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E-government - organizational and democratic challenges Åke Grönlund Örebro University, Sweden.

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Presentation on theme: "E-government - organizational and democratic challenges Åke Grönlund Örebro University, Sweden."— Presentation transcript:

1 E-government - organizational and democratic challenges Åke Grönlund Örebro University, Sweden

2 All on the web, but little change  eGovernment studies consistently report a lack of the much hoped-for efficiency gains by reorganization and cross- organizational integration, particularly at local level.  “While 467 local councils in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have web sites 23 – 5 % - have 'transactional' services” (Society of Information Technology Management) – and little progress

3 Why? 9 Swedish government agencies – local, regional and national – regarding their view of drivers and obstacles 4 hypotheses:  lack of economic incentives  No sense of crisis  Lack of user “e-readiness”  Conflicting goals

4 Swedish eGov agenda 10 yrs  1995: “Top Leaders’ Forum”  1997: Gov Bill “Public Administration at the Service of the Citizens”  1999/2000 Gov Bill ”An Information Society for all”, a close match to the EU initiative ”eEurope”  2001/02 Gov Bill “Democracy for the New Millennium”  Swedish Agency for Public Management (SAPM): developing standards for IT and information transfer and initiating, supporting and monitoring progress among government agencies

5 As of the bills…. In the information society:  ”People will change”  ”Ways of doing business will change”  ”Education will change”  ”Companies will change”  But never: ”Government will change”

6 Practitioners views 1. Which are the driving forces for developing e- services? 2. What is the knowledge about, and the view on, the national policy documents in the field? 3. What e-services have been implemented? 4. What are the visions for the future? 5. What is the influence of companies on the development of public e-services? 6. How are e-services developed? 7. What organized cross-organizational cooperation is there, and how do the actors view the needs in this respect? 8. What are the main obstacles for further development?

7 Validity  Typical views among leading government practitioners  Organizations together cover 20 % of the Swedish population  2nd largest city  2nd largest region  2 of the largest national government agencies.  6 of the smallest towns  1 rural region.  Views founded in long history of IT development and eGov efforts

8 (H1) Lack of economic incentives SAPM:  Investment comes first – payback comes… when? One-year budget strongly guiding the behaviour  Benefits to one agency may require investment in another  Unclear how to share development costs that benefit more agencies  Some investments are too large for individual agencies to bear -> national support or cooperation is necessary  Investments yielding societal benefits, bring small or no agency benefit, and cannot be financed by fees are not made

9 Lack of economic incentives? (1)  Automated voice service saves 88 % of the cost per call  Economic incentives are designed on a per- agency basis and do not favor cross-border cooperation  A strict one-year planning horizon  Low level of competence in measuring effects of e-service use in local government  Defensive attitude  Lack of political leadership  Require national directives, e g signatures  National work division?  Municipal law forbids municipalities to sell innovations

10 Lack of economic incentives ? (2)  “Good e-services trigger demands for better services and this might eat up efficiency gains”  Whole systems factors, e g reorganization, are not rewarded: Costs and benefits unbalanced  Many mention positive effects of citizen demand creating a pressure for reorganization, only one of the municipalities in our investigation has systematically worked for implementation of this  Lack of technical and semantic standards  Political decisions at national level regarding cooperation and standards are lacking  e-services not yet integrated part of daily business operations

11 (H2) There is no sense of crisis requiring eGov investment in the agencies where it is supposed to be implemented  Case studies and anecdotal evidence (e g Kawalek et al, 2003) supported by evidence from other fields

12 No sense of crisis?  e-Gov not politically driven - delegated to lower level adm, often IT dept -> reorganization not an issue  “Better service” – non-urgent issues quoted as drivers  Crises usually seen as budget deficits and lack of staff -> eGov not seen as a solution  Little look to research -> eGov seen as simple implementation  Often a special organization for dealing with e- services but on top of the ordinary business not as change driver

13 (H3) Service users and providers lacking skills and means to make use of the electronic medium EU agenda:  Broadband connectivity  User “trust”  Education  % of people online…varies across countries

14 Users not ready?  Citizen trust in government and e-services high  “e-service supply is too limited, citizens want more”  No major problems with using services  e-services providing user value much used  “the coming IT-generations are expected to demand more e-services”  New channels such as SMS considered attractive  Some services have not yet found their place/lack of general services  Government’s lack of care for privacy aspects make users hesistant

15 (H4) Local gov’s have conflicting goals, and other ones are sometimes prioritised over investing in eGov to improve government efficiency  Local employment -> why scrap public sector jobs for achieving a more efficient public sector if the whole municipality would then suffer from increased unemployment?  Problem cutting manual services -> risk that e-services would only increase costs

16 Conflicting goals, other priorities? (1)  Internal driving forces mentioned include providing better services, utilizing resources better, and attracting staff by being a more modern organization. These factors can to considerable degree be dealt with within each organization and are treated in this way  Cross-border cooperation is only rarely happening, and several respondents require the national government to make some services compulsory or provide incentives  Unclear how services provided correspond to citizen needs, as structured investigations of needs/requirements are not made  Noone wants to make a risky investment, national policy later making local services obsolete -> turf war stage?

17 Conflicting goals, other priorities (2)  Defensive rationalization for to meet budget constraints -> not strength left for (proactive) reorganization  eGov issues delegated -> eGov not considered in a restructuring perspective -> eGov competing cost  No tradition of cooperation, among municipalities and between municipalities and companies  Cooperation seen as threat to local innovation, adaptation to local conditions, and – for small municipalities– local independence  Public sector lacks procedures and experience in commercializing innovations

18 Conclusions +Lack of economic incentives +No sense of crisis eGov can solve -User “e-readiness” +Conflicting goals

19 Discussion  The “lack of readiness”, implying steady if slow progress towards a politically defined goal should be challenged  Balancing central – local. The role of local governments at stake  Uncertainty of national policy implementation -> -> turf wars  Elements of standardization both at technical level and service level lacking  “Market model” has not driven reorganization across borders -> System level incentives?

20 ….  The long list of drivers and inhibitors indicate that eGovernment development is complex and involves a number of challenges. There is no one straight-forward way towards the electronic government, and what is positive at one stage may prove an obstacle at the next  eGov can not be treated just as a way to achieve internal organizational efficiency – “external” issues regarding societal organization are at stake. The automating stage is well underway, now comes the governance stage

21 eGov as evolutionary system 1. Administrative engineering 2. Consultations, e- lobbying, voluntary org’s 3. ”e-democracy”: often information focus 4. ”user” e-dem: administrators in charge 5. E-service ”do-it- yourself”, community networking 6. eGov: formalization to implement policy

22 Reorganization – for what?  Most ignored eGov issue: The e-citizen: what is she like, and how does she relate to the electronic government?  From eDemocracy to participation? The emancipated eServiceCitizen?  The role of municipalities? - Less of service providers, more of community? - More of service providers leaving community to civil society organizations?

23 Benchmarking for change Current EU: 1. Information 2. Interaction (download forms) 3. 2-way interaction (form processing, authentication) 4. Transactions (case handling, decision, delivery, payment) Future? 1. Information/catalogue 2. Two-way communication 3. Service and financial transactions 4. Vertical and horizontal integration 5. Political (citizen) participation (Moon, 2002; Abramson&Means, 2001)

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