Take up of e Government services (PQ Reply by Minister Josephine Teo)
Take up of e-Government services by persons in different age groups
Fourteenth Parliament of Singapore – First Session for the Sitting on 10 January 2023
Dr Tan Wu Meng asked the Prime Minister (a) whether the Government tracks the take-up of e-Government services, with this data broken down by age group; (b) whether there has been any observed “drop out” or reduction in the number of service users of an elderly age when Government services are transitioned to digitalised e-Government platforms; and (c) if so, what lessons and conclusions have been drawn.
Written answer by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity (for the Prime Minister)
The adoption of e-government services has increased significantly in recent years, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, about 99% of government transactions were completed digitally, up from 87% in 2018.
The Government tracks the take-up of commonly used government e-services, with data broken down by age group. For example, Singpass, is used by 97% of Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents above the age of 15. Of the remaining 3%, 58% are aged 65 and above.
As more government services digitalise, the less digitally savvy, such as seniors, may not be comfortable or able to use them. The Government is committed to ensure that our citizens can continue to communicate and transact with the Government, regardless of their digital ability.
First, our e-Services seek to be easy to use for all our citizens including the elderly. Agencies are guided by international accessibility standards such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and some measures which we have adopted in websites and mobile apps include larger font sizes, more distinct colour contrasts, and larger button sizes.
Second, we have programmes to help our seniors pick up basic digital tools and skills so that they become confident in using our eservices independently. For example, the Seniors Go Digital programme was set up to provide individuals with one-to-one or small group training on skills such as how to use a smartphone to access government eservices. To date, more than 210,000 seniors have been engaged under the programmes.
Third, we provide non-digital options for those who may not be familiar with or have access to digital services. For example, citizens can visit our ServiceSG centres at Our Tampines Hub and One Punggol to access more than 400 frequently used government services physically. The other three ServiceSG centres located in community clubs also offer over 200 services that they can help citizens to complete. For agency-specific services such as those from the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board, the Housing Development Board (HDB), Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), citizens are also able to make appointments at their respective service centres to access them physically.
The Government is committed to ensure no one is left behind even as digitalisation progresses. We regularly review how we can better support less digitally savvy residents so they can continue to participate in our increasingly digital society.