E-Government

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E-government (short for electronic government, also known as e-gov, Internet government, digital government, online government, or connected government) consists of the digital interactions between a government and citizens (G2C), government and businesses/commerce (G2B), government and employees (G2E), between government and governments /agencies (G2G), as well as citizen interaction with their government (C2G). Essentially, e-government delivery models can be briefly summed up as (Jeong, 2007):[1]

  • G2C (government to citizens)
  • G2B (government to businesses)
  • G2E (government to employees)
  • G2G (government to governments)
  • C2G (citizens to governments)

This digital interaction consists of governance, information and communication technology (ICT), business process re-engineering (BPR), and e-citizen at all levels of government (city, state/province, national, and international).

Defining e-government[edit]

‘E-Gov Strategies' (or Digital Government) is defined as ‘The employment of the Internet and the world-wide-web for delivering government information and services to the citizens.’ (United Nations, 2006; AOEMA, 2005).[2]

'Electronic Government' (or in short 'e-Government') essentially refers to ‘The utilization of Information Technology (IT), Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), and other web-based telecommunication technologies to improve and/or enhance on the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery in the public sector.’ (Jeong, 2007).[1] e-Government promotes and improves broad stakeholders contribution to national and community development, as well as deepen the governance process.

E-government describes the use of technologies to facilitate the operation of government and the dispersement of government information and services. E-government, short for electronic government, deals heavily with Internet and non-internet applications to aid in governments. E-government includes the use of electronics in government as large-scale as the use of telephones and fax machines, as well as surveillance systems, tracking systems such as RFID tags, and even the use of television and radios to provide government-related information and services to the citizens.

UN e-Government Readiness Index[edit]

The United Nations Public Administration Network conducts a bi-annual e-Government survey which includes a section titled e-Government Readiness. It is a comparative ranking of the countries of the world according to two primary indicators: i) the state of e-government readiness; and ii) the extent of e-participation. Constructing a model for the measurement of digitized services, the Survey assesses the 191 member states of the UN according to a quantitative composite index of e-government readiness based on website assessment; telecommunication infrastructure and human resource endowment.

The following is the list of the top 50 countries according to the UN's 2012 e-Government Readiness Index.[2]

Rank Country Index
1  South Korea 0.9283
2  Netherlands 0.9125
3  United Kingdom 0.8960
4  Denmark 0.8889
5  United States 0.8687
6  France 0.8635
7  Sweden 0.8599
8  Norway 0.8593
9  Finland 0.8505
10  Singapore 0.8474
11  Canada 0.8430
12  Australia 0.8390
13  New Zealand 0.8381
14  Liechtenstein 0.8264
15   Switzerland 0.8134
16  Israel 0.8100
17  Germany 0.8079
18  Japan 0.8019
19  Luxembourg 0.8014
20  Estonia 0.7987
21  Austria 0.7840
22  Iceland 0.7835
23  Spain 0.7770
24  Belgium 0.7718
25  Slovenia 0.7492
26  Monaco 0.7468
27  Russian Federation 0.7345
28  United Arab Emirates 0.7344
29  Lithuania 0.7333
30  Croatia 0.7328
31  Hungary 0.7208
32  Italy 0.7190
33  Portugal 0.7165
34  Ireland 0.7194
35  Malta 0.7131
36  Bahrain 0.6946
37  Greece 0.6872
38  Kazakhstan 0.6844
39  Chile 0.6769
40  Malaysia 0.6703
41  Saudi Arabia 0.6658
42  Latvia 0.6604
43  Colombia 0.6572
44  Barbados 0.6566
45  Cyprus 0.6508
46  Czech Republic 0.6491
47  Poland 0.6441
48  Qatar 0.6405
49  Antigua and Barbuda 0.6345
50  Uruguay 0.6315

Examples of e-government and E-governance[edit]

E-Government should enable anyone visiting a city website to communicate and interact with city employees via the Internet with graphical user interfaces (GUI), instant-messaging (IM), audio/video presentations, and in any way more sophisticated than a simple email letter to the address provided at the site”[3] and “the use of technology to enhance the access to and delivery of government services to benefit citizens, business partners and employees”.[4] The focus should be on:

  • The use of information and communication technologies, and particularly the Internet, as a tool to achieve better government.[5]
  • The use of information and communication technologies in all facets of the operations of a government organization.[6][7]
  • The continuous optimization of service delivery, constituency participation and governance by transforming internal and external relationships through technology, the Internet and new media.[8]

Whilst e-government has traditionally been understood as being centered around the operations of government, e-governance is understood to extend the scope by including citizen engagement and participation in governance. As such, following in line with the OECD definition of e-government, e-governance can be defined as the use of ICTs as a tool to achieve better governance.

