An interesting item is picked up on Asia Pacific Futuregov by Robin Hicks. He reports an interview with Haiyan Qian, Director of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management at the United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), and one of those behind the UN’s survey criticised in other posts.  Qian has stated that the criteria for judging e-government performance are under review, to allow for advances in technology and governance.

He records that Qian revealed one of the new criteria policymakers needed to consider to perform well in the 2012 UN E-Government Survey as being open data.  She also said. “However, some criteria will remain the same. The digital divide has been a key yardstick for the UN survey from day one. We still need to remind countries not to forget long-standing issues that can get overlooked in the hurry to roll out new services.”

Another topic, which is how citizens engage with government is merited is also being updated and Qian is reported as stating “We want to see governments engaging citizens actively, not passively. Gathering citizen feedback is not enough. Citizens need to be drawn into decision-making and monitoring to help governments boost transparency and accountability, and reduce corruption.” I look forward to the new coalition bringing this one in.

I also look to the new government tackling another ongoing issue  that of the use of ICT to help vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. Qian is particularly concerned with women saying in the report that “We want to look at how women can benefit from ICT and government e-services“, and “According to recent research, women do not always benefit from ICT. The reverse can be true. For instance, the internet has facilitated a rise in female trafficking.”

Another group of excluded citizens being picked up is the vision impaired, although any investigations  need to be aware of the wide range of people with disabilities that e-government can fail.


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