e-Government - Australian Public Service Commission

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Issue
3

e
-
Government

April

201
2


2

APS

Human Capita
l Matters
: e
-
Government

April 2012, Issue 3

Editor’s
n
ote to
r
eaders

Welcome to the third edition of
Human Capital Matters
for 2012

the digest for time poor
leaders and practitioners with an interest
in human capital and organisational capability. This
edition focuses on the challenges of e
-
Government within the public sector and between sectors.

The term ‘e
-
Government’ is defined by the World Bank as
the use by government agencies of
information techn
ologies (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
.
When one considers the challenges facing the APS of the future, in particular th
e increasing
demands of the population as identified in
Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of
Australian Government Administration

(2010), the role of e
-
Government in a future APS is
clear. E
-
Government is an issue of relevance to all government
agencies as it has the potential to
make transactions between government and citizens, government and business, and within
government more efficient and effective.

So what does ‘e
-
Government’ really mean? The growth of electronic means of conducting
busin
ess can be seen clearly in the existence of entire journals devoted to the topic and one of
these (the
European Journal of e
-
Practice
) focused an entire issue on
Megatrends in e
-
Government
, including seven different articles on recent thinking and activity

in e
-
Government.
A more antipodean flavour is provided by the recent New Zealand Government paper outlining a
set of principles and interventions that support cross
-
agency collaboration in online information
management and service delivery.

The evolution

of
e
-
Government

manifests itself as
m
-
Government

and is described in a joint
OECD/International Telecommunication Union paper that outlines four areas where the use of
mobile technology can support the provision of services to citizens. Important element
s in
implementing any new government services are understanding citizen needs and the capacity to
make use of these services; Zickuhr and Smith’s work for the Pew Research Center contains a
wealth of information on US citizens’ digital access. The Stratfo
rd Institute for Digital Media
provides an evaluation of e
-
Government services in Canada while the UN Public Administration
Network (UNPAN) highlights the importance, in these recessionary times, of providing more
effective e
-
responses to citizens’ needs a
nd highlights the important role an internal coordinating
function has to play in this. Finally, the US Executive Office of the President

provides an
analysis of
US Federal Government e
-
Government initiative
s
,
including their
objectives, costs

and
benefits as well as
a description of how funding for e
-
Government
programs is distributed
.

The role of e
-
Government is expanding for a range of reasons: increased availability of
technology (to both citizens and government), growing demands from citizens,
and potential
improvements in both efficiency and effectiveness of services that can be realised are but a few
of the forces driving the advance of e
-
Government initiatives across the world. This issue of
Human Capital Matters

will hopefully give readers
some idea of the scope of this. Happy
reading.

About Human Capital Matters

Human Capital Matters

seeks to provide APS leaders and practitioners with easy access to the
issues of contemporary importance in public and private sector human capital and organis
ational

3

capability. It has been designed to provide interested readers with a monthly guide to the national
and international ideas that are shaping human capital thinking and practice.

Comments and suggestions welcome

Thank you to those who took the time
to provide feedback on earlier editions of
Human Capital
Matters.
Comments, suggestions or questions regarding this publication are always welcome and
should be addressed to:
humancapitalmatters@apsc.g
ov.au
. Readers can also subscribe to the
mailing list through this email address.

European Journal of ePractice
,
‘Megatrends in eGovernment’,

No. 13,
October 2011.

The seven articles in this iss
ue examine central aspects of e
-
Government growth. They provide a
balanced analysis of relatively new e
-
Government thinking and activity

Web 2.0 and m
-
Government

and long
-
standing aspects such as simplification, citizens’ involvement and trust.
The first g
overnment websites were established some 15 years ago, and, as the editorial makes
clear, early assumptions were that the move toward e
-
Government would follow a single linear
developmental path. These early views

shaped by what the journal dubs ‘technolog
ical
determinism’

tended to emphasise the technological dimensions of e
-
Government suggesting a
rather automatic set of outcomes and benefits. Experience has demonstrated, however, that
neither of these assumptions is necessarily accurate. Project implemen
tation is more complex
than anticipated; problems and barriers are not primarily technological, but also organisational,
political, legal, and even cultural. In addition, successful solutions to e
-
Government challenges
usually depend on local conditions. T
he editorial argues that current and future e
-
Government
initiatives are likely to be shaped by different orientations and goals. This issue of the journal
aims to identify and analyse some of the broad trends and paradigms characterising today’s
internati
onal e
-
Government landscape

some of which may even determine the future of
governments themselves.

