E-Government survey by Entrust: Only one fifth of Germans rate experiences with digital government services positively

July 6, 2023

74 percent of all official matters in Germany are still clarified on site, over the phone or by post

Entrust, a leader in trusted identities, payments and digital infrastructure, has published the results of a new survey on the interaction between governments and their citizens (G2C). More than 3,500 people in six countries (Germany, USA, Australia, Canada, France and the UK) were surveyed.

The survey provides insight into the current state of e-government and identifies issues that need to be addressed. Among other things, it became clear that the use of digital government services is only associated with positive experiences for 52 percent of the public surveyed worldwide – with the results in Germany still considerably lower.

Germany brings up the rear when it comes to e-government
Only just under 21 percent in Germany report positive experiences with digital government services, and almost 30 percent even rate them as decidedly negative. 67 percent cannot see any improvement since the pandemic.
As a result, half of Germans (49 percent) currently handle less than a quarter of their official matters digitally.[1]

People today have become accustomed to the speed and convenience of e-commerce and increasingly expect a similar level of service in all areas of life – including dealing with public authorities. Currently, however, long waiting times and unclear instructions lead to dissatisfaction here.

Web portals, telephone and mobile apps rank at the top of the wish list of preferred contact channels with public authorities worldwide (see figure in the attached PDF). However, the reality in Germany so far looks completely different: A quarter of all respondents (24 per cent) in this country went to the authorities themselves last year to clarify official matters. Only 13 per cent said they handled more than half of their interactions via web portals or mobile apps. Worldwide, the figure is already 48 percent.
[1] The most important reason for contact with authorities worldwide is tax matters and the issuing of new identity cards, passports or driving licences. The majority of people have two to five interactions with authorities per year.

Dissatisfaction of citizens with the services offered
The results of the survey highlight the need for public authorities to offer their citizens more flexible and user-friendly ways to interact and improve service delivery.

“Government agencies often lag behind private sector offerings due to outdated systems, budget constraints, the proliferation of different solution providers and ever-increasing cyber threats,” explains Jenn Markey, Vice President of Product Marketing, Payments & Identity at Entrust. “During the pandemic, we also saw accelerated digitisation in this area, but there is still much to do. In particular, the focus now is on making digital interactions easier to use and more secure.”

Key factors for the success of digital services
According to the survey, three key factors are considered paramount when interacting with public authorities:
Convenience (50 per cent in Germany, 55 per cent of all respondents worldwide): Citizens want services available at all times, without long waiting times.
Secure, simple and convenient methods for identity verification (in Germany 42 percent, worldwide 53 percent of all respondents): Registration procedures for access to digital offerings should be responsive to individual preferences.
High level of data protection (in Germany 50 percent, worldwide 49 percent of all respondents): Given the increase in cyber attacks in both the public and private sectors, it is crucial for citizens to know that their data is secure.

Entrust enables user-friendly e-government services by ensuring trusted identities and transactions. This enables government departments and agencies to seamlessly and securely register and engage their citizens in their service offerings, issue or control citizen ID cards, and accelerate service delivery. For more information, visit https://www.entrust.com/solutions/secure-digital-citizen-interactions .

Survey methodology
In order to identify citizens’ experiences and preferences in relation to their interaction with public authorities, Entrust commissioned an independent research company in May 2023. Over 3,501 online surveys were completed by people aged between 18 and 75 residing in Germany, Australia, Canada, France, the UK and the US. Respondents had to have interacted with the government in the last 12 months.

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