Thursday, October 13, 2011

Module 4 and 2 other things

The e-government projects in the class example
Heeks (2003) states that " e-government- the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve the activities of public sector organizations- brings with it the promise of greater efficiency and effectiveness of public sector operations"(p.2). The examples below show how the Federal government tries to achieve effectiveness by making information available to citizens and allowing them participate in decision-making by bringing issues that concern them to the forefront without going through red tapes. is a very good example of a moderation system in that issues are sifted by the signatures they gather- this encourages collaboration among citizens.- is an excellent site for research information both national and international. It is quite unfortunate that the site is going dark (thankfully, some datasets are still available on the site). provides cloud computing services for government agencies, businesses, and people. This site is truly a trendsetter and considering role the US government played in the evolution of the internet, this shows that the government is not letting up. allows citizens follow the money allocated to the recovery act., and all allows citizens participate, share their stories, and inform the government on issues that affect the people. All the sites are in compliance with Section 508 and  explicitly state their privacy policies.  My favorite sites are I find it interesting that issues i thought would garner the highest signatures were not even on the list on the wethepeople petition list. The initiatives on if properly advertised would bring out the creativity in citizens. I believe that the government has to do more in emphasizing the availability of these e-governmen initiatives and disabuse thoughts that initiatives as this are a waste of taxpayer funds
City of Richmond, VA
 Wohlers (2007) notes that "e-government can profoundly shape government and citizen relations"(p.6). One of his ideas also is that e-government if properly harnessed would enhance democracy. Indeed, e-government provides an avenue for greater participation because access to the internet is inexpensive and e-citizenship may be the future. However, as Wohler notes e-democracy however is still in its growing stages. Many governments have embraced the idea of e-government and e-democracy and adapted it to suit their purposes. 
The site I chose is the Mayor's Participation, Action and Communication team (MPACT) (City of Richmond, Virginia). MPACT encourages community participation and city action by allowing citizens to report priority issues such as potholes, overgrown lots, abandoned cars, non-functioning streetlights online or by mobile apps. The site also provides data on issues opened and closed. The concepts that are operationalized in this site are citizen participation and collaboration. The availability of concierge service on the website provides for accountability and transparency. In sum, MPACT allows the government of Richmond address the issues that affect the residents of Richmond ensure efficient service delivery. The project also allows the city government ensure that the services delivered to the people have public value as determined by the citizens and not by the government.
The technologies being used are online services, mobile services, call centers, and mobile apps and interactive maps. These technologies are accessible to all. Physical communication and interactions are also used in the form of sector meetings. 
MPACT does a good job of ensuring accountability and tracking. The concierge services allows residents to track and follow up on issues. The site also provides information on cases opened and closed. The number of issues reported show that citizens use this e-government tool. However, I would suggest that a moderation or recommender system be put in place. This system would address issues that come from all areas in the city. This may prevent an overactive section of the residents from dominating and receiving government services just because they are active.

Heeks, R. (2003). Most e-Government- for- Development Projects Fail. How can risks be reduced?  
Wohlers, T.E. (2007). Comparative E-Government: Trends and Sophistication at the grassroots. 

Answers anyone?
1) Is there any real difference between e-government and e-democracy?
2) The article (E-government paradox: Better Customer service doesn't necessarily cost less) argues that citizens should be engaged and involved in the use of e-government; the article also lists steps -I totally agree-. My question is if citizens want lets say a computer but do not know how the computer would look like or the structure it would take, does the government follow the idea citizens come up with or does the government take the lead and build the computer?

On another note, I found this site while looking at Yuma County's website. It is a private initiative that incorporates what e-government can do. Enjoy the games.

1 comment:

  1. I like the MPACT feature of a timeline for citizen issues. I think citizens often contact their cities to report issues, though do not receive updates as to how that issue is being addressed. As such, this service really is citizen-centered, showing how the city is participating with citizens and listening to their demands.