Online Public Service Users Increase By 29% In Last Decade

May 19, 2015

People are much more likely to go online now for public or civic services and activities than they were in 2005, claims UK communications industries regulator Ofcom.

The organisation’s Media Use and Attitudes report is now in its tenth year, having been founded in 2005, where it revealed 49% of Internet users aged 16 and over would go online to find out about a public service.

This number rose to 78% in 2014 and more Internet users say they have visited political or campaigning websites, up from 19% in 2005 to 44% in 2014.

Meanwhile, 69% of the nearly 2000 adults surveyed by Ofcom said they had looked at websites or apps for local news and had completed government processes such as renewing their driving licence online.

Just 19% have ever contacted their MP or local councillor online, but 35% have signed an online petition before.

On a weekly basis, 18% will use the Internet to research public services provided by local or central government and 17% look for news about their local area or community on websites or apps.

In comparison with all Internet users, 35-44 year olds are the most likely to go online to find out more about public sector services, while those aged 16-24 are the least likely to have done so.

The Ofcom research also investigated the devices people use to complete government processes online.

Over half say they use a laptop for this purpose, while one in four will use a desktop – but, one in ten do use mostly a tablet or a smartphone.

For those who choose not to use the Internet to access public services, people mostly claimed they prefer a pen and paper to fill in forms and use the post.

However, others also say they do not need to use the services that are available online at this time or prefer to speak to someone in person.

Last Decade Sees Time Spent Online Double

The report also claims the amount of time people spend online has doubled from ten years ago and the dramatic increase is fuelled by the increasing use of tablets and smartphones.

The research also revealed that in the five years since tablet computing was launched, four in ten adults now use such a device to go online, with the average adult spending over 20 hours online per week.

It also claims that there is less online concern than ten years ago but there has been an increased demand for protection.



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