Services meeting citizen needs would improve opinion of government
ARLINGTON, Va.; Dec. 8, 2015 – Citizens in the United States are experiencing a digital disconnect, looking for greater digital interaction and increased access to services than what is currently being provided by state governments, new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN) shows.
While 42 percent of respondents reported that a majority of their government interactions were addressed digitally, 86 percent of these respondents said they would like to at least maintain and hopefully increase those interactions. Only one in four (27 percent) reported being satisfied with current government digital offerings and 28 percent said they were dissatisfied, according to survey results.
In fact, according to the survey results, more than nine in 10 citizens (92 percent) said improved digital services would positively impact their view of government. Nearly three fourths (73 percent) said increased digital services gives the impression that government is forward thinking, while 72 percent said expanded digital services would both increase their overall satisfaction with government and increase their willingness to engage, results showed.
One of the first steps governments can take to a better public perception is simply promoting services currently available on a digital platform. More than half of respondents (51 percent) said the biggest obstacle to connected services is simply not knowing what services can be accessed online or through a mobile application.
Accenture conducted an online survey of 1,095 U.S. voting-age citizens (18 to 61 years old) to determine current levels of digital engagement, the current state of service offerings and use and interest in additional services. All 50 states and the District of Columbia are represented. More than 6,600 citizens in Australia, France, Germany, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the U.S. participated in the survey worldwide.
“Governments have the opportunity to drive true public service transformation through digital technologies. We are at a pivotal juncture. Digital is more than a way to keep up with savvy citizens or streamline processes. It is a transformational tool that can be used to radically improve the delivery of citizen services and satisfaction,” said Steve Hurst, who leads Accenture’s Health & Public Service digital practice.
As Americans continue becoming increasingly mobile and tech-savvy, they expect government websites and digital capabilities to mirror those of the private sector. More than 70 percent of respondents said they expect interactions with government websites to have the same standards for quality and privacy/ security than their private sector counterparts, according to survey results. A little more than half (54 percent) cited poor website organization as a key obstacle to using government digital services; 39 percent cited inefficient search functions; and 39 percent cited poor website organization or too much information. Only 20 percent cite technology issues as preventing increased use of government sites.
“The good news for state and local governments is that the survey showed there is a strong unmet demand for the basics, a high-quality digital experience, one that is well organized, secure, easy to navigate and contains clear content,” Hurst said. “Something as simple as making it easy to pay a parking ticket online or using social media for emergency notifications will go a long way to increase citizen satisfaction.”
Neither technology nor age were significant factors in assessing government services. And while respondents across the age spectrum rely mainly on computers for access, there is growing demand for other platforms, such as mobile phones and tablets, survey results determined.
Hurst said government officials must shift the ways they deliver public services, including making it easier for citizens to fully complete interactions, offering end-to-end processes that are quick, easy and convenient and creating a single point of entry, with a single sign-on, to enable access to all digital services available across the whole of government.
Accenture determined the six characteristics of digital leaders through economic modeling that analyzed the impact of digitalization on the economy, workforce and innovation environment; a review of best practices at leading governments; information from documents proprietary to Accenture, including existing Delivering Public Service for the Future content and the 2014 Accenture Digital Citizen Pulse Survey. Citizen results are based on a sample of 6,624 citizens in the Australia, France, Germany, Singapore, UAE, the United Kingdom and the United States who completed an online survey in December 2014. The survey, conducted by Market Strategies Group, has a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
Learn more about Accenture’s work with public service agencies around the world and Delivering Public Service for the Future.
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With more than 358,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.
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