Delivery models and activities of e-government[edit]

The primary delivery models of e-government can be divided into:

Within each of these interaction domains, four kinds of activities take place:[10][11]

  • pushing information over the Internet, e.g.: regulatory services, general holidays, public hearing schedules, issue briefs, notifications, etc.
  • two-way communications between the agency and the citizen, a business, or another government agency. In this model, users can engage in dialogue with agencies and post problems, comments, or requests to the agency.
  • conducting transactions, e.g.: lodging tax returns, applying for services and grants.
  • governance, e.g.: To enable the citizen transition from passive information access to active citizen participation by:
  1. Informing the citizen
  2. Representing the citizen
  3. Encouraging the citizen to vote
  4. Consulting the citizen
  5. Involving the citizen

Non-internet e-government[edit]

While e-government is often thought of as "online government" or "Internet-based government," many non-Internet "electronic government" technologies can be used in this context. Some non-Internet forms include telephone, fax, PDA, SMS text messaging, MMS, wireless networks and services, Bluetooth, CCTV, tracking systems, RFID, biometric identification, road traffic management and regulatory enforcement, identity cards, smart cards and other near field communication applications; polling station technology (where non-online e-voting is being considered), TV and radio-based delivery of government services (e.g., CSMW), email, online community facilities, newsgroups and electronic mailing lists, online chat, and instant messaging technologies.

Laws/Acts[edit]

Controversies of e-government[edit]

Disadvantages[edit]

The main disadvantages concerning e-government is the lack of equality in public access to the internet, reliability of information on the web, and hidden agendas of government groups that could influence and bias public opinions.

There are many considerations and potential implications of implementing and designing e-government, including disintermediation of the government and its citizens, impacts on economic, social, and political factors, vulnerability to cyber attacks, and disturbances to the status quo in these areas.[12] See also Electronic leviathan.

Hyper-surveillance[edit]

Increased contact between government and its citizens goes both ways. Once e-government begins to develop and become more sophisticated, citizens will be forced to interact electronically with the government on a larger scale. This could potentially lead to a lack of privacy for civilians as their government obtains more and more information on them. In a worst-case scenario, with so much information being passed electronically between government and civilians, a totalitarian-like system could develop. When the government has easy access to countless information on its citizens, personal privacy is lost.[13][14]

Cost[edit]

Although "a prodigious amount of money has been spent"[citation needed] on the development and implementation of e-government, some say[who?] it has yielded only a mediocre product. The outcomes and effects of trial Internet-based governments are often difficult to gauge or unsatisfactory.[15] According to Gartner, Worldwide IT spending is estimated to total $3.6 trillion in 2011 which is 5.1% increase from the year 2010 ($3.4 trillion).[16]

Inaccessibility[edit]

Main article: Digital divide

An e-government site that provides web access and support often does not offer the "potential to reach many users including those who live in remote areas, are homebound, have low literacy levels, exist on poverty line incomes."[17]

False sense of transparency and accountability[edit]

Opponents of e-government argue that online governmental transparency is dubious because it is maintained by the governments themselves. Information can be added or removed from the public eye. To this day, very few organizations monitor and provide accountability for these modifications. Those that do so, like the United States’ OMBWatch[18] and Government Accountability Project, are often nonprofit volunteers. Even the governments themselves do not always keep track of the information they insert and delete.[19]

Advantages[edit]

The ultimate goal of the e-government is to be able to offer an increased portfolio of public services to citizens in an efficient and cost effective manner. E-government allows for government transparency. Government transparency is important because it allows the public to be informed about what the government is working on as well as the policies they are trying to implement. Simple tasks may be easier to perform through electronic government access. Many changes, such as marital status or address changes can be a long process and take a lot of paper work for citizens. E-government allows these tasks to be performed efficiently with more convenience to individuals. E-government is an easy way for the public to be more involved in political campaigns. It could increase voter awareness, which could lead to an increase in citizen participation in elections. It is convenient and cost-effective for businesses, and the public benefits by getting easy access to the most current information available without having to spend time, energy and money to get it.

