Swiss lag behind in e-government

The Swiss need to catch up in e-government swissinfo.ch

Switzerland has been ranked a lowly 20 out of 28 in a pan-European survey of online government services.

This content was published on March 9, 2005 - 23:03

Only a few former Eastern European countries did worse than Switzerland, whose bad performance was blamed on its federalist structure.

According to the survey carried out for the European Commission, the Swiss scored only 60 per cent for the online accessibility of its cyber administration.

This compares with a European average of 65 per cent, said the report’s authors in a statement on Wednesday.

Topping the list was Sweden, with Swiss neighbour Austria coming a close second. Other countries that did well were Britain, Ireland, Norway and Denmark, which all scored over 80 per cent.

Only 40 per cent of the Swiss internet services examined were found to be completely online, placing it in the second-to-last in this ranking, just ahead of Lithuania.

The survey, compiled by Capgemini, compared e-government in the 25 EU countries, as well as Iceland, Switzerland and Norway.

Poor performance

The authors said the main reason given for this year’s poor performance was Switzerland’s federalist system of government, under which public powers and administrative practices are shared between the government, cantons and municipalities.

"Many of the services are in the hands of cantons and municipalities; not all of them have given these services the same priority," said the statement.

But it added that the federal government’s efforts were not much better.

Switzerland launched its e-government initiative in 2002 and has stated that it intends to become a world leader in the domain.

One of its largest projects is the "ch.ch" website, a guide to Swiss administrative services at the federal level and in the cantons and communes.

But last year it was announced that the site would not be as ambitious as originally planned due to disagreements among cantons over its content.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

E-government is aimed at making some administrative tasks available online.
It should cut bureaucracy and costs.
Typical services include registering a change of address, as well as driving licence and car details.
The government has also experimented with e-voting.

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