Poll: Pandemic exposes deficits in digitalisation of Germany’s public sector

Survey by Gerhard Hammerschmid shows over 90% of local governments see need to expedite digitalisation.

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed considerable deficits in the digitalisation of Germany’s public sector, a snap poll (Blitzumfrage) of German public administrators reveals. In a survey of executives in 160 local German administrations, 92.4 said the pandemic has shown Germany needs “a considerable push to accelerate digitalisation” in the government sector.  The survey was conducted by Gerhard Hammerschmid, Hertie School Professor of Public and Financial Management and Director of the Centre for Digital Governance, together with Wegweiser Research & Strategy GmbH. It was presented at the online conference Zukunftskongress Staat & Verwaltung taking place from 15 to 17 June, which is sponsored by the German Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community.

While those surveyed said they were pleased with their administrations’ handling of the coronavirus response (85.6%), nearly a third (27.7%) said that their experiences with the pandemic had altered their personal stance toward digitalisation. Asked to judge whether their agencies were ahead of or behind the curve, 23.3% said they were lagging behind in the area of digitalisation, 61.1% said they were performing at an average level, and 15.7% said judged themselves to be role models.

“On one side there was a very positive (self)assessment of how government did cope with the crisis. But there is also a clear message for the need to speed up digitalisation of government and move from home office and video conferencing to providing services online for citizens - and a clear need for supporting them better with regard to digitalisation,” Hammerschmid said.

More information about the annual Zukunftskongress Staat & Verwaltung, involving over 2,000 participants from Germany, Austria and Switzerland and currently underway online from 15-17 June 2020 can be found here (in German).

Read more about the survey on the Federal Ministry of the Interior's website here and find the results summarized here


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