E-government helps simplify processes and makes access to government information more easily accessible for public sector agencies and citizens. For example, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles simplified the process of certifying driver records to be admitted in county court proceedings.[20] Indiana became the first state to allow government records to be digitally signed, legally certified and delivered electronically by using Electronic Postmark technology. In addition to its simplicity, e-democracy services can reduce costs. Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Wal-Mart and NIC [21] developed an online hunting and fishing license service utilizing an existing computer to automate the licensing process. More than 140,000 licenses were purchased at Wal-Mart stores during the first hunting season and the agency estimates it will save $200,000 annually from service.[22]

The anticipated benefits of e-government include efficiency, improved services, better accessibility of public services, sustainable community development and more transparency and accountability.[12]

Democratization[edit]

Main article: E-democracy

One goal of e-government will be greater citizen participation. Through the internet, people from all over the country can interact with politicians or public servants and make their voices heard. Blogging and interactive surveys will allow politicians or public servants to see the views of the people they represent on any given issue. Chat rooms can place citizens in real-time contact with elected officials, their offices or provide them with the means to replace them by interacting directly with public servants, allowing voters to have a direct impact and influence in their government. These technologies can create a more transparent government, allowing voters to immediately see how and why their representation in the capital is voting the way they are. This helps voters better decide who to vote for in the future or how to help the public servants become more productive. A government could theoretically move more towards a true democracy with the proper application of e-government. Government transparency will give insight to the public on how decisions are made and hold elected officials or public servants accountable for their actions. The public could become a direct and prominent influence in government legislature to some degree.[23][24][25][26]

Environmental bonuses[edit]

Main article: Paperless office

Proponents of e-government argue that online government services would lessen the need for hard copy forms.[27] Due to recent pressures from environmentalist groups, the media, and the public, some governments and organizations have turned to the Internet to reduce this paper use. The United States government utilizes the website http://www.forms.gov to provide “internal government forms for federal employees” and thus “produce significant savings in paper.[28]

Speed, efficiency, and convenience[edit]

E-government allows citizens to interact with computers to achieve objectives at any time and any location, and eliminates the necessity for physical travel to government agents sitting behind desks and windows. Improved accounting and record keeping can be noted through computerization, and information and forms can be easily accessed, equaling quicker processing time. On the administrative side, access to help find or retrieve files and linked information can now be stored in databases versus hardcopies stored in various locations. Individuals with disabilities or conditions no longer have to be mobile to be active in government and can be in the comfort of their own homes.[29][30]

Public approval[edit]

Main article: e-participation

Recent trials of e-government have been met with acceptance and eagerness from the public.[31][32] Citizens participate in online discussions of political issues with increasing frequency, and young people, who traditionally display minimal interest in government affairs, are drawn to electronic voting procedures.

Although internet-based governmental programs have been criticized for lack of reliable privacy policies, studies have shown that people value prosecution of offenders over personal confidentiality. Ninety percent of United States adults approve of Internet tracking systems of criminals, and 57% are willing to forgo some of their personal internet privacy if it leads to the prosecution of criminals or terrorists.[33]

Technology-specific e-government[edit]

There are also some technology-specific sub-categories of e-government, such as m-government (mobile government), u-government (ubiquitous government), and g-government (GIS/GPS applications for e-government.

E-government portals and platforms The primary delivery models of e-government are classified depending on who benefits. In the development of public sector or private sector portals and platforms, a system is created that benefits all constituents. Citizens needing to renew their vehicle registration have a convenient way to accomplish it while already engaged in meeting the regulatory inspection requirement. On behalf of a government partner, business provides what has traditionally, and solely, managed by government and can use this service to generate profit or attract new customers. Government agencies are relieved of the cost and complexity of having to process the transactions.[34]

To develop these public sector portals or platforms, governments have the choice to internally develop and manage, outsource, or sign a self-funding contract. The self-funding model creates portals that pay for themselves through convenience fees for certain e-government transactions, known as self-funding portals.

Social networking services are an emerging area for e-democracy. The social networking entry point is within the citizens’ environment and the engagement is on the citizens’ terms. Proponents of e-government perceive government use of social networking as a medium to help government act more like the public it serves. Examples can be found at almost every state government portal through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube widgets.

