UK digital growth slows

The UK needs to up its game when it comes to digital skills and public services if it is to avoid falling behind other European countries, according to a new performance index released by the European Commission.

The 2016 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is an online tool to measure the progress of EU Member States as they move towards a digital economy and society.

The report claims that, while the UK ranks above the EU average, the score grew more slowly than that of the EU over the last year. That suggests the UK is a good performer but development is now slow and, as such, we are lagging in comparison to the progress of the EU as a whole.

Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland are leading the way, while Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Malta, Austria and Portugal are the fastest growing.

Apart from Sweden, all EU countries have improved their score, with the whole of Europe scoring 0.52 out of 1, an improvement from 0.5 in the previous year.


Digital Public Services

On the plus side, the results of the 2016 Digital Economy and Society Index show that the quality of European online public services improved, with an increase in the number of public services available online (score increase from 75 to 81), and in the reuse of user data already known to the public administration as a way of facilitating the delivery of online services (score increase from 45 to 49).

This improvement in the supply of online public services is contrasted by stagnation in the percentage of internet users interacting with the public administration. In 2015, only 32 per cent of internet users returned filled forms online to the public administration (i.e. have used online public services for more than just obtaining information).

Related reading