Rethinking e-Government Services

User-Centred Approaches

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Expecting substantial savings and improved public services – a trend further accentuated by the financial and economic crisis beginning in 2008 – OECD countries have invested in the development of e-government services over the past 10-15 years. However, despite the initial exceptional take-up, governments later saw low adoption and low use of e-government services which are still far from satisfactory today.

This report gives a broad description of the shift in governments' focus on e-government development –  from a government-centric to a user-centric approach. It gives a comprehensive overview of challenges to user take-up of e-government services in OECD countries and of the different types of approaches to improving it. The monitoring and evaluation of user take-up are also discussed, including the existence of formal measurement frameworks. Good practices are presented to illustrate the different concrete approaches used by OECD countries.


A Paradigm Shift Towards Citizen Centricity

For many years the use of information and communication technology (ICT) has been seen as the “silver bullet” that could improve the performance of the public sector and its service delivery. However, the adoption and use of e-government services (also known as user take-up of e-government services) remain low and far from satisfactory today. This report will analyse why ICT has not proved to be the silver bullet governments hoped for and will showcase the approaches and good practices that OECD countries have used to address lagging user take-up. The historic focus on technology has overshadowed the organisational, structural, and cultural changes needed in the public sector. In the process of rendering internal government functions and processes efficient and effective, users were often forgotten. This lead to a significant change of focus and approach in the mid-2000s, from government centricity prioritising outcomes for governments, to user centricity prioritising outcomes for users of public services. A paradigm shift government centricity to user centricity raises the question of whether e-government activities contribute to the creation of broader public welfare: does e-government create welfare for all – meaning the public sector itself as well as its users? Shifting towards citizen centricity with the goal of increasing user take-up in order to create public welfare is about balancing outcomes (large user take-up and satisfaction) with improving the cost-effectiveness of the public sector as a whole.


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