The way European governments try to save money and improve the delivery of public services conforms to national stereotypes, according to a new Europe-wide study done for supplier Logica.
France favours big projects such as its Chorus, a government-wide financial management system based on SAP, for instance, while the efficient Germans have many projects that aim for simplification. The UK, which the survey's authors, consultants PAC (Pierre Audoin Consultants), characterises as "pragmatic" in its approach to e-government, meanwhile, has concentrated on outsourcing as a way of conserving cash. Further north, Sweden has tried to increase its competitiveness through digital skills and jobs, while Finland has focused on shared services and sees IT providing economic growth. The Netherlands. by contrast, has an e-government strategy that seeks a stronger role for citizen rights.
All governments say they are changing the way they deliver services to their citizens and 29% of those surveyed felt that in five years time self-service online will be the main means of citizen interaction with government, with face-to-face meetings, post and email lower at around 20%.
The survey - Transforming Government - is claimed to be the first study of public sector transformation in the region. It looks at best practice across Europe, taking in the views of over 180 public servants and policy makers in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Netherlands and Finland.
"ìWe all recognise the UKís requirement for increasing efficiency and reducing cost in public sector but this research provides an opportunity to look at how similar challenges are being tackled across Europe," says Nigel Kirby-Green, Managing Director of UK Public Sector at Logica.
"It seems that whilst each nation has taken a different approach to transforming government they are all striving for the same end goals. These differences provide an interesting comparison of the role of technology and innovation in achieving better service," he added.