As if responding to some of the recent comments upon this blog, I’d ordered an offprint of the editorial to the October 2008 edition of Government Information Quarterly an American-based academic journal of high standing. The article, since it is rather more than a usual editorial and is six pages long with a healthy set of references, bears the title: “The E-Government paradox: Better customer service doesn’t necessarily cost less.”
The first page is quite clear as to what the authors, John Carlo Bertot and Paul T. Jaeger, believe, as they state:
“here is the dilemma: to develop citizen-oriented E-Government services that achieve cost savings implies that governments know what citizens want from E-Government. And if they do not know, governments are actively seeking to discover what citizens want from E-Government. These sorts of information collection by governments, however, are rare at best. To engage citizenry in E-Government requires a range of iterative and integrated design processes.”
I entirely agree, in fact the processes I would argue are as rare as rocking-horse s**t, and I go further than that in my model by expecting the the iteration to occur across all channels, not just e-government ones.
The editors conclude that: “E-government is iterative and requires commitment, a desire to measure service quality, and a willingness to implement the lessons learned.”
Here, here! I also commend their use of the term ‘citizen’, this may indicate a turnaround in US thinking, away from the ‘customer’ focus of New Public Management days.
Bertot, J. C., Jaeger, P.T., (2008). “The E-Government paradox: Better customer service doesn’t necessarily cost less.” Government Information Quarterly 25(2): 149-154.