Jose Luis Blasco and Modesto Fabra discuss the evolution of e
-
Government initiatives in Spain,
and focus particularly on the role of regulation and legal fr
ameworks in stimulating and
guaranteeing electronic relationships between citizens and governments. They identify three
enduring areas for attention in ensuring successful e
-
Government outcomes: transparency,
administrative cooperation and simplification.
Mirlinda Batalli’s article also emphasises the need
for simplification. She argues that its positive consequences go far beyond increasing the
efficiency and productivity of administrative bodies. In the political arena, it can lay the
foundations for impr
oved accountability and transparency, and generate greater citizen trust in
government. Ms Batalli also discusses the strengths and weaknesses of past and present ICT
-
based strategies which have been designed to address the challenges of simplification.

Al
exander Heichlinger, Cristina Borrell and Julia Bosse analyse the applications presented in
2009 at a European award competition for innovative public sector projects. The most
frequently
-
implemented successful approaches were improving back
-
office and upg
rading
organisational processes and involving users in the design and planning phase of projects.
Thomas Zefferer and Peter Teufl examine one of the most important emergent themes in e
-
Government: m
-
Government, a concept which refers to the use of mobile p
latforms and devices
for public services. They focus particularly on the role that Smartphones can play in providing
new opportunities for improving existing services or creating new ones. The authors also provide
an action plan designed to assist in forgi
ng secure and usable smartphone
-
based m
-
Government
services. Karunakaran Sabarish discusses an m
-
Government project in the state of Kerala, India,

4

more specifically, the approaches implemented to identify services and design solutions to e
-
Government chall
enges.

Mayo Fuster explores a growing social phenomenon on the Internet that has attracted much
scholarly attention recently, but remains largely absent from the e
-
Government literature: Online
Creation Communities (also known as Peer Production Systems).

Although they originated some
two decades ago around the design of open source software, they have expanded increasingly to
encompass other domains of production. The article focuses on the new governance approach
adopted by these communities, one which f
osters, on a large scale, participation and democratic
decision
-
making within a digital environment. Marijn Plomp and Robbin te Velde analyse Web
2.0 and its place in e
-
Government. Unlike Peer Production, Web 2.0 has received much attention
from public adm
inistration practitioners and experts. Using case studies of several local
governments around the world, the authors recommend that a more objective assessment of the
actual value added by social media in the public administration context be undertaken.

T
he ‘European Journal of ePractice’ is a peer
-
reviewed European Commission
-
sponsored
publication launched in November 2007. It focuses on all aspects of ‘e
-
Transformation’.

New Zealand Government, Department of Internal Affairs, Office of the
Government Chi
ef Information Officer (GCIO),
‘Rethink Online: A New
Approach for Government Use of and Investment in Online Channels’,

July
2011, 33 pp.

The paper outlines principles and strategies for enhan
cing government utilisation of and
investment in ‘online channels’, namely, the many individual locations where government
information and services are provided to citizens using Internet technologies. These include
websites, online feeds and web services,

mobile technologies and use of third party websites and
social media. The term does not encompass non
-
customer facing enablers such as data exchange
between agencies and back
-
end service infrastructure; nor does it include business systems used
within age
ncies (e.g. email and remote desktop access). More broadly, the authors advocate a
new approach to online service provision, one marked by a move away from the existing focus
on single agency initiatives and investment toward cross
-
agency approaches in ord
er to achieve
three principal outcomes: 1) better citizen experience; 2) improved value for money; and 3)
increased strategic agility. The document is intended to refine and better direct the
Government’s focus on online channels so as to address existing

fragmentation and inefficiency
in online information and service delivery; and to better support government in meeting people’s
expectations and its own changing online management needs.

