I’ve mentioned Alexander Schellong here before, but he’s now jointly authored a paper with Philipp Girrger entitled “Government 2.0 in Beta Phase” on the topic of web 2.0 applications studied in Germany’s 50 largest cities and 16 federal states.
The key statement is probably in the first paragraph “eDemocracy remains nothing more than a rhetorical promise” and is further raised in a quotation from Albrect et al (2008) where they state “government fails to address why it is offering eParticipation, how it is utilizing citizen feedback and whether citizen can expect a response from government or politics”, which is the conundrum faced when governments claim to be being open.
The study of these cities and states sees citizens still largely recipients of information, not that this is a bad thing, as long as it is correct. However there are some attempts at matters like participatory budgeting (20% of cities) and apparently the City of Cologne has won numerous awards for its efforts in that direction. However, they estimate that only 0.5% of the 14,000 municipalities have implemented Internet-based budgeting.
The document picks up on the limited use made for participation of the single non-emergency number (115) but below that is a spider diagram of various social media tools which really demonstrates little work other than in RSS!
The most advanced cities are Bonn in terms of usage and Freiburg for the number of offerings. Unfortunately, whilst 60% of cities and 31% of states allow complaints to be received, less than 10% provide any information on their handling.
As usual from Schellong a useful report which might be interestingly compared with other European countries, including the UK.