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Global E-Government Survey Shows Increased Performance Among Cities Globally

Top 10 cities in E - GOVERNMENT Worldwide 2018-19

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Average E - GOVERNMENT SCORE 2003 T0 2018 - 19

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The Global E-Government Survey evaluated the performance of municipal websites worldwide for Privacy and Security, Usability, Content, Services, and Citizen and Social Engagement, and ranked the cities globally. Research was conducted jointly by the E-Governance Institute at the National Center for Public Performance, Suffolk University-Boston, and the Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs, John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. This research was co-sponsored by the Institute of Future Government, Yonsei University and the Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration in the School of Management at Marist College. 

First conducted in 2003 and repeated every two to three years, the survey represents a continued effort to evaluate e-government in large municipalities globally. The study systematically utilizes a unique E-Government Performance Index to classify websites on 86 scaled measures across five categories: Privacy/Security, Usability, Services, Content, and Citizen/Social Engagement. Each municipality’s website is evaluated in its local language to determine how the population perceives its government’s online performance. The survey highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each municipality in terms of the five categories, ranking municipalities overall and within each category.

The Global E-Government Survey highlights an improved focus on digital access to governmental services, as the percentage of cities with official websites has increased steadily. Oceania was the top-ranked continent, followed by Europe and Asia. The top-ranked cities for each continent are Johannesburg (Africa), Seoul (Asia), Madrid (Europe), Toronto (North America), Auckland (Oceania), and Montevideo (South America). The overall average score for all municipalities worldwide in 2018-19 was 38.80, an increase from 33.37 in 2013-14 and 36.57 in 2015-16. The figure to the right shows substantial progress in the average scores, and therefore improved online information and services to citizens, since 2003.    

Seoul ranks #1 in the world, retaining its top ranking in municipal e-government, similar to its performance on the previous surveys conducted since 2003. The city also ranked 1st in the categories of Content and Services. Seoul provides innovative online technologies that encourage citizens to provide their suggestions and participate in the policy process, along with enabling public administrators and elected officials to respond directly to citizens. Seoul continued as the highest-ranked OECD municipality, with a score of 84.07. 

Madrid ranks #2, with a score of 80.51, moving up from the 3rd position and a score of 69.24 in 2015-16. With regard to Privacy/Security, Madrid’s efforts are exemplary.  Its comprehensive privacy policy, easily accessible transparency portal, open data portal, new municipal organization chart, and security measures bolster its #1 ranking in Privacy/Security and in Usability, along with its #2 ranking in Service Delivery. 

Yerevan has the 3rd highest-ranked municipal website, with a score of 67.59, moving up significantly from its 9th place ranking and score of 59.61 in 2015-16. It also emerged as the highest ranked non-OECD municipality in 2018-19. As a leader in Service Delivery, Yerevan’s government website allows users to pay utilities, taxes, fines and tickets. Not only can permits and licenses be obtained, but the website also provides a tracking system with real-time information, including both the current and future status of a permit. Service requests from citizens can also be made through the Yerevan Municipal Facebook Page, and complaints made through the website can be tracked as action is taken. 

The website of Auckland ranks 4th with a score of 67.24 in 2018-19, moving up from its 17th place ranking in 2015-16, and improving significantly from its score of 54.27 at that time. Auckland is a top-ranked city in the categories of Citizen/Social Engagement and Service Delivery. With an entire subpage titled “Have your say and help shape Auckland,” the site includes surveys and polls with shared results, live streaming capabilities, and access to archived video of meetings.

Paris rounds out the top 5 cities with a score of 65.02, showing significant growth when compared to its 2015-16 score of 41.43 and  ranking of 41st. Paris’ leadership in Service Delivery is immediately apparent from its homepage. The very first link on its navigation bar is entitled, “Services and Practical Information,” which leads to a page of the six most requested types of services ranging from paying for parking to obtaining a national identity card and/or a passport.

According to Dr. Marc Holzer, Distinguished Professor at the Institute for Public Service and Director  of the National Center for Public Performance at Suffolk University-Boston: “The E-Government Performance Index used for the survey is a set of benchmarks that spotlight high levels of web-based service to citizens throughout the world, and foster high expectations for improved web-based municipal service delivery in the near future, in all countries. The continued study of municipalities worldwide will provide best practices and exemplary models for the e-government performance of municipalities throughout the world.” 

Dr. Aroon P. Manoharan, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston commented that “Our study identifies global best practices in multiple dimensions of e-government and examines performance from a longitudinal perspective. The results enable practitioners to promote the comparison and sharing of municipal best practices, particularly as nations are beginning to develop smart cities which integrate municipal functions and services with the information technology framework.”

Dr. James Melitski, Professor and Chair, Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration at Marist College states that “The E-government Performance Index examines how municipalities around the world are providing information, and engaging their citizens or residents.  Since 2003, the index has assessed the performance of municipal websites, and it will be an important metric in the future as local governments expand their use of technology to include analytics, mobile devices, big data and open government.”  

Dr. M. Jae Moon, Dean of Social Sciences and Director of the Institute of Future Government at Yonsei University points out that: “The Global E-government Survey is an important and influential study that has examined various dimensions of e-government practices of major municipal governments of the world, and assessed their performances since 2003.  This study not only offers opportunities to enhance our understandings of municipal e-governance but also helps to identify practical policy implications for more citizen-centric, transparent, and trustworthy e-government. This study also encourages both scholars and practitioners to make continued efforts to examine potential utilities of disruptive digital technologies and to envision the futures of e-government.”

For more information regarding this study, contact 

Professor Marc Holzer at

Professor Aroon P. Manoharan at

Professor James Melitski at

Professor M. Jae Moon at

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