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Concept on e-Government and the e-Governance

Presentation by M Abdus Sobhan, PhD Professror School of Engineering and Computer Science Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) Dhaka, Bangladesh asobhan@secs.iub.edu.bd, sobhan30@gmail.com Tel: 01552 335892
National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

1.

Introduction

j Government is the institution itself, whereas governance is a broader concept describing forms of governing which are not necessarily in the hands of the formal government. j Corporate governance, for example, refers to how the private sector structures its internal mechanisms to provide for accountability to its stakeholders; and while government may be involved in this through the company law, there are aspects which it does not control. j By governance, we mean the processes and institutions, both formal and informal, that guide and restrain the collective activities of a group. j Government is the subset that acts with authority and creates formal obligations. j Governance need not necessarily be conducted exclusively by governments.
National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

j Private firms, associations of firms, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and associations of NGOs all engage in it, often in association with governmental bodies, to create governance; sometimes without governmental authority. j There is no single source which can be used as a definitive statement of the meaning and scope of the terms µe-Government¶ and µe-Governance¶.

2.0

Definition of e-Government

j The OECD states that ³the term e-Government focuses on the use of new

information and communication technologies (ICTs) by governments as applied to the full range of government functions. In particular, the networking potential offered by the Internet and related technologies has the potential to transform the structures and operation of government´.
j The World Bank suggests that: ³e-Government refers to 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.
National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

These technologies better deliver government services to citizens, improved interactions with business and industry, citizen empowerment through access to information, or more efficient government management to less corruption, increased transparency, greater convenience, revenue growth, and/or cost reductions´

3.0 Definition of e-Governance
Richard Heeks proposes that the term µe-Governance¶ should be seen to encompass all ICTs, but the key innovation is that of computer networks ± from intranets to the Internet. Connections within government ± permitting 'joined-up thinking'. Connections between government and NGOs/citizens ± strengthening accountability. Connections between government and business/citizens ± transforming service delivery. Connections within and between NGOs ± supporting learning and concerted action. Connections within and between communities ± building social and economic development.
National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

As a result, Heeks suggests, the focus of e- Governance shifts from just parts of eAdministration, in the case of e-Government, to also encompass e-Citizens, eServices and e-Society. The joint UNESCO-COMNET-IT study of e-Governance defines governance as ³the process by which society steers itself. In this process, the interactions between the State, Private Enterprise and Civil Society are being increasingly conditioned and modified through the influence of ICTs. Examples of these shifts in dynamics are exemplified by: the use of the Internet by Civil Society, NGOs and professional associations to mobilize opinion and influence decision- making processes that affect them. the increasing electronic delivery of Government and commercial services and information.
National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

the electronic publication of draft legislation and statements of direction for public feedback. on the infrastructure side, the increased adoption of e-enabled community centers, the liberalization of telecom markets and trends towards web-enabled mobile telephony and digital television are facilitating this evolution.
Jim Melitski describes the e-Government as a continuum which begins with information provision when organizations and public agencies publish static information to the Internet, but then moves on as public organizations become more advanced and ³are able to provide more dynamic, transactional services.

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

Ultimately the continuum leads to organizational transformation, the transparency of public agencies, increased citizen participation in government, and facilitation of democratic processes´. e-Government is at one end of this continuum, while e-Governance is at the other, but it is not easy, nor really worthwhile, to distinguish where exactly is the dividing line between these concepts. However, in order to keep the distinction as clear as possible, here the term e-Government is essentially restricted to the electronic enablement of services (both to the external stakeholders and to internal customers), while e-Governance refers to non-service specific activities of government and public agencies.

