expected to continue as they pursue opportunities to not only increase the number of digitised government services but design them to be more citizen-focused.

Brad Anderson

The report shows that interaction between citizens and the government across the region is increasing, with almost 80 per cent of Asia-Pacific citizens expecting to access government services digitally in five years’ time, and more than two-thirds expecting government services to be on par with the private sector.

VMware’s Vice President Managing Director ANZ Brad Anderson said government made significant strides in digital services during the pandemic, but there is still a long way to go.

“This report shows there’s still a large gap that needs to be addressed urgently to ensure equitable access to services for all Australians,” he said.

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