France’s scorecard to track and improve digital services

Every year, France publishes figures showing the extent to which citizens and businesses take advantage of the digital services made available by the government. This scorecard assesses the share of digital in more than 30 administrative processes used by individuals and companies. Ministries and administrations use the results to improve the digital services they offer.

Policy Context

  • On 17 September 2014, Thierry Mandon, Secretary of State for Simplification, presented to the Council of Ministers the government’s plan to put digital at the centre of a transformation of the French state.
  • In 2014, an order made it officially possible for a citizen to communicate digitally with an administration with the same legal force as a traditional physical interaction: “Any user, once he has identified himself, will be able to address the administration by electronic means, under the same conditions as a referral by post, and to exchange information through registered electronic mail.”
  • In December 2013, the CIMAP committee (Comité Interministériel pour la Modernisation de l’Action Publique) presented (Decision #20) the government programme “Dites-le-nous une fois” (“Tell us just once”) and launched a pilot to test the associated MPS (Marché Public Simplifié) plan. This program aims to reduce the burden of administrative procedures between a private company and the French public services. Its primary goal is to reduce the need to provide supporting documents by encouraging data sharing between administrations. The APS project, which simplifies requests from companies for public aid and subventions, is also part of this program.
  • Since 2000, the portal has provided a single entry point through which citizens can get public information. Its mission is to guide people in finding the right services, and to help them through all the subsequent administrative procedures. The site was revised in 2015 and is part of the modernisation program.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

Digital at the centre of public services

The digitisation of public services offered to both administrations and citizens is part of a vast program by the French state whose aim is to simplify and foster relations with its citizens. To enable the design and creation of digital public services, the state has built a dedicated IT infrastructure made up of:

  •  The State Interministerial Network (RIE). The goal is to propose a new unified infrastructure to connect all the administrations covering French territory and provide a resilient, sustainable and secure networking backbone to support digital services.

  •  “State as a Platform” (“Etat Plateforme”). The government wishes to streamline its data and make it more accessible via APIs, in order to foster and accelerate the emergence of digital public services.

  •  A policy of open data and open source. Through Etalab, the government agency in charge of open data strategy in France, ministries have begun to open some of their data to promote transparency and contribute to the emergence of new services and applications for citizens. Some ministries have also opened some of their algorithms and calculation methods. For example, in April 2016 the Ministry of Finance published the source code of its fiscal calculator.

DINSIC, which is in charge of the state’s IT, has also contributed to dedicated programs to accelerate the development of digital services for French citizens. For example, it created a state startup programme to target specific problems and find answers quickly. These start-ups, incubated within DINSIC, are based on agile methodologies and lean management., an online calculator for state benefits, is among the projects born within these start-ups.


A control panel to track the level of adoption of digital services

Within DINSIC, SGMAP (Secrétaire Général pour la Modernisation de l’Action Publique – the General Secretariat for Modernisation of Public Action) is in charge of implementing the reforms that will modernise administrative procedures and relations between citizens and the state. Since 2012, SGMAP has published an annual dashboard of digital services, whose goal is to monitor the adoption of digital services and online procedures set up by the state. It also shows information on user satisfaction.

This scorecard is put together in collaboration with ministries. It gives a snapshot of some services and their level of maturity as far as citizens are concerned. The resulting scores serve as benchmarks for assessing and improving the digital relationship between the state and its citizens.

The scorecard analyses 30 administrative procedures identified by SGMAP as frequently and widely used by French people. A report is published annually to track the level of adoption. This report shows the share of digital adoption compared to other channels used by citizens, such as phone services and physical meetings with government employees. This dashboard serves not only to monitor the progress of digital, but also provides a tool for administrations to continuously improve their services.

The dashboard is made up of two parts:

  •  The results of an annual survey on the use of digital services and the resulting level of user satisfaction. Individuals, companies and associations are interviewed.

  • The share of digital in 30 common administrative procedures.

According to SGMAP, the results are calculated by comparing the total number of procedures – all channels combined – and the digital share. The 30 procedures are:

For individuals

  • Declaring income

  • Paying income tax

  • Completing a census return

  • Applying for civil status documents to be used  abroad

  • Buying a tax stamp for a passport

  • Declaring the sale of a vehicle

  • Applying for a European Health Insurance Card

  • Registering a change of address

  • Registering a change of address for a vehicle registration document (“carte grise”)

  • Registering to vote

  • Requesting a copy of a criminal record

  • Filing an online pre-complaint. It provides a working paper. It will become an official complaint when it will be signed in a police department.

  • Paying a fine

  • Registering for college

  • Completing the compulsory military census

  • Applying for a student grant

  • Making a quarterly declaration for the benefit known as RSA (“Revenu de solidarité active”)

  • Requesting housing benefit

  • Requesting and renewing social housing

  • Declaring salary of home employees

  • Registering as unemployed

For associations

  • Setting up an association

  • Modifying or dissolving an association

For companies

  •  Setting up a company

  • Paying taxes, duties and customs levies

  • Making a pre-employment declaration (general scheme)

  • Paying social security contributions (general scheme)

For farmers

  • Making a pre-employment declaration (agricultural scheme)

  • Applying for aid under the Common Agricultural Policy (“Surface”)

  • Declaring earned income (agricultural scheme)


2017 edition: what we learned

The 2017 edition of the dashboard gives the results of the study carried out in April 2016. For the 30 activities on the list, we learn for example that:

  • Between 2012 and 2016, the share of digital increased by 24 points;

  • 24 out of the 30 activities exceeded the targets set for 2016;

  • 17 activities exceeded 50% in terms of digital use. Six others exceeded 30% digital;

  • Only two activities have a very low rate of digital adoption.

In 2016, 49% of all tax filing was done through a digital channel, compared to 40% in 2015. 61% of individuals used digital services to pay their taxes. The corresponding figures are 57% for paying fines, 39% for census forms, 30% for passport tax stamps, and 75% for European Health Insurance Cards.

Main results, benefits and impacts

According to SGMAP, the results of this scoreboard have enabled ministries and administrations to improve some of the services they are offering. The improvements include:

  • Better usability,

  • Addition of new features,

  • Development of new ways to assist users, such as helpdesks,

  • Adoption of responsive designs that are better adapted to mobile devices,

  • Reductions in the need to supply supporting documents, as can be seen in the “Dites-le-nous une fois” programme, and

  • Continuous improvement of services.

Lessons learnt

Scope: National


Type of document
General case study
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