The Seventh “High Level Seminar on Improving Take-up of E-Government Services: Challenges, Solutions and Good Practices” took place in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, on the 24th of June 2009, at the invitation of the Government of Bahrain and in collaboration with the OECD. This event was organized back-to-back with the Fifth Meeting of Working Group 2 on E-Government and Administrative Simplification of the 25 June 2009.
The topic of the high-level seminar is linked to the thematic priority areas identified by the Working Group on E-Government and Administrative Simplification at its 4th meeting which took place in Tunis in May 2008.
Expecting substantial savings and improved user-focused public services, OECD and Arab countries have considerably invested in the development of e-government services over the last 10-15 years. They have done so assuming that by equipping public sector administrations with information and communication technology (ICT) and rendering business processes and procedures more efficient and effective, they could generate substantial benefits to both users and governments. However, experiences show that this is not always the case. E-Government projects do not always deliver the full promised benefits and users do not automatically use available e-government services.
Notwithstanding efforts in terms of policies and investments, governments have witnessed low adoption and use of e-government services (also known as low user take-up), still far from satisfactory today. Differences in uptake of e-Government services across countries do not seem entirely linked to the quality and quantity of the supply: the explanation is broader and more diversified. In line with these considerations, the seminar focused on identifying and discussing approaches and methods to improve e-government service take-up. The timing to address this issue is crucial since it is currently at the heart of OECD and non-OECD countries’ e-government agenda.