5 May 2021
Phillipa Martin

Citizen expectations for government digital services

Last week, Boston Consulting Group and Salesforce released a joint report, the Trust Imperative 2. The report looks at digital services in government, and is based on a survey of 3000 citizens and 24 government leaders in Australia and New Zealand. (You may also be interested in the first report, The Trust Imperative.) 

The Trust Imperative 2 correlates people’s perceptions of digital delivery to the level of trust they have in government. In fact, 90% of respondents felt their digital service experience influenced their trust in government.

Some of the report’s other key findings are:

  • Over 90% of respondents expect Australia’s and NZ’s digital services to be on par or better than the best government digital services in the world
  • 20% expect government digital services to be on par with digital leaders like Amazon, Facebook and Google
  • 50-55%  expect government digital services to be at the same level as top private sector companies
  • 76% expect tailored digital services from government
  • 87% expect governments to be proactive with digital delivery
  • 40% felt digital government services are improving

Building on the COVID momentum 

COVID has provided governments around the world with the opportunity to showcase their digital services and/or forced them to rapidly improve digital offerings. The Trust Imperative 2 notes that governments with digital maturity were able to quickly adapt and deliver high quality digital services.  

The report cites the NSW Department of Customer Service as an example of a state/government with mature digital services that was able to respond quickly to COVID. “They deployed new and updated services, leveraged cloud-based digital infrastructure, analysed real-time data, and used behavioural insights to transform their services quickly and efficiently.” (p.11) This success could be seen in the survey’s results, with 62% of NSW citizens saying their digital experiences had increased their overall trust in government. (Congrats to NSW Customer Service, which happens to be a Salsa client — see NSW Customer Service case study.)

Not surprisingly, the report also found that from March 2020 to March 2021, more people interacted with government services online. 

Technology shifts

The Trust Imperative 2 also recommends government makes two major shifts:

  1. From disparate legacy technology systems to a whole-of-government modern technology stack (definitely close to Salsa’s heart! — look at GovCMS and SDP)
  2. From large tech systems to modular platforms to drive innovation

The report goes on to detail some specific actions governments can take to make these shifts, including:  de-risking project delivery through automation, an agile methodology and user-centred design; building inclusive digital services; building internal digital teams; adopting new processes; and working across agency boundaries (rather than within traditional government silos).   

Three ‘digital imperatives’ for government

The Trust Imperative 2 identified three ‘digital imperatives’ for governments:

  1. The trust imperative, to build citizens’ trust and confidence in government 
  2. The personalisation imperative, to target digital services to citizens’ needs
  3. The platform imperative, so governments can deliver services faster and at reduced costs

Salsa Digital’s take

The Trust Imperative 2 provides an excellent insight into citizen expectations around digital service delivery in government. It also includes several strategies governments can use to help them deliver high quality digital services. From our work ‘in the trenches’ it’s great to see many government agencies and jurisdictions around Australia already following these strategies and well on the way to delivering exceptional digital experiences.