Majority of Australians approve of online government services

14 July 2021 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read

The vast majority of Australians approve of the government’s digital services portals according to a new survey from ICT consultancy Infosys, although there’s still room for improvement.

As part of its program to overhaul online government services, the Digital Transformation Agency has in recent times handed out tens of millions worth of contracts to some of the world’s biggest consulting firms. And while the Australian government often draws criticism for its outsourcing largesse, a new survey from IT professional services firm Infosys has found that the overwhelming majority of consumers in Australia give their tick of approval to the results.

Amid a backdrop of Covid-19 and widespread stay-at-home orders, Infosys questioned 2,500 Australian and New Zealand consumers on a variety of matters relating to digital government services, with four out of five believing that government websites, apps and platforms are superior to or at least as good as those they encounter from private sector businesses. Altogether, 80 percent of respondents had also increased their use of such services over the past year.

Increased use of government digital services

“With millions of Australians and New Zealanders now accessing government services through digital channels, it’s a significant achievement to see satisfaction levels are on par and sometimes better than their experiences with private sector applications,” commented Infosys Senior Vice President and Regional Head for Australia and New Zealand, Andrew Groth.

For those who had increased their use of government digital services and expressed satisfaction, the most common reason cited was the time saved, at almost 40 percent. An almost equal number stated that they had more confidence in themselves to use such services, while more than a third found the services easier to use (only 8 percent found them less so). In addition, close to a fifth of respondents had an increased trust in the systems. Still, most agreed there was still room for improvement.

Reasons for using online government services

Chief among suggestions for improvement were the addition of more services and their availability in different languages, attracting upwards of 70 percent in both instances. Over a half also expressed a wish for a single login point across platforms, a feature that the government is pushing toward with its Digital Identity program. Further, the survey respondents largely agreed that digital services should be more inclusive to support those with a disability or low digital literacy.

Despite the widespread approval for online services, over one quarter of respondents stated that they would likely return to using government services in person or the phone when these became available again following the disruption of Covid-19, with a surprising 35 percent of those aged between 18 and 24 saying they had missed human services the most. Overall, the close majority said they want their digital services to feel ‘human’ and show ‘empathy’.

“Continuing to evolve user experiences, particularly among diverse audience groups, will be critical to creating truly inclusive digital services as well as help convert those who currently prefer non-digital channels. This includes finding new ways to connect citizens with government services, enriching their lives through data and reimagining the human experience of both digital and physical touch-points,” Groth concluded.