SINGAPORE: A Digital Government Blueprint was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday (Jun 5), and in it, a target to offer electronic payment and digital signature options for all Government services by 2023.
Speaking at the Smart Nation Innovations Week opening symposium, Mr Teo said: “Our government services are also going through a major transformation to put our citizens at the centre. The objective is to make services intuitive and easy for all to use – in several languages, and even if we are less familiar with technology.”
He added that Singapore’s Smart Nation vision will be powered by technology, but it is not an end in itself.
“To achieve widespread use and benefits, the applications need to be seamless and intuitive to use, without the user needing to spend time to navigate the complex underlying technology,” said Mr Teo, who is in charge of the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group within the Prime Minister’s Office.
BEING DIGITAL NOT THE END GOAL
According to the blueprint, being “digital to the core” is about using data, connectivity and computing decisively to transform the way the Government serve citizens and businesses and the way it enables public officers to contribute fully.
For citizens and business, this means they will find digital government services intuitive, easy to use and relevant to their needs, and complete these transactions in a paperless manner from start to finish without having to be there in person.
They will also only need to give information or request for help once, as the relevant data or request will be shared with the right public agencies, and feel confident their information is secure.
Public officers, too, will work in an environment where they can evolve and design better policies through the integrated use of data and digital technologies, connect and collaborate with other officers using digital means and access “high quality internal corporate services and processes”.
The initiative to train public officers in data analytics and digital literacy had been mentioned by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, who is also in charge of the Public Service Division, during the debate on President Halimah Yacob’s address at the opening of the second session of the 13th Parliament.
KEY INDICATORS SPELT OUT
Amid these, the Government will hold itself to a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) to be achieved by 2023.
The indicators are:
- Citizen satisfaction with digital services (via survey) – 75 per cent to 80 per cent to rate very satisfied
- Business satisfaction with digital services (via survey) - 75 per cent to 80 per cent to rate very satisfied
- Government services that offer e-payment options (inbound and outbound) – 100 per cent
- Services that are pre-filled with Government-verified data – 100 per cent
- Services that offer digital options for wet ink signatures – 100 per cent
- Transactions completed digitally from end to end – 90-95 per cent
- Payments (inbound and outbound) completed electronically – 100 per cent
- Number of public officers trained in data analytics and data science – 20,000 (up from 10,000 by 2021)
- Number of public officers with basic digital literacy – All officers
- Number of transformative digital projects – 30 to 50 projects
- Use artificial intelligence (AI) for service delivery or policy making – All ministries and their related agencies to have at least one AI project
- High-impact data analytics projects – 10 cross-agency projects per year, and 2 projects per ministry and its related agencies per year
- Core data fields in machine-readable format and able to be sent via application programming interface (APIs) – 90-100 per cent
- Time required to combine data for cross-agency projects – Fewer than 10 days to share data for such projects
The Government has already provided digital services such as the ability to file income tax digitally and accessing library resources without having to physically go down to one as examples. It now has to do so for other services, the document added.
“A Smart Nation is about enabling our people and businesses to exploit the full potential of the new digital technologies to improve the lives of our people and provide more opportunities for our businesses,” said Mr Teo.
Echoing that, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary said the Government is looking at ramping up digital initiatives that can have a “real world impact”.
Citing existing initiatives, such as the HDB resale portal and new licensing portal LicenceOne, that are already helping to boost efficiency and cost savings, he said: “What we want is a lot more of these. To go down each interaction and see how we can bring it together into a product, whether it’s an app, website or a service, and make sure it has a real world impact.”
Apart from the National Digital Identity (NDI) system, a good digital payment platform will be a "critical enabler" of such "presence-less and paperless" transactions, he added in an interview with reporters after the opening symposium.
The launch of the Digital Government Blueprint comes on the heels of Singapore’s first Digital Readiness Blueprint unveiled over the weekend, with inclusivity a key thrust in the planned initiatives.