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

Aims and objectives of e-Government and e-Governance The World Bank analyses the potential effects of e-Government under the following headings: ‡ Better service delivery to citizens ‡ Improved services for business ‡ Transparency and anti-corruption ‡ Empowerment through information ‡ Efficient government purchasing

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

Aims and objectives of e-Government and e-Governance Contd.
As can be seen, the first third and fourth of these goals belong in the realm of eGovernance. As for example, the e-Europe project has the following goal: ³The overarching goal of e-Europe is to connect Europe as fast as possible to the net. In order to do reach this goal, the action plan foresees initiatives in three areas: a cheaper, faster and more secure internet investments in people and capabilities encouragement of the use of the internet These goals and objectives clearly relate to the putting in place of infrastructure and the critical success factors which are likely to contribute to the eventual impact of the Internet, rather than to the final impacts and outcomes of eGovernment and e-Governance.

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

Aims and objectives of e-Government and e-Governance Contd.

Many countries recommending that the definitions emerge as a result of the applications of ICT in Government and the way the terms are being described, that is e-government, e-governance and e-democracy. This approach is subject to debate and exploration rather than outright rejection of any definitions. A case can be made that it is through the development of terminology that a subject matter can be evolved. Putting the ³e´ on services, such as e-Health, e-Participation, e-Voting, e-Environment or e-Weather, for example, serves as a guide to the wider subject matter of e-government. More importantly, the use of terms such as e-Government, eGovernance and e-Democracy, leads to the creation of an identifiable discipline.
National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

This then widens the development of the subject beyond the parameters of simply government boundaries to the larger spheres of civil society, associations, unions, the business community, international organizations and the academic world. A moving away from definitions of what government is doing in the "e" world only leads to a lessening of accountability of the activities in which any government is engaged. In society, it is the identifying of concepts through words and phrases that leads to cohesion and order. Subject matters create throughout the society. an ambience between stakeholders

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

For example, "public transportation³ or "environmental³ issues are phrases understood by citizens who then relate them in their minds to the mass movements of our times. This is the way e-government must go. To move away from this Identification that has been communicated through government websites, at the political level and in the media, can only lead to confusion. Attempts to redefine e-government, e-governance and e-democracy, would only keep the current framework so that society knows the goal that government is trying to achieve.

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

In time, technologies will change the way society shapes itself and this will lead to a widening of this subject matter into new spheres. At that point a new nomenclature will arise reflecting the change articulated in future generations. But this new nomenclature will only be an extension of the discipline that began to evolve in the late twentieth century. The danger in this time of modernity is the urge to move with the latest "craze³ or "fad". It is the job of governments to maintain stability at times of great change in which we are now living.

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

Part of this stability is being forward thinking while keeping rooted in acceptable principles and processes. Government, governance and democracy have been with us for a long while. By adding the "e" to these words we maintain a stream of thought and a conceptual framework with which the public can relate. Governments are not in the business of creating fads. For these reasons, here we explore the concepts of e-government and e-governance and to separate out how these two terms differ and how workable they are in our new digital environments.

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

As will be seen, many international organizations have come to accept these terms, and they, and other respected thinkers and authors, are contributing to this important process of change. This lecture looks at the nature of government and governance. Particular focus, and much of the lecture, is devoted to how one approaches these terms in the context of public administration. This lecture then ties them together in the context of the emerging "e" environments. The purpose here is to create clarity in relation to these terms precisely because e-government and e-governance have been used so interchangeably.

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

Such clarity could lead to a greater depth of exploration of the subject matter and assist in the development of the internal process of government, and the impacts these processes and subsequent delivery mechanisms are having on individual citizens and groups overall (governance). E-democracy and online consultations are dealt with in the last part of this article, as e-Democracy is actually the natural extension of eGovernance. In pre-Internet times, targeted institutions, groups and society were an important part of policy development. Now, with these new tools, more citizens and stakeholders can be embraced in to the process.
National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

However, this is not going to be an easy progression and many changes (in both the government and society at large) will need to occur before any major engagements take place. Research of the activities of many governments a round the world, and of international organizations, shows that much is to be done to move into this new form of governance. Governments on the whole are aware of the changing expectations of their citizenry, and the desire by especially not for profit groups, and emerging e-democracy groups, to have a say in the evolution of government policy. This is a serious governance issue that many governments are now facing. How governments deal with this could very well determine future relationships between government and the citizenry.

