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EU's 2021 eGovernment Benchmark report

The European Commission's eGovernment Benchmark report, published on 12 November 2021, examines public services in different areas of life. Switzerland has improved its overall performance but is still low in the ranking.

In the eGovernment Benchmark study, the European Commission looks at progress in the digitalisation of public services. The comparison uses the following indicators, which are derived from the EU's digital agenda: "user-friendliness", "transparency", "cross-border mobility" and "basic services" in eGovernment. These are assessed annually for the general public and business, on the basis of individual circumstances that make it necessary to interact with public authorities. In 2020, changes were made to the methodology and new or revised indicators were added (e.g. transparency of service design). The study covers all 27 EU member states plus Switzerland, Albania, Iceland, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Despite the improvement in overall performance, Switzerland remains low in the ranking

With an overall performance of 52.3% (EU 67.9%), Switzerland is ranked low, at 32 out of 36. Two years ago, the figure was 49.9% (EU 62%). Heading the pack in eGovernment are Malta (96.3%), Estonia (91.6%) and Denmark (85.4%). In these countries, the central governments coordinate with the regions and communes when setting up digital government services. However, Switzerland also measures up poorly when compared with similarly federally organised neighbours such as Austria (84.1%) and Germany (62.1%).

Action needed on basic services and transparency of eServices

As regards the use of basic services, the majority of European countries are much more advanced than Switzerland (CH 34%; EU 65.2%). In Switzerland, a state-recognised eID that could be used for digital identification when using eServices has yet to become established. Pre-filled forms with data from sources such as base registries (authentic sources) exist in only 12% (+4%) of the eServices examined (EU 61.5%). By using automatically pre-filled forms with data that the authorities already have from certain sources would drastically reduce the effort for the user (no need to make multiple entries, once-only principle) and the authorities (improved data quality).

As regards the transparency of eServices, Switzerland is constantly progressing (+3.5%) and is approaching the benchmark average (CH 43.8%; EU 64.3%). However, when it comes to the traceability of service provision (from filling in forms until a service is received), Switzerland is well below the EU average (CH 22%; EU 62%). The report places a great deal of emphasis on the information regarding deadlines in service provision. Here, Switzerland scores poorly. Switzerland has registered positive development (approx. +10%) in transparency on the personal data used by the authorities. In around 42% of the eServices examined, users were able to manage their personal data themselves.

The report shows that the Swiss authorities need to improve, especially as regards online services for citizens (marriages, births, work, studies, etc.). In this area, there is a lack of basic services such as pre-filled forms, or the service process is not very transparent. The Swiss authorities are further ahead in the provision of business-related services and information (e.g. when setting up a business).

Government websites are user-friendly

In terms of user-friendliness, Switzerland can hold its own against the EU average. Some 80% of the government services and information examined are available online on the authorities' websites (EU 87.2%). Moreover, almost nine out of ten of the assessed websites offer online support, help functions and feedback mechanisms, and are mobile-friendly.

Published by: European Commission

EU's 2021 eGovernment Benchmark report