Learner’s Submission: Fundamentals of the UN E-Government Survey

27/05/2015

“The goal of E-Government is to integrate all information systems and subsystems for state administrations to become transparent, accessable and efficient. The main purpose for the introduction of E-Government is to provide a new basis for economic competitiveness, to carry out a rapid transformation of government and administration, and transformation them into a citizens’ service. Also, reduced prices of public services, incentives to a knowledge based economy and integration facilitated by 24/7 online platforms improves and accelerates the decision-making process and helps to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of government at all levels.

The development of information technology, its complexity, challenges and innovations haven’t missed their mark on the government sector. Governments had to start putting increasing emphasis on e-government and e-government, because such programs are becoming the basis of state operations and expected by its citizens.

Many countries have managed to adapt their systems to the public sector in line with the changing environment, introduce and implement  IT applications. However, some countries, both for financial reasons and from underdeveloped technological capacities and human resources have failed to develop e-governance and e-government solutions. The consequence is a growing „digital divide“.

The UN E-Government Survey is the only report in the world that assesses the e-government development status of the 193 UN Member States. The Survey is produced by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). The Survey began in earnest in 2003 with a pilot in 2001.

The motto of the United Nations E-Government Survey for 2014 is “E-Government for the Future We Want”. By reading the E-Government Survey reports we can assess how the potential of information and communication technologies is used in transforming  the public sector. Also, it provides an estimate of how much of this transformation leads to greater transparency, efficiency, accountability and how citizens participate in and have access to public services.

The UN E-Government Survey serves as a tool by which decision makers can identify their strengths and areas of challenge in e-government and how they can manage e-government policy and strategy. The UN E-Government Survey measures of e-government development in all 193 UN Member States through the E-Government Development Index (EGDI) consist of three components weighted in equal manner):

1) The Online Service Index (OSI) measures the online presence of governments and services provided to citizens online

2) The Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII) measures through several indicators the infrastructure through which citizens can have access to government online services

3) The Human Capital Index (HCI) measures the educational base of citizens allowing them to access government services online

The users of the Survey are: governments, international and regional organizations, intergovernmental institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector, academia, research centers and schools of public administration as well as citizens.

The goal of the Survey is to provide guidance how and in what way to utilize ICTs in order to transform governments and to enable sustainable development. The benefits of e-government are numerous: new employment, better health and education systems, the effective management of natural resources, promoting economic development and social inclusion of citizens.  Governments using e-government becomes  more transparent and accountable. ICT platforms are also often used as a templates on a best-practice basis for innovative e-government solutions and providing for sustainable development of countries.

The United Nations E-Government Survey’s conceptual framework is based on four guiding principles:

1) Development for all – If applied effectively, it can significantly contribute to the eradication of extreme poverty, protecting the environment as well as the promotion of social inclusion and economic opportunity for all.

2) Using surveys to obtain information on the assessment of online presence of governments, their infrastructure and human resources.

3) The Survey is about provisions of socio-economic and environmental services to the population through the use of e-government as a programmatic tool, as well as about participation and social inclusion.

4) The Survey assesses e-government readiness worldwide, taking the view that the ultimate objective remains the “inclusion of all” in development.

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The United Nations E-Government Survey is particularly important for providing a critical review of e-governance, the e-Government Development Index and the e-Participation Index as well as other e-government aspects within UN member states. The findings show huge disparities in the access and use of information technologies, which are not likely to be overcome in the near future, unless there are concerted efforts taken at the national, regional and international efforts taken to levelthe playing field for all involved.” – Lejla Tabak Siljak – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Learner’s Submission: Whole-of-Government and the UN e-Government Survey

23/05/2015

” Whole-of-Government

           Whole-of-Government is the concept that defines the way to achieve the integration of the sustainable dimensions. This way means that the governmental structures should avoid working solely within the organization; it should act beyond the limits of the organization in order to correlate with the capabilities of others. Supposing that the objectives of an organization represent a capacity, many governmental organizations should share their objectives for transforming them into a capability, given that a capability is a correlation between more capacities. Whole-of-Government tries to combine the results of more governmental agencies in order to transform a simple development into a sustainable one. Taking into account the objectives, strategies and products of other organization is more efficient for adapting to the organizational environment. This is valuable even if the organizations compete or cooperate each other.

