For the second consecutive year, Canada has emerged as the top-rated country in Accenture’s annual e-government study.
Rounding out the top five were Singapore, the United States, Australia, Denmark and the United Kingdom. The study found that the gap between Canada and Singapore is rapidly closing, however, with an overall score differential of less than one per cent.
Canada’s e-government initiatives focus on the importance of grouping online services around citizens’ and business’ needs and priorities, says Accenture. For example, the Canadian government launched a portal – www.gc.ca – in 2001 that provides a single point of access to 450 federal Web sites.
Overall, Accenture said governments, while moving slowly, are making positive strides in e-government. Countries such as France, Germany, Ireland and Hong Kong all made significant inroads.
Meanwhile, Canada retained its leadership position by focusing on several key areas. “Canada maintained its lead primarily due to (its) focus on being citizen-centred, as well as our collaborative approach across (all) levels of government and different departments,” said Graeme Gordon, partner in Accenture’s e-government practice in Ottawa.
But as many countries progress, so does the gap between the front running and also-ran countries in adopting e-government practises, Gordon said.
Where Canada is losing ground and Singapore is gaining momentum is in the complexity of services being offered. While the initial rush by governments was to publish content online, the transition now must be towards more than just the content itself, said Gordon.
Canada did move in the right direction last year with its Netfile offering that provided residents the option of filing their taxes online. Singapore’s government conversely created a portal for accessing government services and has since added capabilities to it.