Poles would like to deal with official matters online: report

23 percent of Poles indicated problems with access to offices such as ZUS or PUP due to the closure or limitation of the operation of public institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, and more than half of the respondents from Poland indicated that they would be happy to deal with their official matters online, according to the report published on Tuesday by the consulting company EY (Ernst & Young).

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In a report summarising the global study “How Digital Government Can Connect All Citizens”, nearly a third of those polled (32 percent) put digitisation in public services as one of the top three priorities, if governments want to improve the quality of these services.

More than half of the respondents from Poland indicated that they would be happy to deal with their official matters online, without having to visit the office. According to the representative of EY, Marcin Bartoszewski, quoted in the report, “it is one of the most frequently mentioned, most popular activities that Poles would like to transfer to the online channel”.

According to Mr Bartoszewski, the private sector realised this very quickly and moved its activities to digital channels.

He also stated that, based on research and experience from recent months, “we should expect a further increase in the importance of technology, also after the end of the pandemic.”

A global survey found that just over half (53 percent) of those polled believe that governments around the world are effectively using digital technologies to fight the pandemic. This conviction is strongest in Malaysia (88 percent of respondents) and in India (80 percent). The lowest levels of belief in the effectiveness of the government’s use of digital technologies to fight the pandemic were found in the UK (39 percent), France (36 percent) and Japan (29 percent).

The report says that 72 percent of the respondents of the EY research, believe that technology improves the quality of life. At the same time citizens are afraid of deepening social inequalities (32 percent), increasing power in the hands of those who already have it (the rich) (34 percent), or negatively affecting relations in communities (32 percent).

Mr Bartoszewski believes that apart from technological challenges, social issues are of importance. Governments and public administration should reach all citizens with their services, regardless of age, place of residence or education.

61 percent of respondents declare that they would benefit from government training programs allowing them to develop digital skills, if they were available.

The EY study was conducted in cooperation with Ipsos MORI from July to September 2020 in the form of interviews with over 12,000 people from 12 countries.