Accordingly, the paper sets out four principles and nine strategic interventions required to ensure
that cross
-
agency collaboration in online information management and service delivery becomes
the norm rather than the exception. The four principles and th
eir concomitant strategies are set
out below:



Principle 1: Coordinate how online is managed across government

(1. Set up
effective cross
-
agency planning for online delivery; 2. Have a single point of contact and
responsibility for online in every agency; a
nd 3. Measure and report the business value
and quality of online channels).



Principle 2: Share capability and adopt common approaches

(4. Concentrate skill in
centres of expertise, for use by all agencies; and 5. Share technology components,
designs and
contracts across government).


5



Principle 3: Design and deliver around people’s needs

(6. Cluster online information
and services around shared topics and audiences, not agencies; and 7. Bring all
‘government to government’ information and online tools toget
her).



Principle 4: Partner outside of government for better online delivery

(8. Open up
access to information, non
-
personal data and services; and 9. Partner with third parties
and communities for effective government online delivery).

The Office of the
Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO) provides guidance and support
to the Government in implementing its ICT strategies and initiatives.

OECD/International Telecommunication Union,
‘M
-
Government: Mobile
Technologies for Responsive Governments and Connected Societies’,

OECD
Publishing, 2011, 154 pp.

The report examines the phenomenon of mobile phone technology use

what is quickly
becoming the most rapidly
adopted technology in history and the most popular and widespread
personal technology in the world. Mobile phones also play an increasingly important role in
providing access to the Internet. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU),
ac
cess to mobile networks is now available to 90% of the world’s population, and to 80% living
in rural areas. In OECD nations, mobile broadband subscriptions rose by a compounded annual
growth rate of 20% between 2007 and 2009. As the OECD points out, gover
nments are
increasingly turning to what is being termed ‘m
-
government’ as a tool for improving services
through citizen engagement. The interoperability of mobile applications, which support quick
access to integrated data and location
-
based services, pave
s the way for innovative public sector
governance models

also called ‘mobile governance’ or ‘m
-
governance’, which is based on the
use of mobile technology in support of public services and information delivery.

The report defines ‘m
-
government’ as ‘the ad
option of mobile technologies to support and
enhance government performance and foster a more connected society.’ However, it stresses that
the emphasis here should not be on the ‘m’; rather the focus must be on public sector and end
-
user needs (those of b
oth citizens and businesses) if technology is to be used to bring about better
public sector ways of working and improved service delivery. The report acknowledges that ‘m
-
government’ is at an early stage of development in numerous jurisdictions, and, in m
any
instances, that it is still part of an overall strategy of public sector modernisation and enhanced
public service delivery. Nevertheless, it is clear that ‘m
-
government’ is already becoming a
significant driver of, or adjunct to, public sector change.


Accordingly, the report identifies four areas in which ‘m
-
government’ could be (or is already
being) employed to strengthen public sector capability and enhance outcomes for citizens:

Innovating service delivery
: (supporting governments who recognise tha
t they have reached
their service delivery limits with current approaches and who wish to design and deliver
innovative new services via higher levels of civic engagement in policy development and
democratic decision
-
making).

Empowering digitally deprived
citizens
: (making it easier for those now in large part digitally
excluded to access a wide range of government services (e.g. improved m
-
health and emergency
assistance, medical notifications and alerts, more effective banking and cash transaction
arrange
ments, enhanced delivery of educational content to students)).

Identifying partnerships and exchange between the public and private sectors
:
(sophisticated mobile technologies are being employed to establish more efficient business
processes in the public
sector, through real
-
time communication and quick data access, and more

6

agile and mobile public sector workforces; this is a key driver in exploring new public
-
private
sector partnership models and strengthening collaboration in devising solutions to servi
ce
delivery challenges).

Enhancing public sector performance and good governance
: (significant opportunities for
governments to reduce costs, improve communication and data exchange, expand service
provision and create greater digital equality; this makes

‘m
-
government’ a significant tool in
improving governance and reducing global poverty).

