Headlines: October 31st, 2005

With many public bodies in central and local government planning to celebrate achievement of the e-government target of getting all services on-line by December 2005, the EU has sent a wakeup call about take-up of the services. Many voices have warned about low take-up and the need to market the benefits more aggressively, but the results of an EU wide survey provides the hard evidence that the public in the UK are not yet experiencing the improved services that e-government can bring.The survey by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, provides a picture of use of on-line services across 26 member states. EU wide, the Internet is used by 47% of individuals and by 89% of enterprises. Only those who use the Internet were included in the survey. The results show that 31% of private individuals who use the Internet in the UK obtained information on-line compared to the EU average of 45%. This puts the UK behind Latvia, Portugal and Slovenia. Denmark, Finland and Germany took the first three places with 52%, 51% and 46% respectively.

The UK shares bottom place with Cyprus on the percentage of individuals and enterprises that use the Internet and have sent forms on-line to public organization. The survey shows that 5% of individuals in the UK sent forms while 13% of enterprises did so. The EU average is 12% and 32% respectively. Luxemburg with 32% was top of the league for individuals sending forms and Poland with 79% came top for enterprises.