The proliferation of the use of Information and Communications technology (ICT) to communicate has permeated through the spheres of life to the extent of washing ashore the engagement of activities carried out on the corridors of governments. Citizens across the globe inhabiting in developed economies are living the trend of Governance of ICT to reach their government not only to seek information and get documentation, but also to the lager extent of contributing their ideas and thoughts to good governance and collaborative effort to ensure equitable discuss.
The citizens' comfort, is the satisfaction they gain from the timely services their government renders to them as taxpayers and active role they are accorded as the very reason the Government is at work by providing citizens and stakeholder that involvement in running government business. The extent to which e-participation can thrive depends on the building blocks that has been established by the government to citizen model under the e-government structure.
E-government does defines the framework in place to enable the active role out of e-participation solely based on the premise of e-government being the use of technology most essentially internet or online applications to boost the access and the timely delivery of government services as well as information to citizens, businesses, government employees and other government agencies and entities. The expectation of government's delivery from citizens have been amplified by Information and Communications Technologies to the extent of accessing all that pertains to government services via mobile devices. Dealing with government and accessing government has taken a fashionable role of 'on the go' or government to the pockets for easy access.
E-government has not only been the transformation of service delivery but also the overhauling of public administration to make readily available, the thousands of request from stakeholders and citizens to government offices. The whole e-government model sees the transformation for a transformed service delivery.
The World Bank defined 'E-Government as the use by government agencies of information technologies (such as Wide Area Networks, the Internet, and mobile computing) that have the ability to transform relations with citizens, businesses, and other arms of government. These technologies can serve a variety of different ends: better delivery of government services to citizens, improved interactions with business and industry, citizen empowerment through access to information, or more efficient government management.'
Wikibooks did explain e-government as a range of technology to free movement of information to from the 'use of as a range from the usage of information technology to free movement of information to overcome the physical bounds created by traditional paper and building based systems to the use of technology to enhance access and delivery of government services to benefit citizens, business partners and employees.
The use of modern ICT, at a current moment mostly via the internet and the web technology, by Public or civil organisation in supporting the existing or future relations of stakeholders within and outside the environment to create additional value.(Bekkers 2004)
The common and stimulating effects that rhymes throughout the varying definitions does spell out the transformational process of work done, through computerizing public systems in transacting government business to citizens, businesses, employees and to other government as well. In all, it is to unearth new leadership style, innovative ways of debating and strategies determining strategies to do government business. In handling e-government, the following key achievements is what is sought to be achieved.
a) Information availability to the public and other stakeholders who need the information through electronic means.
b) Service provision to the public and other civil service entities via electronic medium.
c) Making services automated to customers in order to stale the constant need request from customers and stakeholders.
d) Central databases of information of immense importance across the key civil and public services.
e) Enhancement and restructuring in the internal processes by changing the risk approach, supporting law or regulations, procedures and processes to influence the job satisfactory levels in providing information to the public.
Types of e-government
Government to Citizen (G2C)
The G2C type of e-government is basically the services government/public offices makes available to its citizen such the birth and death certificate, drivers' license, and filing of income taxes.
Government to Business (G2B)
G2B services centres on the varying services Government provides to the business community, not ruling out any information regarding government's dealings with the business community in memos, laws and policies. G2B services or transactions spans from information sharing with regards to business operation and its governing rules to the core services such as obtaining business information, application form downloading, business registration , obtaining permits, tax payment and business license renewal.
E-procurement, another high level service made available by e-government is associated to G2B. The online government supplier exchange of the transacting goods and services by government. The e-procurement websites enables qualified and registered businesses access the platform to get business done and therefore it is an enabler in handling the registration of business to be legal entities active participants in doing business with government.
E-procurement ensures a transparent bidding process and encourages small and medium enterprises to be involved in the bidding process for huge government procurement projects. The e-procurement serves the government a huge saving plan on cost due to the reduction and elimination of purchasing agents overhead as well as other middlemen activities respectively.
Government to Employee (G2E)
Government to employee or G2E details the special services government renders its public and civil staff in terms of Human resource training and development to meet up with the challenging and changing sphere of the ever transforming age of Information and Communication Technology world. The training and development is key in sharpening the skills and capabilities of the civil service in running the day- to ' day e-government system.