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

4.0

e-Government vs. e-Governance

The terms "government" and "governance³ are currently in widespread use, sometimes interchangeably. It is important to develop a distinction between the two. Thus, we explore here both the overlap as well as the conceptual distinctions that these two concepts embody, because there are different implications for electronic versions of each.

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

5.0

Conceptual Clarification

Professor Donald F. Kettl's recent book, ³The Transformation of Governance´, on the historical analysis of American public administration provides some good discussion on government and governance. Government is an institutional superstructure that society uses to translate politics into policies and legislation. Governance is the outcome of the interaction of government, the public service, and citizens throughout the political process, policy development, program design, and service delivery.

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

Governments are specialized institutions that contribute to governance. Representative governments seek and receive citizen support, but they also need the active cooperation of their public servants. Governance is the outcome of politics, policies, and programs. We here focus on the distinction between government and governance, particularly as manifest in e-government and egovernance.

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

Easy accessibility and outreach determine the nature of µGovernance 'against µGovernment'.
National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

The table in the next slide summarizes the characteristics of both conventional and electronic Government and Governance that Kettl has identified in his research. Within the category of government in the table below, are included both program design and service delivery.

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

Government
superstructure decisions rules roles implementation outputs

Governance
functionality processes goals performance coordination outcomes

e-Government
Electronic service delivery electronic workflow electronic voting electronic productivity

e-Governance
electronic consultation electronic controllership electronic engagement networked societal guidance

National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Ministry of Planning GoB, 03 May, 2010

6.0

Electronic Networks

Email, the killer application of the decade. Spam is the administrative headache. Governments are framing legislation to combat spams. WWW, Internet, e-Government, and e-Governance and e-Services through websites.

7.0

Decisions

Governments must take decisions to authorize actions. National decisions will involve policies and/or programs that have society-wide impacts. In these cases the possibility of regional differences may require that negotiations be undertaken with local governments or groups so that program delivery can be Customized to different circumstances.

International decisions, either bilateral or multilateral, may require even more perseverance and diplomacy than those that are confined to a government's national sovereignty. Decisions that are confined to a particular policy, program, department, region, or group, will usually be easier to frame, negotiate, and finalize. Partnerships between governments and other individuals or groups in civil society, are the newest version of collaborative decisions.

8.0

Rules

Max Weber characterized government bureaucracy. Can bureaucratic rules and regulations conform to eGovernment or e-Governance? Highly qualified bureaucrats or knowledge workers to master multi-tasking?

9.0

Conclusion

The growth of ICTs and programs, implementing old and new technologies, requires a continuous stream that can be understood by the public. This point becomes evident when assessing and comparing the six milestones of government and the six milestones of e-Governance, as setout earlier. These pillars of public administration, evolved and articulated over the past three to four centuries, have created a professional and modern public service. This evolution has come about through careful debate, trial and error and implementation.

Change as has been needed as public service organizations around the world grew to cope with the challenges of the modern world. Public Administration as a discipline is recognized and accepted in academic and public sector Institutions worldwide. The pillars of e-Government and e-Governance are now being defined and considered as the natural extensions of the sound methodologies of how government organizations should be run. It is recognized that while the rapid evolution of new technologies have created challenges for all governments, sound administrative principles are the order of the day.

It is not a question of throwing out all that public sector has developed over the past hundreds of years but rather taking the tried and true principles of public administration and applying them to the "e³ world. Governments by nature are conservative organizations and slow to adapt to change. In the private sector slowness in adapting to change can be disastrous for a company who may have to close up shop because of poor administration, bad administrative practices, errors in judgment about changes within Their company, or misreading of the public mood. Companies are very much subject to the winds of change. Governments are the reverse.

Governments are the stable point in a society. It doesn't matter how much cynicism might come from certain quarters of the media or the public at large - governments do not dissolve. Political parties are subject to mood swings and changing loyalties in the public but, in all strong democracies, it is a change of political parties that become the "elected³ government. The public administration continues and does not go away because a new Political party takes office.

Thank You