In the context of e-Governance, Whole-of-Government is one of the six trends that struggle to increase the effectiveness of the government-citizen relationship. This approach follows not to avoid bad processes or procedures but to increase the quality of the services and the cooperation between citizens and public administration. For an effective e-Governance any user should receive the information in a friendly manner, concise and correct. For this the Whole-of-Government must enhance the inter-sectoral coordination. A well prepared program should attract the user, save his time and gain his trust. The portals need to be orientated towards effectiveness, simplicity, well defined sections and, very important, friendly. Other words, it should determine you to come again. The Whole-of-Government approach correlates the way to navigate through the websites, the available information and the effectiveness of e-services in order to obtain the best feedback from the users.

UN e-Government Survey

The e-Government Survey is a UN report that assesses the e-government development of the UN Member State. Started to assess the e-governance programs in 2003, with a pilot in 2001, by The Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM ) of UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs), this biannual report is an instrument for the decision-making to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their own e-government programs. Thus the governmental officials can elaborate adequate strategies for improving the e-government programs. The interest in improving this must be as the importance of such program for a state, given that this can improve the confidence into the government. The survey uses three indexes (Online Service Index, Telecommunication Infrastructure Index and Human Capital Index) that indicates the e-government performance in services provided, infrastructure in which citizens can access the services and the educational base for citizens referred to e-services usage. The survey contains ranks of the 193 UN Member States and relevant analyzes for different indicators like online service delivery, e-participation, whole of government, channels for service delivery open government data and other. The report should stimulate the deciders to improve strategies and the way in which the ICT is used for sustainable development.” Stefan-Ovidiu Rosu – Brasov, Romania


Learner’s Submission: Whole-of-Government Approach in the Context of E-Government

18/03/2015

“Whole-of-government approach is when government agencies and organizations share objectives across organizational boundaries, as opposed to working solely within an organization. A government is a system of interdependent subsystems that pursues interrelated goals generated from a common mission and vision that is often intended to guide a given society into prosperity through continuous improvement of social, economic and political welfare. This generates the need for the establishment of a framework that ensures unity of purpose and goals amongst the stakeholders that act as pillars in the development of such a society. The involvement of all the interested parties in decision making calls for establishment of appropriate mechanisms that accommodated all the parties without discrimination or exclusion. In order to achieve such a state of inclusiveness, it’s of great benefit for a given government to embrace the use of information and communication technologies to address the vast interest of all the stakeholders so as to ensure that there is not only free access to government programs and project but also ensure that there is availability of information relating to short term, midterm and long term plans that a given government seeks to undertake in the allocation, utilization of all the resources and that there are well outlined processes and procedures that allow all the parties that may be affected directly or indirectly by such plan to participate in formulating them. In order to attain such status, it is important for any government to use whole of government approach which is one of the trends in e-government. One of the benefits of whole of government approach is that it facilitates increase in the effectiveness of government responses as well as improved efficiency by reduction of processes and procedures in program management. Apart from that, there is better service delivery by integrating services and thereby saving time and resources. Moreover, there is increase in public value by promoting collaboration and coordination with private sector and civil society. In order to promote the whole of government, the existing government should ensure that there exists user friendly portals as well as websites, existence of links to other ministries and institutions, ensure that search results remain in government sites and also there is well defined sections such as e-services, and social media. This will facilitate social cohesion as well as improve inclusiveness in decision making.