Government to Government (G2G)
Government to Government transactions are done on two major blocks. We can talk of the G2G on the internal and G2G on the external or international level. Transactions executed on the internal, basically is the communication and exchange of government of data and services between the central government and local government, whiles the international focuses on exchange of data and services with the international community via bureaus.
The E-government Revolution
In the early years it was common belief that Electronic Government was only related with the simple publishing of public information on the net. After short time, the difficulties and the obstacles encountered in setting and implementing the online administrations revealed all the limits of the strategies that explicitly omitted many essential aspects for the successful modernization of public apparatus, for example re-organization public administrations and stakeholder analysis. 'The mere implementation of Internet-Technology in Public Administrations can't be considered E-government'. Successful E-government must include more factors than the only the technical aspect of IT: strategy, structure and culture of the organization have to be considered at the same level as hardware and software. Like E-Business, E-Government is a new way to do' business'. It covers all the aspects a government must consider to re-organize and to narrow itself to the always made to particular needs of the citizens.
It is common opinion that E-Business systems can be transferred one to one (without any adjustment to the public sector. Unfortunately, the simple use of E-business rules in regards to the Electronic Government isn't enough. Government has several aspects that differ from the business. The reorganization of public services and the introduction of different processes must consider some factors like politics, law, national security, citizens' privacy, etc. For all practical proposals E-government is a discipline that follows its own rules.
The strict and inflexible bureaucratic organization of public administrations is losing its meaning in an always more dynamic market. The introduction of E-government follows a trend of modernization of ancient and slow public services. This change was sparked by the introduction of New Public Management (NPM). Like its predecessor, E-government tries to find a good way to re-organize many governmental areas. Differently from NPM, E-government exploits the benefit of IT in the PA. E-government can complete NPM and give it a way to implement its goals
Actual facts show us not a one-step revolution of E-government, but a stepped evolution. To reach its main goal, i.e. a completely integrated and synergistic cooperation between all stakeholders, E-government has to follow some milestones with different levels of difficulty and completeness. Layne and Lee identify four stages of e-government development (see figure d fig below.)
1. Cataloguing: at this stage government takes the plunge publishing information on the internet. Technology hasn't a tangible influence on the office organization. Because of its lack on expertise on the Internet, the government prefers to create small and short-time oriented projects. The major task of the administration is the management of the content published on the web. Through the active access to selected information by the stakeholders over the net, PAs can save time, money and paper.
2. Transaction: bidirectional communication with the stakeholders (especially with citizens and business). The government websites evolve and citizens or organizations realize the value of the net as another service channel and want to exploit it . Online forms, Emails or even Costumer Relationship Managers are substituted for traditional paperwork. A typical example of this stage is the online portal of land register.
3. Vertical Integration: the simple automating of existing government services isn't enough. Computerization forces the PAs to revolutionize of their processes and services. Vertical integration redefines the meaning of government. The target of this revolution is to integrate central agencies with regional and local offices within similar functionalities . A practical example is the Swiss Zefix portal. This service groups the cantonal commercial registers in a single service accessible via web and allows a direct access to the register extract.
4. 'Horizontal integration refers to system integration across different functions in that a transaction in one agency can lead to automatic checks against data in other functional agencies'. This last development stage aims to integrate the different functions and services within the PA. The outcome of horizontal integration is an automated process oriented back-office organization able to interact within different offices in different regions and countries and to share resources. Pulling down the functional walls will create a one-stop government where customers can have 24-hour access to public services from their home, their offices or even on the move. Moreover, horizontal integration will not only help citizens or business realities, using Information Technologies, it will reduce plenty of time imposed by the current bureaucracy. This time reduction in the stages of processes results in a reduction of operative expenses and a more efficient and fluid administration. Technology integration is only one aspect of this stage. Horizontal integration involves managerial, organizational, cultural and politic issues too and easily accessible governmental portals, for instance www.admin.ch or www.europa.eu.int, the Swiss and the European government portals. In many countries, communication has shifted from face-to-face and postal to an electronic way of communication, i.e. telephone, E-mail, CRM, Mobile etc. Countries like Germany, where a tangible E-government strategy exists, have good developed cataloguing and their transactions are constantly improving. On the contrary, interactions (vertical and horizontal) are not developed yet. Systematic management of E-government's processes is a vision, a future goal that every public institution aspires to achieve. The simple publication of information online isn't enough.
