BearingPoint Study Assesses the Digital Maturity of Passport Services in Countries Around the Globe

In its new study, management and technology consultancy BearingPoint assesses the digital maturity of passport services in countries around the globe as government administrations evolve and reconfigure their services and organizations for the “new normal.” The “Passport Services Digital Leaders Study” assesses the digital maturity across three dimensions and over 40 criteria. According to the results, all of the 20 countries included in the study could benefit from further digitalization, including Ireland, which was one of the first countries in the world to offer a fully online passport renewal service. Ireland’s online passport service was designed and delivered by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs in association with BearingPoint and other partners.

The study is the first in a series of assessments by BearingPoint’s Government and Public Sector team across a range of citizen-facing public services.

“Government and Public Sector organizations across Europe are accelerating their digitalization initiatives as a result of the pandemic. In addition to the existing drivers for improving citizen experience and service levels, the need to minimize interactions through physical channels and to redeploy staff to areas of higher demand has increased the priority of digitalization projects,” says Andrew Montgomery, Global Leader Government and Public Sector at BearingPoint. “This is a trend we are seeing across all areas of the public service in which BearingPoint is working, including social and employment services, healthcare, local government and transportation, but with varying levels of maturity across different countries.”

No examined countries currently assessed to be at level five

The study covers twenty countries selected from across Europe and other regions. The countries included in the study are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA. Of the countries included in the study, eleven offered a partial or full online passport application service.

Australia, Brazil, Estonia, France, Switzerland, and the USA were assessed at level three in the service maturity assessment. Level three represents a partial online application service in which citizens can submit application details (all data required excluding the passport image) online, in advance of attending an appointment to complete the application. The critical efficiency at this level is minimizing the volume of data inaccuracy associated with paper applications and capturing the data in advance of attending a public office, which leads to a reduction in data errors and also provides a more efficient service.

Finland, Ireland New Zealand, Singapore and the UK were assessed at level four. This represents a passport service that offers citizens an entirely online application process, though some offline interaction may be required. Passport services at this level offer online services for handling problems with the application, for example, resubmitting a photo digitally if the initially submitted photo did not meet specified standards.

“I’m pleased the UK Passport Office has achieved an assessment level of four within this study. It is indicative of the significant efforts the organisation has made to progress its digital offering. To continue to achieve this high score, the Passport Office must continue to develop their understanding of customer needs and develop its digital capabilities in line with these and the increasingly demanding external environment.” Stewart Johns, Partner, BearingPoint UK

No examined countries were currently assessed to be at level five. The vision for this level of maturity is that all online passport services are integrated to deliver simple, end to end services with no offline interaction required. It is a low touch, seamless and paperless journey, with the result being a digital passport pushed to a mobile device. In addition, a country at level five would provide a secure and consistent, centralized Identity and access management solution, as a core requirement for the effective delivery of digital services.

“Countries must recognize the value of e-IDs as a means to protect citizens against fraud, to improve overall user experience, and to avoid the requirement of having to provide the same information to public sector bodies numerous times. Integrating the passport application service with an identity and access management solution will bring several benefits both for citizens and the organization responsible for the issuance of passports”, says Gillian O’Sullivan, Partner and Digital Government Leader at BearingPoint Ireland.

Digital and ‘virtual’ credentials are a hot topic in terms of the next generation of passport services, gaining increased support from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the UN agency in charge of ePassport standardization.

For more details on the digital maturity of online passport services and insights on passport services, please read BearingPoint’s new Passport Services Digital Leaders study here:

About BearingPoint

BearingPoint is an independent management and technology consultancy with European roots and a global reach. The company operates in three business units: The first unit covers the advisory business with a clear focus on five key areas to drive growth across all regions. The second unit provides IP-driven managed services beyond SaaS and offers business critical services to its clients supporting their business success. The third unit provides the software for successful digital transformation and regulatory requirements. It is also designed to explore innovative business models with clients and partners by driving the financing and development of start-ups and leveraging ecosystems.

BearingPoint’s clients include many of the world’s leading companies and government organizations. The firm has a global consulting network with more than 10,000 people and supports clients in over 70 countries, engaging with them to achieve measurable and sustainable success.