The UK is in the chasing pack of European nations striving to deliver public services electronically, according to the latest league tables from Cap Gemini Ernst & Young (CGEY).
But although the proportion of online public services has increased by 12 per cent to 62 per cent since October last year, analysts have warned that the UK will have its work cut out to meet its "tough" 2005 deadline.
Graham Colclough, global e-government head at CGEY, explained that the issue is now more about usage than availability.
"It will be a challenge, and opinion suggests that there will be some organisations that will struggle to achieve [the deadline]. The number one issue is about changing hearts and minds," he said.
The research, conducted on behalf of the European Union, compared the performance of 18 countries including the 15 European Union members.
It identifies four stages of development: available information online; one-way interaction; two-way interaction; and full electronic case handling.
The lead group, comprising Denmark, Ireland, Finland and Sweden, has already reached stage three, and has achieved over 75 per cent availability of services online.
"The first tier contains four countries that are more nimble with smaller populations, and the internet is more urgent because their populations are more geographically dispersed," said Colclough.
The UK has reached stage two of the adoption model, alongside countries including Spain, France, Norway and Portugal.
But CGEY indicated that almost all countries had moved on a stage compared to last year.
The UK's Office of the e-Envoy insisted that a focus on the citizen, and not just the technology, would help boost the uptake of services in the future.
"By putting citizens at the heart of this transformation, designing services around their needs and requirements, we will see a rise in levels of use of e-government services," said a spokesperson.
But a spokesman for the Local Government Information Unit suggested that ensuring that organisations are properly equipped, and staff properly trained, are bigger factors in adoption.
"All of us should lead by example in our various roles in public service by pushing e-government forward wherever the opportunity exists, even if to begin with it has a minority audience," he said.
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