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Tech & Digitalisation

Digital Government Performance and Activity

Explainer11th November 2017

United Nations E-Government Survey (2016) [_]

Measures the availability and use of e-government. Indices of online services, human capital and telecommunications infrastructure are combined into an overall e-government development index.

Figure 1

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World Economic Forum Networked Readiness Index (2016) [_]

Measures the broad capacity of countries to leverage ICT for increased competitiveness and wellbeing, via a composite measure including aspects of the business environment, technology readiness, usage and impact.

Figure 2

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European Commission Digital Economy and Society Index (2016) [_]

Measures the progress of EU member states across five main dimensions: connectivity, human capital / digital skills, use of the internet, integration of digital technologies and digital public services.

Figure 3

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Digital Evolution Index (2017) [_]

Measures digital development via four key drivers: supply conditions, demand conditions, institutional environment and innovation and change.

Figure 4

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A selection of highlights for selected countries is provided below.

A selection of highlights for selected countries is provided below. This list is focused primarily on Western Europe and North America and is by no means exhaustive, but should provide a good sense of the state of play.

  • The UK government established the Government Digital Service (GDS) in 2011, operating as a centre of excellence and helping departments to build their own platforms, standards and digital services.[_]GDS was pivotal in the design and deployment of GOV.UK, and more broadly has played a positive role in changing the way that digital and technology are talked about in central government. Other important elements of the UK landscape include the Open Data Institute, the Alan Turing Institute and Tech City UK.[_] [_] [_]

  • The Estonian government is often hailed as a pioneer of digital government. As well as moving services like tax online, the government has deployed distributed database technologies to securely link public data, electronic IDs and internet voting, and digital health records that are owned by citizens.[_] Estonia also offers e-residency to entrepreneurs from around the world, and has established data embassies that would allow the government to reboot quickly in the event of a large-scale crisis.

  • The Danish government has opened an embassy in Silicon Valley, and appointed a technology ambassador to form better links between the government and large global technology companies.[_]

  • The Norwegian government launched the Digital Agenda for Norway to deal explicitly with challenges facing the public and private sectors with respect to productivity, restructuring and rationalisation.[_] Their strategy brings together digital public services, digital skills and technology for productivity, and information security. Uptake of services like common login, electronic forms and online tax returns are all high.

  • The US government has a number of digital initiatives in play. These include 18F, an office based in the General Services Administration and hosting the Presidential Innovation Fellows, and the United States Digital Service (USDS), which is part of the Executive Office of the President. 18F is focused on helping government agencies to build, buy and share technology projects, and has been an important driver of culture change and transparency.[_] USDS is focused on assuring large-scale technology projects, particularly in the wake of serious problems encountered with[_]

  • The Canadian government launched the Canadian Digital Service in 2017, with a mission to modernise the way the government designs and delivers digital services. This includes a remit to build capacity and provide advice to federal organisations.[_]

The New Zealand government’s digital transformation programme has built a range of services that cut bureaucracy and better meet user needs.[_] This includes an opt-in digital identity service (which can be used to sign in to government services and for identity verification), personalised and one-stop digital services based around life events, and data sharing between government organisations.


  1. 1.

    UN e-Government Survey 2016

  2. 2.

    WEF Networked Readiness Index 2016

  3. 3.

    EC Digital Economy and Society Index 2016

  4. 4.

    Digital Planet / Digital Evolution Index 2017

  5. 5.

    About the Government Digital Service

  6. 6.

    About the Open Data Institute

  7. 7.

    About the Turing Institute

  8. 8.

    About Tech City UK

  9. 9.


  10. 10.

    Tech Ambassador of Denmark

  11. 11.

    Digital Agenda for Norway

  12. 12.

    About 18F

  13. 13.

    United States Digital Service: Our mission

  14. 14.

    Canadian Digital Service: What we do

  15. 15.

    New Zealand Government ICT strategy

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