How do Australians really feel about digital government services?

Our mission is to put people first.

We want to make government processes less complicated and less stressful for people; and as public servants, we have an ethical obligation to deliver the best quality service in the quickest possible time.

But do people actually want their services delivered digitally? How comfortable are they with technology? What do people expect when they interact with government? And do Australians have confidence in the government to deliver great services digitally?

We set out to take a snapshot of what Australians really think about government services, a ‘baseline’ measurement that will allow us to track community sentiment and perceptions over time.

We surveyed 1,200 individuals and 300 small businesses across the country to get the low-down.

The results aren’t surprising. In fact, it has confirmed what we’ve known for a while. But coupled with the measurement of user satisfaction at the services level, this should help us to build a long-term picture of how we’re progressing towards digital transformation.

What we found

The basics aren’t bad, but we’re not meeting the private sector bar

Most people and businesses (77% and 78% respectively) agree they can do basic transactions with federal government via digital options. But only 60% of people and 67% of businesses agree they can successfully do all their interactions with digital options. There’s still a long way to go, with only 7% describing digital services as a superior way to deal with government; and to confirm what we already know, more than 35% of people and 23% of businesses highlighted the gap that’s evident when government services are compared to those provided by the private sector.

It’s official: People want us to be online

Data shows most people are comfortable with using digital channels to interact with federal government agencies, and more than a third said it was most preferred, or one of their preferred, channels. This ratio was even higher for small businesses, at 45%.

But are we ready for a primarily digital world? Not quite for everyone…

The majority of those surveyed supported a model where most interactions with federal government were digital. Around 66% of individuals and 75% of small businesses were okay with the idea. Unsurprisingly however, the older you are, the more opposed you are likely to be this concept. The number of those who ‘prefer not to’ or ‘will not use’ digital channels to interact with government was as high as 54% in people aged over 65. People in remote or rural areas were also less likely to support a digital transformation of government services.

Used online government services before? You’re more likely to want more.

We found a very strong link between those already using the government digital services available and those who were comfortable moving primarily to digital government. In other words, people who already use services available are more likely to be comfortable interacting with government digitally in future.

Do you think we can do it?

While 74% of people are at least somewhat confident in their own ability to use digital channels, their faith in government to deliver information and services effectively through digital channels is lower. Just over 60% are confident the federal government can offer a safe and secure digital channel for transactions, but we have the confidence of just over half the population to meet all of their needs for information and transactions using mainly digital methods .

The Future

On the whole, the majority of individuals and small businesses are open and are positive towards moving to digital government services. But our opportunity for improvement is immense; there is a long road ahead to delivering excellent digital government services and building the community’s confidence in our ability to do so.

For those who are already comfortable with technology, we want to harness that, progress the digital transformation agenda and increase user satisfaction over time. But perhaps the most significant challenge for us is to effectively work with those people and businesses who are not currently using digital services and are wary of shifting to government digital services. For these members of the community, it’s important to remember that we’re not just about digitising government services. We’re focused on making the whole process of dealing with government better for you, whether you’re reaching us by phone, in person or online.

Read the full version of the report (DOC 1.6 MB).

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