E-Government will evolve the way government works. Leitner defines the evolution from a function-oriented and bureaucratic organization to a network-connected 'one-stop'-front with back-offices of service providers as E-Transformation . The vision Leitner gives is of fully integrated process oriented offices. E-Government is the means PAs have to exploit in order to achieve their full potential
1. e-Readiness assessment models
E-Readiness is defined as the degree to which an economy or community is prepared to participate in the digital economy (APEC 2000). The value to a community of assessing its readiness lies in evaluating its unique opportunities and challenges. For developing countries, an e-Readiness assessment can help establish basic benchmarks for regional comparison by market verticals and for national planning. Numerous existing e-Readiness assessment models vary in terms of objectives, methodologies and results. This is to say that no assessment model is likely to cover all topics and deliver the complete set of required data. Generally, the e-Readiness assessment models cover one or more of the following topics (Peter 2005):
?? Physical infrastructure ' the telecommunications infrastructure: including teledensity (usually the number of telephones per 100 people), Internet access, bandwidth, pricing, and reliability;
?? ICT use - levels of use throughout society including: homes, businesses, schools, and government;
?? Human capacity ' literacy, ICT skill levels, and vocational training;
?? Policy environment ' the legal and regulatory environment affecting ICT sector and ICT use: including telecommunications policy, trade policy, e-commerce taxation, universal service provisions, consumer protection, and privacy; and
?? ICT economy (the size of ICT sector).
A wide range of studies on e-Readiness assessment models and tools has developed to measure a country or economy's e-Readiness over the past several years. The APEC economies (2000) develop an ecommerce readiness assessment guide. The guide provides a general framework that any economy or community can apply. Its purpose is not comparison between economies, but for analysis within them. It consists of six indicators as follows:
?? Basic infrastructure and technology (access to basic infrastructure, price, speed and functionality of the infrastructure, reliability, availability of terminal equipment, infrastructure market conditions and interconnection and interoperability);
?? Access to necessary services (Internet service providers and non-IT services and distribution channels); ?? Current level and type of use of the Internet;
?? Promotion and facilitation activities;
1.1 Challenges for a successful implementation of e-Government in developing countries
The adaptive challenges of e-Government go far beyond technology; they call for organisational structure and skills, new forms of leadership, transformation of public-private partnerships (Allen et al, 2001). Many developing countries suffer from the digital divide, and they are not able to deploy the appropriate infrastructure for e-Government deployment (World Bank, 2003). Ndou, (2004) represents seven main challenges for e-Government development and implementation in developing countries as follows:
1- ICT infrastructure
2- Policy issues
3- Human capital development
4- Change management
6- Leadership role.
7- Partnership and collaboration
Citizens' development, influence on decision-making, and government transparency
Another important question that has not been much explored in the field of citizen participation and e-participation is how e-participants' development and perceived influence on decision-making through their e-participation experiences is associated with the e-participants' assessment of government transparency. This study proposes that the e-participants' perceptions of individual development that emerge from satisfaction with the quality of government responsiveness and with the user-friendliness of e-participation applications are likely to associate with their positive assessment of government transparency. For example, the e-participants who learn more about community issues (thanks to the easy-to-use e-participation applications and the quality of government responsiveness) are likely to perceive that the government agencies offering the e-participation program are capable of improving transparency, two-way communication with citizens, and participatory governance.
Roberts (2004) argues that citizens' ownership and empowerment are the essence of citizen participation values. One can argue that e-participants' perceived influence in decision-making through their e-participation experiences may lead to reduced potential conflicts regarding public policy and programs between the e-participants and government agencies. Also, the e-participants who perceive greater influence on public administration decisions and governance issues may show their positive assessment of government transparency.
In this new scenario, e-Participation includes the principle of collaboration, that is, the decision-making process and the implementation of specific solutions addressing public issues are performed by encouraging and taking advantage of the interest and knowledge of society, and by promoting joint efforts within and between public agencies. Moreover, in order to provide participation instruments to citizens, public organizations must guarantee access to all public informationin open formats, meet the guidelines on accountability issued by the Government, promote the use of social networks and collaboration platforms and create opportunities for decision-making and problem solving.
Operationalisation and Measureable of variables
World Bank retrieved http://go.worldbank.org/M1JHE0Z280
v. bekkers & v. Homburg 2004 th e Information Ecology of e-government. Washington D.C.: IOS press.
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