Explanation of UN E-Government Survey

The UN e-government survey is the only report in the world that assesses the e-government development status of the 193 UN member states. The survey serves as a tool for decision makers to identify their areas of strength and challenges in the e-government and to guide e-government policies and strategies. Moreover, the survey provides a systematic assessment of the use of ICT to transform and reform the public sector by enhancing efficient, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, access to public services and citizen participation. The survey is produced by the division for public administration and development management (DPADM) of UN department of economic and social welfare (DESA). DESA publishes the UN e-government survey every two years. The survey began in 2003 with pilot in 2001. The survey is prepared by a DPADM team based at the UN headquarters in New York, USA, with support of researchers around the world. Over 95 researchers took part in the 2014 survey. DPADM survey team won the 2013 UN ‘online volunteering award’ for its collaboration with researchers around the world where the use of hash tag #UN go survey for the 2014 edition of the survey reached more than 3.6 million people.

The ultimate goal of the survey is to provide incentives for capacity building and also to provide policy guidance and serve as in impartial reference on how to utilize ICTs to transform governments and to enable sustainable development. It is from this background that the survey is used as a benchmark tool to measure e-government development and for capacity development, policy recommendations and good practices around the world. E-Government is the use of ICT and its application by the government for the provision of information and public services to the people. The use of e-government enables sustained development through greater efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery, better access and quality of services, enhanced citizen participation, increase transparency through open data and accountability as well as enhances economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. The surveymeasures e-government development in all 193 UN Member States through the E-Government Development Index. This development index focuses on three components which include; online service index, the telecommunication Infrastructure Index and finally human capital Index.

Online service index is based upon four stages model starting with emergency presence, enhanced presence, transactionalpresence, and the connected presence. Human capital index has four indicators among them is the expected year of schooling, mean year of schooling, adult literacy as well as enrollment ratio.

Finally, the survey also focuses on the trends in e-government which are whole of government approach, e-participation, multi channel service delivery, expanding usage, digital divide and vulnerable groups as well as open government data.” – Joseph Macharia Kimani – Nairobi, Kenya


Learner’s Submission: UN E-Government Survey – Where Does India Stand?

22/02/2015

“As per the 2014 report of UN E-Government Survey, India is one of the seven lower middle income countries that is among the top 50 of the list. It comes in the category of ‘middle e-government development index’. This has been surely made possible by the launch of “MyGov: A Platform for Citizen Engagement towards Good Governance (i.e. Surajya)” on July 26, 2014 by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi who believes that “Success of democracy is impossible without participation of the people”. The portal has increased the participation of citizens in influencing the government decision process. With the embedded feedback mechanism, citizens are enabled to criticise the specific policies. The usage of Mobile App for MyGov with the fall in prices of smart phones in India is expected to expand as smart phones users has increased to 117 million according to the latest ‘Internet trends 2014’ report by Mary Meeker, partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). This is expected to rise by 45% this year.

The other initiatives by Government of India includes the online payment systems called as Electronic Fund Management System (eFMS) which manages the e-payment of wages and subsidies to the targeted people.  The E-Filling of Taxes, E-Reservation System for Railway and E-Postal Services by Department of Posts, etc. has relatively increased the Online Service Index which accounts for 1/3 of EGDI (E-Government Development Index).

The enhancement of Telecommunications Infrastructure Index accounting for 1/3 of EGDI has been a consequence of Digital India Programme launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on August 7, 2014. The programme aims to empower the society with a digital and dynamic knowledge base through innovated and interoperable Information Technology Infrastructure.  This is an Umbrella Program and visions to incorporate all the organs of Government Services Delivery.

The last component of EGDI also accounting for 1/3 of EGDI is Human Capital Index. It’s the most complex development procedure. In India it has been enhanced by the various flagship programme initiatives. Some of them are listed below:

  1. MCA 21 Project by Ministry of Company Affairs has focused on providing awareness campaign to the stakeholders in different schedules across the country. Its main aim is to provide awareness for e-filling for all the services provided through the Registrar of Companies through service-centric approach.
  2. National Skill development Agency has taken responsibilities to train the existing service providers with the infrastructure and usage of the E-Government system.
  3. Department of Human Resource and Development have taken initiatives to provide the necessary educational qualification at preliminary level of education to have maximum participation of citizens.

