Office of the Auditor General of Norway

Digitisation of municipal services Read full summary in English

2016 report 3:6 (2015–2016)

The purpose of digitisation is to increase the quality and efficiency of public services. It is a goal to make online services the norm for public administration's communication with citizens and the private sector. The municipal sector is a significant provider of public services, and digitisation of municipal services is therefore essential for achieving this goal.
The audit surveyed the status, assessed the significance of and possible obstacles to digitisation of municipal services. The audit examined how the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation's use of policy instruments contributes to digitisation. The audit covers the period 2011–2015.

In the report page 1

- Municipalities do not offer public digital services to citizens and the private sector in line with the objectives of the Storting. A survey of 19 services in 261 municipalities shows that digital services are the first choice for 27 per cent of services in the areas of early childhood and education, health and welfare, and planning, building and geodata. Fourteen per cent of the municipalities do not have a digital first choice for any of these services. Fewer small than large municipalities have started digitising services. Twentythree per cent of small municipalities have no digital services in the areas that were examined.

- Many municipalities do not have sufficient expertise to digitise their services. Many municipalities claim the cost of digitisation is too high to warrant priority. A majority of the municipalities report that they do not work systematically to realize benefits of digitisation.

In the report page 1-2

- The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation's policy instruments are not sufficiently adapted to goals and obstacles in this area: National common components are not facilitated well enough for use in the municipalities. Initiated measures are not sufficient for achieving the objectives of integrated and complete digital services

- The common components, such as the population register and the ID portal, are owned by four agencies under three ministries. There are significant differences in how they are made available to the municipalities – which make limited use of them.

- While steps have been initiated in key areas, knowledge, skills, capacity and state coordination are lacking. There is a need for stronger national, coordinated efforts.

The risk cases visible on this page are collected and described by the e-Government Subgroup of the EUROSAI IT Working Group in contact with author Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI). In the same way, analytical assumptions and headings are chosen by the Subgroup. We encourage you to read the original texts by SAIs - to be found in the linked files.