Low usage of e-services

February 23, 2010

One only has to look briefly through my previous posts such as “Benchmarking the nations” and “yardsticking” to find some criticism of benchmarks and their validity. Purely by chance, I discover in the Korea Times of the 19th February 2010, an article entitled “E-Government Web Sites Underutilized” by their staff reporter Do Je-hae.

Whilst Korea manages to rank very highly in the UN reports and other international benchmarks this doesn’t mean much to the citizens back home if they find the applications hard to use, as this commentator frequently points out. If the UN reviewers are operating in an ivory tower detached from actually using a particular application or process, they might think its splendid, but it appears the Koreans themselves are less impressed!

Despite having one of the best Internet connected populations in the world, at around 85%, only 30% of documents such as birth or residential certificates are processed online. The is not much different from the maximum recently peaked in Canada, which may be a lesson in where e-government is going.

The online processes are described as cumbersome to use. There is also great amount of duplication across departments, along with some mismanagement resulting in citizen confusion.

The problems described are probably replicated across e-government world-wide and as such need to be considered by all those implementing service delivery applications for the citizen.

It looks like there is to be a ministerial e-government summit in Seoul in October, so it might be a good opportunity for the Koreans to get their act together before it happens, and really show the world how it should be done?


Benchmarking the nations

January 17, 2010

The United Nations issue a benchmark report on e-government sporadically and a new one is in the offing, although I’ve seen some countries declaring how well they’ve done already, including Vietnam.

Prior to this years report some academic work was done to reconsider the metrics used in the EU by Alexander Schellong at Harvard, which may or may not have affected the methodology employed by the UN. Interesting though the report is, it still fails to point to the value the citizen might or might not place on e-government, e-governance or the actual government services involved. However he does state that for EU nations “Since Lisbon, benchmarking activities are a cornerstone of the EU’s “open method of coordination””, which explains something of the fixation they have with it and the report now admits that the time for a change has come, since for the study “the most common critique being that the benchmark’s only focus is in on the supply side of eGovernment.”

The report further states “unfortunately, the development of a relevant and universally accepted benchmark for eGovernment will continue to be a challenge around the globe. Many aspects of eGovernment, especially transformation or its impact are difficult to capture.” This is where I believe that (dis)satisfaction comes in, since it picks up on those outcomes from service delivery that is affected by transformation and the delivery itself.

However, as it currently stands, it looks like old-time benchmarking for the EU, with no feedback from the citizen. Although the proposal stands to involve them in setting some new benchmarks at some time in the future…


On another matter Professor Ann Macintosh of Leeds University is giving a lecture entitled “The Internet, Web 2.0 and ‘having your say’” at the University of York on 17 February 2010 at 6:15 in Room P/L001, Physics. The Great E-mancipator’s author may be lurking in the audience if he can get away from work!


Computer Weekly blog awards

July 5, 2008

Its been a busy week with a meeting of the Local Government CIO Council, a job interview (but didn’t get it) and reading a ton of recently discovered (by me) material on benchmarking, ethics, service quality, social capital and related matters including ‘A Strong Foundation – Report of the Task Force on Public Service Values and Ethics’ from Canada in 1996 and an excellent paper against New Public Management ‘The New Public Service: Serving Rather than Steering’ from Public Administration Review 2000, Volume 60, No. 6. Not exactly new but when collated with a range of recent thinking suggest we’ve been distracted by buzzwords from the US.

A quick thank you to my viewers, most of the feedback is verbal or email, but I received this today (5 July 2008) –

Your blog was recently nominated in the 2008 ComputerWeekly.com IT Blog Awards by a ComputerWeekly.com reader.  All nominated blogs have now been considered by our panel of judges and I am delighted to inform you that The Great E-mancipator has made the shortlist in the  public sector category.  

Your blog will now compete against selected other blogs in a public vote currently live on the site.

You can find out more about the IT Blog Awards 2008, assess your competition and find the voting page by visiting the Blog Awards page on ComputerWeekly.com.  Voting will be throughout July with the winners in each category announced in August.