Government and its agents also have the opportunity to follow citizens to monitor satisfaction with services they receive. Through ListServs, RSS feeds, mobile messaging, micro-blogging services and blogs, government and its agencies can share information to citizens who share common interests and concerns. Government is also beginning to Twitter. In the state of Rhode Island, Treasurer Frank T. Caprio is offering daily tweets of the state’s cash flow. Interested people can sign up at here.[35] For a full list of state agencies with Twitter feeds, visit NIC.[36] For more information, visit transparent-gov.com.[37]

E-government by country[edit]

Africa[edit]

As the rest of the world keeps embracing the benefits of e-government, Africa has of late shown significant milestones in developing similar electronic government platforms. There are various countries that has shown progress in the recent years:

Kenya[edit]

The transition period from the KANU government to the NARC government(December 2002), marked the full realization of the e-government aspect, as the nation was set to tap the great potential of ICT-in service delivery to its subjects. Nonetheless, it was in January 2004 when, after the executive (cabinet) session, that a Directorate of e-government was established. The newly created department had the duty to draw the plan of action; for future ICT implementations.[38]

Like many other African nations, Kenya has embraced the high mobile penetration rate within its population. This is attributed to the ubiquity aspect, that is provided by mobile phones-such that even people living in remote areas that could not be having the traditional telecommunications' networks, they can now communicate with ease. It is noted that this has a great impact on the governments' strategies in reaching out to its citizens.[39] Given that about 70% of the population owns mobile phones, leading mobile network operators like Safaricom have taken a great step in offering services that meets citizens' demands. Such services include Kipokezi service(that allows subscribers to do online chatting and also exchange electronic mails via standard mobile phones)-and then M-Pesa; the mobile bank(that allows the subscribers to send and receive electronic cash). This has even appealed to the majority of Kenyans, as it supports the branchless members of the society too, in doing normal and secure businesses via M-Pesa. The recent IMF report reveals that MPESA transactions in Kenya exceeded those carried out by Western Union worldwide.[40]

Website: Open Kenya | Transparent Africa

Asia[edit]

Bangladesh[edit]

eGovernment web portal has been developed to provide more convenient access to various government service and information through one window.[41]

India[edit]

In India, the e-Governance initiatives are broadly managed under the umbrella of the NeGP initiative.[citation needed]

Iran[edit]

In 2002, Iran prepared a detailed report named TAKFA(Barnameye Tose-e va Karborde Fanavaie Etela’at)in which it was predicted that most of the government bodies would try to virtualize their services as soon as possible. But, based on the reports by UN bodies, Iran has failed in the recent years to meet the average standards of EG. In 2008, Supreme Council of Information released a report in which the council criticized the government for poor advancement in employing new communication technologies for administration purposes.[42]

Malaysia[edit]

In Malaysia, the e-Government efforts are undertaken by the Malaysian government, under the umbrella of Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) and e-Government flagships, which was launched in mid-1996, by Dr Mahathir Mohamad (1981-2003), by the then Prime Minister of Malaysia (Jeong & Nor Fadzlina, 2007).[43][44]

Electronic government is an initiative aimed at reinventing how the government works. It seeks to improve both how the government operates, as well as how it deliver services to the people (Ibrahim Ariff & Goh Chen Chuan, 2000).

Myanmar[edit]

In 2003, Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) was planned to organized for the E-government of Yangon City in Myanmar. But they're reorganized E-government of Yangon City divided into two such as E-government Administration Committee and E-government Processing Committee in 24.1.2013. E-government Administration Committee includes U Hla Myint(Mayor of Yangon City) as Chief, U Kyaw Sol (General Secretary of Yangon City) as Sub-Chief and other 23 Head of Department Officers as chairmen. E-government Processing Committee includes U Cho Htun Aung (Head of Public Relation & Information Department) as Chief and other 23 Deputy Head of Department Officers as chairmen. E-government of Yangon City Development Committee's website is [www.ycdc.gov.mm]. That website is a portal type website because it has online service web-application to process for the interactions from the citizens of Yangon City, Myanmar. The partner of E-government of Yangon City Development Committee are Global Wave Co. Ltd, Radiances Co. Ltd and LEO Tech Co. Ltd(Singapore).[citation needed]

Pakistan[edit]

In Pakistan, the Government of Pakistan's e-government directorate is committed to building a robust e-network framework that essentially allows the government to be more responsive in delivering public services to citizens and businesses.[45]

Sri Lanka[edit]

Sri Lanka have taken some initiative actions to provide the benefits of e-Government to the citizens.[46][47]

Europe[edit]

eGovernment shows significant advancement in Europe. For more information see eGovernment in Europe.

