Audit reveals many gaps in CIG’s online services

(CNS): It is unclear whether the Cayman Islands government has gotten value for money from the services it has brought online, and Cayman is lagging behind other countries in the provision of electronic services, found the Office of the Auditor General. in a new report. Sue Winspear and her team have identified a number of shortcomings in the online services provided by the CIG and how it has managed the process, which began almost twelve years ago.

The government first announced its e-commerce initiative in 2010, but had no dedicated staff. She then relaunched the e-government program in 2013, but it was not until December 2014 that the initiative’s first director was appointed. Then in 2017, the eGovernment Unit (EGU) was created, and after a very slow start, some government services started to come online.

But twelve years later, auditors have found that while many services are available digitally, several are not available at all, while others, such as applying for a driver’s license, still cannot be fully completed online.

“I urge the government to strive to provide these services, and many more, online,” Winspear said when the report was released last week. She also encouraged the CIG to systematically monitor and report customer satisfaction to determine the ease with which it is possible to find and use services online. This will help improve services, she said, adding that officials should also capture the cost of designing, developing and delivering its online service projects, which they are not yet doing. asking the question of which services have proven themselves.

“This is a significant gap because it is critical information to demonstrate value for money,” she said, noting that it is currently not possible to say whether the government has or has not achieved value for money so far by bringing utilities online.

Responding to the report, Tamara Ebanks, Acting Director of the Department of Investment, Innovation and Social Development, which is responsible for e-government, acknowledged the recommendations and noted that most of those under the control of the ministry were complied with or in action.

“The ministry and the eGovernment unit are committed to improving our efficiency and strengthening the security of our data and systems across government and, by extension, making it easier to do business in the Cayman Islands,” she said. declared.

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson welcomed the report, which he said recognizes some of the government’s successes in moving to online services. “People can now access over 70 different government services online, including many of the top 20 services provided by governments around the world,” he said. “Having so many of our services online to improve people’s lives has been a significant achievement.”

The Deputy Governor said that since 2014, the eGovernment unit has played a pivotal role in developing and advancing an overall strategy.

But in his report, Winspear noted that in 2015 the unit drafted a strategy but never finalized it. In parallel, it set up an E‐Government Steering Committee, but it stopped meeting after April 2017. It was only in 2021, during the audit, that the EGU initiated the development of a new E-Government Strategy.

“The new strategy includes more up-to-date goals, including promoting a culture of innovation, creativity and collaboration and developing the digital economy,” Winspear said in the report. “However, it does not include a strategic objective related to efficiency or cost savings… These are significant shortcomings,” she noted.

Manderson said the government was committed to e-governance and the transition to digital processes and was working to expand the range of online services while ensuring strong cybersecurity. He also said that money had been budgeted for the works.

Ian Tibbetts, director of the eGovernment unit for the past five years, said that over that time the EGU had laid the technical foundations and framework for a national, digital ID system. “Initiatives like these are designed to make the Cayman Islands government increasingly nimble and responsive, to the benefit of our residents and our businesses,” he said.

See the auditor’s report in the CDS Library.

Veronica J. Snell