The United Nations E-Government Survey 2014 report was released earlier this month. The survey seeks to assess the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to transform the public sector. Governments of the world are ranked on two main indices. Where do you think Singapore stands? Not too shabby, it seems, not too shabby at all.
This is a ranking of e-government, the digital interactions between governments and their people. The survey assesses how governments use ICT to improve efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, access to public services.
The two indices used are the E-Government Development Index (EGDI) and E-Participation Index (EPI).
- EGDI measures the willingness and capacity of governments to use information and communication technologies to deliver public services.
- EPI focuses on governments’ use of online services to facilitate provision of information to citizens, interaction with stakeholders, and engagement in decision-making processes.
In this 2014 report, Singapore is ranked 3rd in the world in EGDI, behind the Republic of Korea and Australia. Our EPI ranking stands at 10th in the world.
The last survey was in 2012, where Singapore was ranked 10th in EGDI and 3rd in EPI. Our e-government development has climbed 7 places, but at the same time e-participation dropped 7 places.
Considering the 193 member states in the United Nations, we seem to be doing pretty good. Our lead in e-government development is contributed by our high human development index and high gross national income, which enabled the government to develop many G2C, G2B, and G2G services (Government to Citizens, Businesses and Government, respectively).
Looking into the details that contribute to the primary indices, I was surprised that we are apparently a very online nation. We are ranked 2nd globally in the Online Service Index.
The report cited a government service, OneInbox, as one of our government’s inclusive multichannel service delivery channels. I think many of us are probably not aware of this service. This is the official Government platform where individuals and businesses can receive all their government-related correspondences electronically, in place of hardcopy letters. Do you know about it? Well, sadly, there aren’t many government agencies actually participating in it. According to information I gleam from OneInbox, these are the only agencies we can receive letters from:
- Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB)
- Housing and Development Board (HDB)
- Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)
- Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
The idea of an official government inbox is really neat. But they’ve certainly got much more to work on, not just solicit participation from their own agencies, but also raising awareness to citizens.
Many of us have probably come to take them for granted, but it’s truly a blessing that many government services are accessible online. All of us must be using one e-service or other. Income tax perhaps? I’ve got to commend IRAS for even going beyond electronic fax filing, to no filing. It’s great to see government agencies willing to move forward and break out of traditionally ways of providing services.
Great job for ranking 3rd globally in e-government!