8 December 2014

The United Kingdom is hosting the inaugural D5 summit in London this week. The British Government has invited South Korea, Estonia, Israel and New Zealand as world leaders in providing digital public services – the newly coined D5. This may involve a degree of self-aggrandisement.  Of the D5, only South Korea, United Kingdom and New Zealand feature in the leading ten countries in the 2014 United Nations e-Government Report. Neither Australia (2nd) nor Singapore (3rd) seem to be taking part.

Encouraged by the Summit, the D5 countries have indicated an intention of working together to explore and share new and more citizen-centric ways of providing transformational public services.

The United Kingdom Government promotion of its digital public services claims a high take up of its “simpler, clearer and faster online services” – yet the UK has slipped from 3rd to 8th place on the e-government leader board in the last two years. It is proud of the gov.uk website as the access point to services, which received the Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award in 2013, a first for a government website.

2014 United Nations World e-Government Leaders

2014 Rank 2012 Rank
South Korea  1  1
Australia  2 12
Singapore  3 10
France  4  6
Netherlands  5  2
Japan  2 18
United States  7  5
United Kingdom  8  3
New Zealand  9 13
Finland 10  9

New Zealand was ranked among the 25 countries rated very high on the e-Government Development Index but was not among the eight countries that scored more that 66.6% for the four stages of e-Government participation assessed for the UN Report. It is among the 46 scoring more than 66.6% for whole of government participation. New Zealand has been recognised for an “all of government” approach that includes cloud  computing – the g-cloud – the latest trend for building upon whole of government initiatives (evident also in Singapore) according to the UN Expert Group Meeting Report 2013 on Collaborative Governance.

Among the many measures in the UN Report is an assessment of online services.  A number of countries, well rated for online services, are slower in developing the transactional services seen as essential for transformational e-government.

2014 UN World Online Service Delivery 

France  1
Singapore  2
South Korea  3
Japan  4
Spain  5
United States  6
Bahrain  7
Australia  8
Netherlands  9
Canada 10
United Kingdom 11
United Arab Emirates 12
Israel 13
Uruguay 14
New Zealand 15
Chile 16
Colombia 17
Estonia 18
Finland 19
Saudi Arabia 20

What is novel in the e-government pecking order is how Scandinavian countries which rate highly in almost every measure relating to good government are not prominent in the provision of on-line services. This is despite the populations of Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland being identified in 2012 as the most likely in the OECD to interact with public authorities, through the internet.  New Zealanders were 12th.