A digital nation

May 3, 2012

A new report from Canada examines Provincial and Territorial eGovernment Initiatives. Entitled ‘Becoming a Digital Nation: An Evaluation of Provincial and Territorial eGovernment Initiatives‘ PDF, 89 pages, 8Mb. The report notes in the Introduction that in the report, in order to” provide context for this assessment, we applied the same methodology to three other jurisdictions: California, Massachusetts, and Wales. Our study indicates that Canada’s provinces and territories are doing well in this comparison with four provinces ahead of the international jurisdictions and all the  others competitive.” Which may upset all three, although they all did pretty well compared with the Canadian average.

Interestingly the latest usage statistics are provided on page 7: “Most recent data show over half of Canadians (56.5%) use the Internet to search for government-related information, while 26.9% utilize the Internet to communicate with their governments”, which may assist those concerned about the limited UK usage! I’m please to say that Socitm’s ‘Planting the Flag’, that I played a small part in producing has been used as a part of the background material and the methodology employed in measuring the web sites is not unlike that used in Socitm’s Better Connected exercise.

Of the 13 jurisdictions studied, it’s hardly surprising that there is some difference between the most populated territories and the lesser ones. There are also issues around the number of languages with not just English and French being required in many places, but in some there are native languages to deal with.  As a summary the report states on page 48 that: “Areas of improvement focus on providing more advanced ways for citizens to give or get more information through online Contact Us forms or feedback surveys”, which I’d always argue for in the form of feedback loops.