Accenture Survey Shows Australian Citizens Want Increased Access to Digital Public Services
Dec 8, 2015
Australian Small-Medium Businesses Agree
SYDNEY, Australia; Dec. 6, 2015 – The majority of Australian citizens surveyed by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) say they want more digital engagement with government, with more than half (57 per cent) stating they are currently dissatisfied with the availability of digital public services. Despite this clear demand for digital services, only one-third of surveyed citizens currently interact with the government digitally.
According to Accenture’s research, more than two-thirds (79 per cent) of Australians are not using digital services because they: are unaware about what services are available; have concerns about the amount of information that is requested to use digital services; or have experienced technical issues in accessing services.
Results from a separate survey of Australian small-medium businesses (SMBs) mirrored these findings. In that survey, 87 per cent of SMB respondents said they would prefer to interact with the government online, specifically through email and web-based applications. Almost 90 per cent of SMBs were open to the concept of a one-stop digital public service portal for services ranging from tax reporting and payments, to applying for licenses and grants.
“Governments and their agencies are under pressure - from citizens, businesses and from within – to transform public services,” said Catherine Garner, managing director of Accenture’s Health & Public Service business in Australia and New Zealand. “These findings highlight the need for public service providers to fill the gap between what citizens want from digital government and the services that are available.”
According to the Accenture survey, increased awareness, ease of access and interaction are the improvements most desired by citizens to increase their satisfaction with the digital services offered today. These are closely followed by assurances on data privacy and security and receiving prompt answers to their questions.
"The movement from one-size-fits-all to a personalised approach to improving digital services begins with knowing users well enough to understand and respond to their needs – not only at a single point in time, but continuously," Garner said.
“The concept of design-led innovation is realised through rapid prototyping, constant feedback and experimentation. Governments need to provide structures and policies that accept useful failures, or at the very least more experimentation. The challenge is to find creative ways to blend the digital and human elements of a service into a consistent experience,” she explained.
Accenture’s findings are consistent with a similar study published by the Australian government’s Digital Transformation Office (DTO), which found that 66 per cent of individuals and 75 per cent of small businesses supported a digitally oriented model of government interaction. Further highlighting the need for an improved engagement model to power digital transformation, the DTO survey also found that 35 per cent of individuals and 23 per cent of businesses emphasised the gap between what citizens want from what is available when government services are compared to those provided by the private sector. This highlights the need for an improved model for digital government interaction and community support to enable the digital transformation.
“Our research found that government organisations can benefit from a more intimate understanding of their citizens and other end users that can help them to deliver services faster, collaborate more widely and seek the continuous feedback design-led approach,” said Garner. “Forward looking agencies are identifying options, like a design-led approach, that can help them move towards more personalised, secure and productive digital interactions between citizens and businesses.”
Citizen results are part of a seven-country public service survey of more than 6,600 citizens, including more than 500 Australian citizens, conducted by Market Strategy Group. Fairfax conducted online interviews with 31 SMBs in July 2015.
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