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Australia unconvinced by digital service advantages

A survey commissioned by the Digital Transformation Office that shows the government has significant work ahead of it to convince the community that digital services, and the savings they bring, are a good thing for the country.

But for those that are on board with the digital agenda, expectations on government services are high — and currently they’re not meeting the bar set by the private sector.

Just a month after its official launch, the DTO has put Commonwealth service delivery on notice with the release of a baseline for its new Digital Transformation Index.

To get the DTI baseline, the DTO commissioned a community survey and found greater confidence amount small business than the general public in government digital services.

Small business was also more supportive of moving towards virtually all government interactions using digital options, with 57% in favour. The general public was a bit more tepid to the idea, with only 48% either strongly or somewhat agreeing to that vision.

Dissatisfaction with being forced into digital services climbs steadily with age of the customer.

“Prefer not to” or “Will not” use digital channels to interact with federal government agencies currently – by age.
“Prefer not to” or “Will not” use digital channels to interact with federal government agencies currently – by age.

The aim of the survey and the new DTI baseline is to see community confidence in digital options for Commonwealth service delivery increase as the DTO gets to work helping agencies put the user’s needs first. The first progress report against this new baseline is due at the end of this year.

In a blog post on Friday, the DTO talked up the support it did find. It identified five key takeaways from the survey:

  1. The basics aren’t bad, but we’re not meeting the private sector bar.
  2. It’s official: people want us to be online.
  3. But are we ready for a primarily digital world? Not quite for everyone … especially those aged over 65.
  4. Used online government services before? You’re more likely to want more.
  5. Do you think we can do it? Somewhat, just over half think so.

The DTI baseline survey sampled 1200 general community members and 300 small and micro businesses to create a score out of 100 reflecting the “mood” of the Australian community towards digital service delivery.

Satisfaction with having to interact with federal government agencies primarily using digital options 15 points
Current preference for using digital methods to interact with federal government agencies 15 points
Agreement that it is possible to successfully do all interactions with the federal government using digital options 10 points
Confidence in being able to do all necessary basic transactions with the federal government using digital options 10 points
Confidence in being able to use digital options to get all necessary detailed and personally relevant information needed from the federal government 10 points
Confidence that federal government digital options can be accessed anywhere, anytime, and at the lowest cost 10 points
Comparison of websites and digital services provided by the federal government to those run by companies and other organisations 10 points
Overall satisfaction with federal government digital information and services 20 points
Maximum Total DTI Score 100 points
The Digital Transformation Index baseline was calculated by averaging the individual survey results: 52 out of 100 for general community, 55 out of 100 for small business.
The Digital Transformation Index baseline was calculated by averaging the individual survey results: 52 out of 100 for general population, 55 out of 100 for small business.

The report produced by market researcher David Bruce described the DTI as a supplement to agenda-specific data, but with a focus on monitoring how well these services are collectively delivered against needs and expectations.

Author Bio

Harley Dennett

Harley Dennett is editor at The Mandarin based in Canberra. He's held communications roles in the New South Wales public sector and Defence, and been a staff reporter for newspapers in Sydney and Washington DC.