Brussels, 18 February 2004
Re-organisation of public administrations boosts the quality of online services
Public administrations that combine the use of information and communication technologies to deliver new services with the substantial reorganisation of the way they work get higher appreciation ratings from business and citizens. This finding emerges from a recently published survey: "Reorganisation of Government Back Offices for Better Electronic Public Services European Good Practices". Better results are due to the fact that reorganisation reduces costs, increases productivity, and provides flexibility and simpler organisational structures. This also helps to improve how systems work together across the administration and can improve the working environment for staff. The practical results for the public and for businesses are fewer visits to administrations, together with faster, cheaper, more accessible and efficient services. Benefits are also reflected in fewer errors, more openness, easier to use systems and greater user control.
Erkki Liikanen, Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society, said: "The success of eGovernment depends on the right combination of ICT, re-organisation and training. This survey provides a helpful guide for public administrations wanting to improve the quality and the take up of their own on-line public services through back-office re-organisation".
Examples of good practice included substantial savings in enrolment in higher education in Finland and the UK. In the Finnish case, self-service by students accessing the on-line service has reduced the burden imposed by enrolment on administrative staff. In the University of Helsinki alone, this has reduced the number of desk visitors by about 16,000 per annum.
The design of a Danish citizens' portal makes it easier to measure benefits. The most common result is that the technology itself may give 20% of a given saving while the redesign of organisational processes provides the remaining 80% of the saving.
The survey includes 29 in-depth "best practice" case studies. It was financed by the European Commission as a part of the 'benchmarking' of eEurope. It complements work which has focused on the roll-out of electronic public services (i.e. the so-called 'front-office' as seen by the user), by trying to look at the impact of reorganisation by government (in the 'back-office') to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by information and communications technologies. This study draws on a large scale survey of EU Member States (plus Iceland, Norway and the European Commission itself) looking at common list of 20 basic public services which under the eEurope Action Plan should be available on line.
The 29 in-depth case studies provide an excellent basis for comparing and analysing good practice in eGovernment. The emphasis is on the exchange of experiences and good ideas rather than direct replication. The survey offers a set of recommendations to public online service providers for the further development of eGovernment.
The survey is available at:
Commission Communication on eGovernment:
Related Conclusions of the Telecommunications Council of 20 November 2003: