The United Nations E-Government Survey is a ranking of United Nations Member States comparing e-government—digital interactions between governments and people. Apparently Australia leads the pack, with only the UK ahead of us. I would have guess Estonia or South Korea would head the pack.
The survey assessed how governments are using the internet to provide information and services, and how this can be a powerful tool for meeting the targets on sustainable development agreed by world leaders at the UN in New York last year. It highlighted that e-government can increase the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of institutions, facilitate integrated policies and services, and promote citizens’ participation in decision-making and service delivery.
It appears that one of the big factors in Australia’s positioning is that child benefit payments are conditional, and linked to a child’s full immunisation. This is made possible by systems which facilitate the automatic exchange of data between the government agencies dealing with immunisation status and benefit payments.
Sadly, my first reaction was that the very fact that we’re rated second in something to do with IT infrastructure makes me question the validity of the survey as a whole. But then I started thinking through how poorly governments manage IT and working together and I can see Australia doing well, albeit from a low base. And Australia has been good in areas like offering open access to datasets of government information. So well-done us, I guess.