The eGovernment MONITOR 2020, published by Initiative D21 on 20 October 2020, uses a representative survey of inhabitants in Switzerland, Germany (DE) and Austria (AT) to look into digital dealings with the authorities in terms of awareness, usage, satisfaction, barriers and identification. The current study focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the coronavirus contact tracing apps.
Over the last 12 months, 60 % of Swiss inhabitants used an online service provided by the authorities. This figure is between that of Austria (72 %) and Germany (54 %). On average, people in all three countries use an e-government service three times a year. The Swiss choose the online channel primarily when they want information on the competent authorities or opening hours, to download forms or to fill in their tax returns. In Switzerland, almost 60 % of taxpayers submit their tax returns online. The findings show that there is a desire for more e-services. 94 % of respondents are aware of at least one e-government service (DE: 93 % and AT: 97 %).
Almost three quarters of inhabitants are satisfied with the online services offered by the authorities. Germany has also caught up, with 62 % of the population now satisfied. Austrians are slightly more satisfied, with a rate of 79 %. E services are largely perceived as simple, easy to use (navigation) and reliable (stable connection). However, 45 % of respondents say that they do not use e-government services because they are not familiar with them. Other barriers cited by around 40 % of respondents include the opaque structure of e-services, concerns about data protection and fears concerning the consequences of incomplete data entry. Half of the respondents feel that personal contact at the office is important and easier, even in this era of digitalisation, as it is quicker.
12 % of Swiss respondents said that they had carried out more of their dealings with the authorities online during the COVID-19 crisis, with 3 % using an e-service for the first time. However, the avoidance of interaction with the authorities was the most frequently cited response (30 %). The result is identical in Austria, whereas the figures in Germany are lower. Approximately 60 % of the users who had digital dealings with the authorities during the COVID 19 crisis were satisfied with the authorities' response time and service. The figures in Austria (56 %) and Germany (44 %) are lower than in Switzerland. The crisis has had a positive impact on people's attitudes towards e-services. 70 % would like to use online services more often even after the COVID-19 crisis.