The report argues that understanding the underlying concepts and motivational factors
which
explain the emergence of ‘m
-
government
’ is crucial if governments are

to s
et prioriti
es and
formulate policies that maximise the opportunities offered by ‘the next generation of public
services’ of which ‘m
-
government’ is such a key part
.

The OECD’s mission is to promote policies designed to improve the economic and social well
-
being of peoples across the globe through research, collaboration and other activities aimed at
strengthening good governance. The International Telecommunication Union is the specialised
UN agency responsible for enhancing international ICT outcomes.

Pe
w Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project,
‘Digital
Differences’,

Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C., April 2012, 41 pp.

Although this re
port on Internet use across the USA, by two Pew Internet research specialists,
Kathryn Zickuhr and Aaron Smith, does not focus directly on government’s use of e
-
tools in
providing services to citizens, it nevertheless contains extensive survey data and ana
lysis which
would be useful to public administration practitioners in framing their ICT policies and practices
and serving citizens. The report is based on a Pew tracking survey which was in the field
between 25 July and 26 August 2011. It was administered

by landline and cell phone, in English
and Spanish, to 2,260 adults aged 18 years and over (Pew conducted its first such survey in
2000).

The survey’s main findings about the state of digital access across America were as follows:



One in five American ad
ults does not use the Internet (those least likely to do so are
senior citizens, those who chose to take the survey in Spanish rather than English, adults
with less than a high school education, and those living in households earning less than
$30,000 per
year).



Of all adults surveyed, 78% replied that they use the Internet (up from 47% in 2000)
(80% of men, up from 50% in 2000; 76% of women, up from 45% in 2000).



Age was a major factor in shaping usage: 18

29 years age group (94% use the Internet,
up from
61% in 2000); 30

49 years (87%, up from 57% in 2000); 50

64 years (74%, up
from 41% in 2000); and 65 years and over (41%, up from 12% in 2000).



Almost half of those who said they did not use the Internet indicated that their main
reason for not going onli
ne is that they don’t think the Internet is relevant to them.



The 27% of American adults living with disability are significantly less likely than adults
without a disability to go online (54% vs. 81%); 2% of adults have a disability or illness
that makes
it difficult or impossible for them to use the Internet at all.



Internet access is no longer synonymous with going online using a desktop computer.
Today, 88% of American adults have a cell phone, 57% have a laptop, 19% own an e
-
book reader, and 19% have a

tablet computer

about six in 10 adults (63%) go online
wirelessly with one of these devices.


7



The mobile phone has become the dominant e
-
communication tool overall, but there are
discernible differences even here: both African
-
Americans and English
-
speaki
ng Latinos
are as likely as white Americans to own a mobile phone, but are more likely to use their
phones for a wider range of activities.

The Pew Research Center

is a Washington, D.C.
-
based think tank that focuses on analysis of
national and global societal trends through ambitious survey work and reporting. The Pew
Internet & American Life Project, which was established in 2000, looks at the role of the Internet
in American life.

The Stratford Institute for Digital Media,
‘Becoming a Digital Nation: An
Evaluation of Provincial and Territorial e
-
Government Initiatives’
,

April
2012, 89 pp.

The report evaluates Canada’s provincial and territorial e
-
Government initiatives by exploring
online services and information provision and the effectiveness of online citizen engagement
activity. It has two purposes: 1) to serve as
an impartial, data
-
driven analysis which can support
provincial and territorial government Chief Information Officers in improving public sector e
-
services to citizens; and 2) to provide a benchmark for future studies that measure e
-
Government
progress in
each Canadian jurisdiction.

‘Becoming a Digital Nation’ does not focus on the relative ratings of jurisdictions but rather
identifies the best practices emerging across governments. The online suite of services of
Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial g
overnments are also compared with those of three
international jurisdictions

Massachusetts, California and Wales. Using a three
-
tiered evaluation
framework developed through national stakeholder consultations and modelled in part on
existing mechanisms for

evaluating e
-
Government services, the report looks at how well citizens
are able to complete basic government services online (e.g. changing one’s address on a driver’s
license); how effectively they can access government information online (e.g. research
ing
available funding options for starting a business); and how well they are able to engage and
interact with their government online (e.g. ‘tweeting’ in response to a significant civic issue on
an official government Twitter feed).

