Survey: Citizens Favor a More Digital Government

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Most of the citizens polled thought digital services are as important or more important than traditional service delivery.

Citizens in several countries are placing increasing importance on how their governments deliver services, a survey released Thursday suggests.

The survey, conducted by professional services company Accenture, found 86 percent of citizens view digital delivery of public services “as equally or more important” than traditional methods of public service delivery. The survey polled some 6,000 citizens aged 18 or older from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Germany and Singapore in May about a variety of public service topics.

The survey suggests citizens are growing more comfortable engaging their governments through digital channels as opposed to through traditional brick-and-mortar channels, such as Social Security offices, which are staffed by customer service employees.

Regardless of channel, 44 percent of respondents said personalized services were their top priority when interacting with government, and a large number of those surveyed said they’re willing to provide personal or potentially sensitive data to improve that level of personalization.

Among the most interesting results:

  • More than 40 percent of those surveyed would willingly use internet-of-things devices to share personal data with the government to receive either discounts or improve services.
  • 73 percent of citizens would provide biometric data such as fingerprints, retinal scans or voice identification to government in exchange for more personalized services.
  • More than half of citizens (54 percent) would be willing to share their fingerprints for more personalized government services.
  • Americans were about 10 percent less likely than their global counterparts to share personal information to improve government service delivery.

Those polled also indicated citizens have an interest in artificial intelligence, and 51 percent support the new of new technologies like AI and virtual reality to improve government-related tasks such as job applications, visa and passport services, tax filings and student loans.

“As emerging technologies like AI, machine learning and robotics create a new reality for public services, citizens desire rapid government innovation,” said Mark Lyons, senior managing director at Accenture. “Public-sector employees will be a critical component to meeting that expectation and to advancing technology to better engage with citizens.”