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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.

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Improving User Take-up

Some Cross-cutting Trends

Governments recognise that providing e-government services is not enough: these services also need to be used by the public. Making the public sector more efficient and effective, and at the same time providing services that citizens and businesses want to use, has over the years been seen as two diametrically opposed goals, but this is not necessarily the case. The goals are complementary in nature and are each their own prerequisites: this is the essence of the paradigm shift from a government-centric to a user-centric service delivery approach. Looking at service delivery from a user’s point of view suddenly puts new demands on the public sector as a service provider. Some OECD countries have grasped this and have transformed – or are in the process of transforming – their public sectors accordingly to enable the delivery of integrated services. This demands strong political and managerial leadership, and a will to change traditional administrative and cultural thinking within the public sector as a whole and among civil servants. Other cross-cutting experiences show that successful user-focused e-government programmes include: organising government websites simply; creating the same “look and feel”; focusing on “killer applications”; ensuring relevance of services provided; and engaging in inclusive service design. The focus on becoming usercentric and innovative in service delivery suggests the need for governments to set up frameworks for designing, developing and delivering innovative and fully integrated services, whether on- or offline – an issue to be further explored in the future.

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