The best performers in

each category were: Quebec for its provision of citizen
-
centric online
services; Ontario for its provision of integrated online information; and Alberta for its effective
use of social media to engage with citizens online. Across all categories, British C
olumbia was
the leader. Of the three assessment categories, the study found the greatest variation to be in that
of online engagement, with only six of the 13 jurisdictions employing all three evaluated social
media platforms to connect with citizens. The
study also indicated that the Canadian jurisdictions
compared well with their foreign comparators: four provinces were ahead of, and the other nine
were competitive with, their international counterparts.

The authors acknowledge that their report offers on
ly a baseline measurement from citizens’
perspectives of how they access government services, find government information, and engage
with their government online (albeit an ambitious one). Accordingly, they recommend that a
more comprehensive evaluation b
e undertaken based on an internal analysis and assessment of
issues specific to government web development (e.g. security, digital archiving, e
-
Procurement).
They also stress that future studies should take account of advances made as government
websites i
ncorporate newer online tools and technologies into their existing website structures.


8

The Stratford Institute for Digital Media is a Canadian organisation which conducts research
and facilitates consultation about Canada’s digital developments and prospe
cts. Brainmaven
Research Inc. is a research consultancy based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN),
‘E
-
Government for
t
he People’ (2012 Global E
-
Government Survey),

February 2012 (Report 143
pp; Annexes 19 pp).

The survey on which the report is based was conducted between December 2011 and February
2012. It explored the inter
-
linkages between e
-
Government and sustainable
development efforts.
As well as setting out the United Nations e
-
Government rankings for 2012, the report analyses
how governments are employing e
-
Government policies and programs to support sustainable
development efforts worldwide. The report finds that
progress in online service delivery
continues in most nations. Countries are putting in place e
-
Government initiatives and ICT
applications aimed at enhancing public sector efficiencies and improving governance systems.
Among the e
-
Government leaders, inno
vative technology solutions have gained special
recognition as a means of revitalising lagging economic and social sectors.

The overall finding of the 2012 survey is that, while it is important in today’s recessionary
international climate to continue the

focus on service delivery, governments must increasingly
begin to rethink their e
-
Government and e
-
governance approaches. In doing so, they should
focus more on developing and facilitating integrated e
-
responses to citizens’ concerns. The
presence of a na
tional coordinating authority with this role, for example, could help greatly to
overcome internal barriers and focus minds on citizen concerns and needs. The report also argues
that e
-
Government provides public administration practitioners with powerful t
ools for grappling
with problems of social equity and the digital divide. The caveat here is that governments must
devise effective channels of communication that fit national circumstances while at the same
time taking steps to increase usage of online an
d mobile services in order to realise their full
benefit to citizens.

The E
-
Government Development Index lists the top 20 world e
-
Government leaders for 2012 as
follows: 1) Republic of Korea; 2) Netherlands; 3) United Kingdom; 4) Denmark; 5) USA; 6)
France; 7) Sweden; 8) Norway; 9) Finland; 10) Singapore; 11) Canada; 12) Aus
tralia; 13) New
Zealand; 14) Liechtenstein; 15) Switzerland; 16) Israel; 17) Germany; 18) Japan; 19)
Luxembourg; and 20) Estonia. Three of the top 20 nations are from Asia, with the region as a
whole having a higher level of e
-
Government development than
the world average (the Asian
and world leader, the Republic of Korea’s rating was more than double the world average e
-
Government score). The leaders in Oceania (14 nations surveyed) were Australia, New Zealand,
Fiji and Tonga. Other ratings included Vanu
atu (ninth place), Marshall Islands (11), Solomon
Islands (13) and Papua New Guinea (14).

