Public want more from online government services, reveals Deloitte

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Online government services are proving popular but more must be done to reassure the public about data security according to a survey by Deloitte, the business advisory firm, and polling company YouGov.

The survey, of 5,180 UK adults, found that 88% of people are open to accessing services online and 78% of people have used an existing service. Just 3% said they prefer to access services exclusively offline.

59% said they would like to pay fines, bills and taxes online, but just 39% of people currently do, suggesting there is demand for more online options. 46% said they want to book appointments online, with only 20% currently doing so.

Support and instructions for using online services is in demand. 42% of respondents said that clearer instructions would encourage them to use more digital services and 18% wanted telephone helplines available to support them.

However, the public have reservations about the security of online services. 17% of people say they avoid using online services because they do not want to share data online. Among those who say they prefer exclusively offline access, 42% said data sharing was the main barrier.

Just 18% of respondents said that sharing their data across government would lead to improved government services and 20% said that taxpayers’ money would be saved. However, 33% said they believe their data would be misused.

75% of people say strong data security is the most important feature of online government services, ahead of being simple to use (70%), saving time (68%) and saving money (66%). Just 9% of respondents said they have confidence in government’s ability to deliver IT projects on time and 6% believe they can be delivered on budget

Joel Bellman, public sector director at Deloitte, said:

“People want government services that are safe, simple, affordable and able to save them time and money. This research shows that there is clear appetite to engage with government online, but a lot of work to do to ensure digital services are accessible and trusted.

“To truly realise its ‘digital by default’ goal, government needs to build trust and offer online services, with support available, that are so well-designed that people opt to use them instead of offline alternatives. Online services should be intuitive and should bring government closer to people so they make a deliberate choice to adopt them.

“There are significant levels of concerns over government’s ability to keep citizen data safe and deliver IT projects successfully. More must be done to assure the public that government can keep data secure, will not misuse it and is capable of digital delivery. As it stands, trust in government is a major barrier to the adoption of online services.”

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