Russia[edit]

On the Federal Law «On providing state and municipal services» (2010), the strategy on development of Information Society in the Russian Federation, approved by the President (2008), the Federal target programme «Electronic Russia» (2002 – 2010 years), approved by the Government (2002), the State Programme «Information Society» (2010), the Procedure on development and approval of administrative regulations execution of public functions (public services), approved by the Government (2005), the concept of administrative reform in the Russian Federation in 2006 - 2010 respectively, approved by the Government (2005),on other orders, resolutions and acts in the Russian Federation was created electronic government (or e-government).[citation needed]

The main target on creating of e-government lies in the field of providing the equal opportunities for all the Russians in spite of their living place and their incomes and make more effective system of public administration. So e-government are created for reaching the useful system of public management accommodating the individual interests of every citizen by participation through ICTs in public policy-making.[citation needed]

Nowadays Russian e-government includes such systems as:[48]

1. The united interagency Interacting system using for providing of state and municipal services, exchange of information and data between participants of interagency interacting, quick approval of state and municipal decisions, etc.

2. The united system for authentication and authorization providing evidence of the rights of all participants of e-government.

3. United portal of state and municipal services and functions which is the «single window» for all information and services assured by government and municipals.[49]

The portal of public services is one of the key elements of the project to create «electronic government» in the country. The portal provides a single point of access to all references on state and municipal services through the Internet and provides citizens and organizations the opportunity to receive these services electronically. Monthly visits by users of the public services portal range between 200,000 and 700,000. For example, citizens are now able to get or exchange a driver license through this portal.

4. Head system providing utilization of electronic signature.

Other systems located on cloud services.

Today Russian e-government elements are demanded in the spheres of e-governance, e-services (e-health, e-education, e-library, etc.), e-commerce, e-democracy (web-election, Russian public initiative). By the United Nations E-Government Survey 2012: E-Government for the People Russia became one of the 7 emerging leaders in e-government development, took 9th place in rating of e-government development in largest population countries, took 8th rank in Top e-participation leaders, after Norway, Sweden and Chile, Advancing 32 positions in the world rankings, the Russian Federation became the leader of e-government in Eastern Europe. Evolution of ICT in the Russian Federation provided the raising of Russia in E-government development index to the 27 place.[50]

Middle East[edit]

Jordan[edit]

Jordan has established its e-government program since 2002. many governmental services are provisioned online.[citation needed]

Saudi Arabia[edit]

The e-Government was also established in Saudi Arabia, and it offers online government services and transactions.[citation needed]

United Arab Emirates[edit]

In the United Arab Emirates, the Emirates eGovernment is designed for e-government operations.[citation needed]

North America[edit]

Canada[edit]

Main article: Open data in Canada

The current Clerk of the Privy Council – the head of the federal public service, has made workplace renewal a pillar of overall public service renewal. Key to workplace renewal is the adoption of collaborative networked tools. An example of such as tool is GCPEDIA – a wiki platform for federal public servants. Other tools include GCconnex, a social networking tool, and GCforums, a discussion board system.

United States[edit]

The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States has become associated with the effective use of Internet technologies during his campaign, and in the implementation of his new government in 2009.[51][52][53]

On January 21, 2009, newly elected President Obama signed one of his first memorandums – the Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Transparency and Open Government[54] In the memo, President Obama called for an unprecedented level of openness in Government, asking agencies to "ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration."[54] The memo further "directs the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Administrator of General Services (GSA), to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies [and] to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in the memorandum."[54]

President Obama’s memorandum centered around the idea of increasing transparency throughout various different federal departments and agencies. By enabling public websites like recovery.gov and data.gov to distribute more information to the American population, the administration believes that it will gain greater citizen participation.[55]

Recently[Specific Time?], this initiative has crossed several key milestones and continues to make a significant amount of progress. Certain government information is still[Specific Time?], and will continue to be, considered privileged, and this issue remains at the center of the debate.

Additionally, technology is still[Specific Time?] not accessible by all Americans. The National Broadband Plan hopes to counter this limit, but many Americans are still without access to internet, which would be required to use these services. Some Americans live in rural areas without access, while others are not financially able to support a connection.

An alternative approach[edit]

Recent government policy updates have seen a shift away from e-government towards a much more radical focus on transforming the whole relationship between the public sector and users of public services. This new approach is referred to as Transformational Government.[citation needed] Transformation programs differ from traditional e-government programs in four major ways:

  • They take a whole-of-government view of the relationship between the public sector and the citizen or business user.
  • They include initiatives to e-enable the frontline public services: that is, staff involved in direct personal delivery of services such as education and healthcare – rather than just looking at transactional services which can be e-enabled on an end-to-end basis.
  • They take a whole-of-government view of the most efficient way managing the cost base of government.
  • They focus on the "citizen" not the "customer". That is, they seek to engage with the citizens as owners of and participants in the creation of public services, not as passive recipients of services.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]