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Council question: e-Government services and implementation of digital government transformation
2017-06-08

Following is a question by the Hon Charles Mok and a written reply by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, in the Legislative Council today (June 7):

Question:

Regarding the provision of services by the Government through electronic means (e-Government services), and the implementation of digital government transformation, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it has calculated the respective current average unit costs of delivery by the Government through four channels, namely face-to-face over the counter, telephone, mail and the Internet, the following four types of services: dissemination of information, bill payments or transactions, handling of applications and registrations, and handling of complaints; if so, set out the relevant figures in a table; whether it has estimated the frequencies and trends of members of the public in using government services through the aforesaid channels in the coming decade; if so, of the outcome;

(2) in respect of each of the four types of services mentioned in (1), of the respective 20 government services that are currently most frequently and least frequently delivered through electronic means, as well as the respective frequencies and percentages of such services delivered last year through electronic means;

(3) whether it will require various government departments to conduct user experience researches in respect of the government services that they deliver through electronic means, in order to have an understanding of users’ needs for making improvements to such services; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(4) of those government services on handling of applications and bill payments which are currently not yet delivered through electronic means, and the reasons for that; whether the Government will require the departments concerned to expeditiously add this additional means for service delivery;

(5) in respect of those electronic bill payment services with low utilisation rates, whether the Government has plans to require the departments concerned to redesign the payment workflows and to develop simpler and more user-friendly electronic payment service interfaces; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(6) as a report has pointed out that the Internet data volume of mobile smartphones and tablets exceeded that of desktop computers for the first time in October last year, and given that the mobile versions of websites provided by quite a number of government departments are currently available in text-only versions only, while many of such mobile versions do not support Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), whether the Government has plans to (i) require the various departments to redesign the mobile versions of their websites on the basis of IPv6, and (ii) update the standards of the Common Look and Feel for government websites, so that the looks and functions of the websites of government departments may stay abreast of latest developments;

(7) given that there has been a lapse of more than five years since the Guidelines on Dissemination of Information through Government Websites (the Guidelines) were last revised in March 2012, whether the Government has plans to update the Guidelines; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(8) whether it has plans to draw up afresh the standards and principles for e-Government services, and incorporate requirements such as the adoption of the agile delivery approach, ongoing user researches, frequent reviews and enhancements, taking safety and privacy issues into account, opening up source codes and adopting open standards as far as possible, collecting performance data, so as to ensure that such services can stay abreast of latest developments and meet the needs of members of the public; and

(9) whether it has studied the implementation of digital government transformation, including redesigning the entire processes and organisational structures for delivery of services by various government departments, so as to enhance efficiency and improve the experience of members of the public in using such services; if so, of the details, including the estimated savings in expenditure and increase in service efficiency?

Reply:

President,

My reply to the nine-part question is as follows:

(1) As services provided by government bureaux/departments (B/Ds) are numerous and diversified, we have not kept statistics on the average unit costs of delivery of different types of services (including dissemination of information, bill payments or transactions, handling of applications and registrations, and handling of complaints) provided by B/Ds through various channels (including face-to-face over the counter, telephone, mail and the Internet).

(2) In 2016, the 20 government services that were most frequently and least frequently delivered through electronic means, categorised by informational and transactional types, as well as the respective frequencies and percentages of such services delivered through electronic means are provided at Annex. We do not have the breakdown categorised by dissemination of information, bill payments or transactions, handling of applications and registrations, and handling of complaints.

For government services less frequently delivered through electronic means, their utilisation rates are affected by different factors, including the public preferring to use non-electronic means to submit or handle relevant applications, the relevant government services targeting specific groups, and the service nature, etc.

(3) According to the Efficiency Unit, to foster people-centric service delivery, the Government encourages B/Ds to adopt user-centred design approach to improve their services. Examples of B/Ds engaging in user experience research include:

(i) an experimental project of a one-stop employment and training centre for the Labour and Welfare Bureau;
(ii) The “Park Déco – Cornwall Street Park” of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department;
(iii) a user-research and user-centred design project of the Mong Kok Post Office for the Hongkong Post;
(iv) a customer journey design project on the integrated e-bill and e-payment services under the MyGovHK platform for the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO);
(v) a user experience design study for the Government Human Resources Management Services;
(vi) a user-centred design project on the Dial-a-Weather service for the Hong Kong Observatory;
(vii) an exploratory study on adopting user-centred design for the development of a performing arts web portal of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department; and
(viii) revamp of the Youth.gov.hk.

(4) and (5) To provide more convenient government services to the public, the Government is committed to digitising the process of online submission of government forms. Except for government forms which are not amenable to electronic submission due to legal requirements or procedural constraints, more than 1 370 government forms can now be submitted electronically. The OGCIO will continue to work with relevant B/Ds to digitise the remaining government forms which are amenable to electronic submission. The OGCIO has also required B/Ds to consider re-engineering their business processes when they develop new e-Government services or upgrade existing services, in order to encourage more people to fill in application forms and submit information electronically.

Regarding payment, the Government is offering various online payment services to facilitate payment of government bills and fees by the public using credit card, debit card and e-Cheque. The public can also make use of other payment methods such as online banking, ATM, payment by post, convenience store and PayThruPost for payment of government bills. Besides, the OGCIO is currently working with relevant departments to actively promote mobile payment technology solutions which support smartphone e-wallet, with the aim to launch relevant technology solutions within this year. The OGCIO has also been closely monitoring the adoption and technology trends of various electronic and mobile payment services available in the market with a view to facilitating B/Ds to provide simpler, faster, more convenient and cost-effective payment methods for e-government services to the public.

(6) and (7) The Government is committed to enhancing the experience of browsing government information. The OGCIO has updated and published the Common Look and Feel guidelines and design specifications under the Guidelines on Dissemination of Information through Government Websites in 2016 and requested B/Ds to follow the appearance and style requirements of the guidelines when revamping their websites, including web accessibility and adopting the responsive web design to improve the experience of both mobile and desktop device users in viewing web pages to facilitate different users.

The OGCIO also actively promotes and supports the Internet Protocol version 6 (i.e. IPv6). The provision of central web site hosting service to B/Ds has fully supported IPv6 since 2009 which enables communication with all Internet users.

(8) The OGCIO established the Interoperability Framework for e-Government, which includes a collection of open standards and specifications that help B/Ds and related organisations achieve interoperability in the exchange of electronic data and enable the development of integrated e-government services. The OGCIO also seeks input from B/Ds, the academia and the industry annually on the commonly used technical standards and data interchange formats, in order to review and update the Government’s guidelines on the Interoperability Framework.

Besides, the OGCIO developed the Practice Guide for Agile Software Development and organised training courses for B/Ds to facilitate their adoption of the Agile Methodology for developing IT projects. We will also organise regular briefings and experience sharing sessions for B/Ds to promote the project.

The OGCIO has also engaged a consultant to review in this year the usage of various government cloud platforms and make proposals on building the next generation of government cloud infrastructure in accordance with technological development and business needs.

(9) According to information provided by the Efficiency Unit, B/Ds will, based on their own needs, assess the need to carry out business process re-engineering studies and organisation review to improve efficiency and user experience on public service delivery.

In addition, the OGCIO is conducting a consultancy study on the smart city development blueprint. The consultant will put forward directions for development and concrete recommendations on “Smart Government”.

Office Of Hon. Charles Mok, Legislative Councillor (IT)