This year’s survey found that nations have begun to move from a decentralised single
-
purpose
organisation model of e
-
Government to an integrated and unified whole of

government model
focused more on citizens. This approach fosters stronger institutional linkages by means of
interconnected departments and divisions; better governance systems; and improved service
delivery to the public. However, the efforts of most co
untries at all levels of development are
still variously affected by overly complex e
-
Government development plans, lack of (or poor)
infrastructure and human resources capacity, and a gap between e
-
services supply and demand.
Low
-
income countries, in part
icular, continue to have to contend with traditional barriers to ICT
investment such as a paucity of technical skills, high technology costs and ineffective
government regulation.


9

UNPAN, established in 1999, is a major UN program designed to assist develop
ing countries to
respond to the digital challenges they face. The Global E
-
Government Report provides an
assessment of e
-
development both between nations and within individual countries. It also
identifies digital trends of significance.

USA, Executive Off
ice of the President of the United States,

‘Report to
Congress on the Benefits of the President’s E
-
Government Initiatives Fiscal
Year 2011’
,

294 pp (key summary details, pp. 1

44).

This report, compiled by the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB), contains detailed
analysis of each Federal Government e
-
Government initiative, its related objectives, costs,
benefits, risks and development
status as well as sources of distribution of e
-
Government
funding. The information set out in the report is aligned with the activities described in the
President’s 2011 Budget. The first section, ‘Summary of E
-
Government Initiatives’, provides
an overvi
ew of all E
-
Government and Line of Business (LoB) initiatives. Initiatives are broken
down into five focus areas (‘portfolios’), including the LoBs. These five areas (and a
representative example of e
-
activity undertaken within each category) are listed be
low:

Government to Citizen
: (Managing Partner: Department of Labor (DOL))

Benefits.gov is the
Federal Government’s official benefits website which provides all citizens with information and
eligibility prescreening services for more than 1,000 federally fu
nded benefit and assistance
programs. It also creates and hosts multiple other websites on behalf of its federal partner
agencies (e.g. GovLoans.gov), each of which leverages Benefits.gov’s existing architecture,
infrastructure and management framework. Mo
re than 43 million citizens have completed a free
online questionnaire designed to inform them of their eligibility to access government benefits.

Government to Business
: (Managing Partner: Small Business Administration (SBA))

SBA’s
mission is to maintain

and strengthen the nation’s economy by assisting small business, in
particular, to address the requirements of government regulation. The mechanism for doing so is
the Business Gateway, which is designed to ensure easier citizen access to information and
reduce the burden of, and help people comply with, government regulations. The Gateway
utilises the Internet to transform government into a more innovative, reliable, and citizen
-
centred
partner in improving efficiencies for entrepreneurs and small busines
s owners. It signifies a
major shift in distributing information and services, one designed in the interests of financial
savings, citizen engagement and collaboration.

Government to Government
: (Managing Partner: Department of Homeland Security (DHS))

The

Disaster Management (DM) initiative benefits all levels of government by facilitating
greater collaboration within and between agencies in responding to emergencies. The
DisasterAssistance.gov portal provides timely planning and response information to th
ose
charged with special responsibility for dealing with disasters.

Internal Efficiency and Effectiveness
: (Managing Partner: Office of Personnel Management
(OPM))

The Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) program supports the strategic
management
of human capital by providing agency customers with access to timely and accurate
Federal Government workforce data. A key EHRI initiative is the electronic Official Personnel
Folder (eOPF), a web
-
based application that is capable of storing, processing,
and displaying the
OPFs of all current, separated and retired Federal Government employees. It will ultimately
encompass a public sector population of more than 1.9 million people; and is intended to replace
the existing manual HR process by automating Fed
eral Government HR arrangements, thereby
creating a streamlined HR system for all federal employees.


10

Lines of Business
: (Managing Partner: Department of Education (ED))

The aim of the Budget
Formulation and Execution LoB is to create ‘a budget office of th
e future’ by promoting
information sharing across government agency budget offices and building a ‘community of
practice’ so as to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness in formulating and executing the
Federal Government’s Budget.

The Executive Offi
ce of the President (EOP ) consists of the US President’s staff

policy and
administrative

and is headed by a Chief of Staff.