Network for Information and Computer Technology (NICT) has designed and launched various advertisement, publicity and awareness campaign in different part of countries through multi-tiered centres.”


Learner’s Submission: Bench-marking Tool – E-Government Development Index (EGDI)

14/10/2014

“The UN E-Government Survey is the flagship publication of the United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs (UNDESA), which is a published biennially starting from 2003 with an initial pilot publication in 2001. The latest publication for 2014 is themed: “E-Government of the Future We Want”.

The Survey assesses the progress of e-government development in all 193 Member States of the United Nations, as such, it is the only survey that comprehensively assesses such a wide scope of countries.

The Survey serves as a tool for decision-makers to identify their areas of strength and challenges in e-government and to guide e-government policies and strategies. The UN E-Government Survey provides a systematic assessment of the use of ICT to transform and reform the public sector by enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, access to public services and citizen participation.

UNDESA believes Member States’ e-government initiatives should be focused primarily on making progress in three core areas of e-government development, namely: provision of online services (Online Service Index OSI), telecommunication connectivity, Telecommunication Infrastructure Index, TII) and human capacity, Human Capital Index, HCI). Thus, through a composite index of the aforementioned e-government dimensions, an E-Government Development Index (EGDI) is generated that ranks all Member States.

The EGDI ranking is NOT designed to capture e-government development in an absolute sense, meaning, the ranking is not an affirmation that, for example; the top ranked country in the latest 2014 Survey, the Republic of South Korea[1], has attained the highest, ideal or “perfect” state of e-government development despite their consistent Number One status since the 6th Edition of the Survey (i.e. 2010, 2012, 2014), rather it is a comparison of Member States’ performance rating relative to one another for the period under review.

Indeed, a possible scenario is that, between now and the next ranking publication, Member States might continue to invest resources into various aspects of e-government development yet their ranking might remain the same, drop or move up, and this might be strictly dependent on the activity outputs and outcomes of programs being pursued by other nations.

Specifically, the EGDI is a weighted average of the three normalized scores of OSI, TII, and HCI.

  • Online Service Index (OSI): measures the online presence of government and the services provided to citizens online.
  • Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII): measures through several indicators the infrastructure through which citizens can have access to the government online services.
  • Human Capital Index (HCI): measures the educational base of citizens that will allow them to access the government services online.

Thus, it uses a simplified function statement which has remained essentially the same despite changes in some indicators. This is due to changes in the underlying technology that drives e-government initiatives and innovations in the field.

EGDI = (1/3 OSI + 1/3 TII +1/3 HCI)

Data for the assessment is sourced from UNDESA-DPADM, ITU and UNESCO-UNDP for OSI, TII and HCI respectively. Beyond this core areas of e-government, the report also analyses the progress of e-participation, whole of government approach to e-government and open data programs among Member States of the United Nations.

The UN E-Government Survey report (link to report: http://unpan3.un.org/egovkb/en-us/Reports/UN-E-Government-Survey-2014 ) is especially relevant for Governments, Intergovernmental institutions, International and regional organizations, Academia, research centres and schools of public administration, Private sector, Civil Society organizations and concerned citizens.

As an e-government analyst, I find the UN-EGDI to be a very useful benchmarking tool in the areas of measuring e-government development, capacity development measures, policy recommendations to decision makers and understanding the best practices around the world.” – Franklin Ziggah – Accra, Ghana


Learner’s Submission: What is the UN E-Government Survey

29/09/2014

“E-government can be the change agent to meet these challenges through online services, and by making governments more effective, efficient, transparent, accountable and inclusive.

  • The UN E-Government Survey is the only report in the world that assesses the e-government development status of the 193 UN Member States.
  • The Survey serves as a tool for decision-makers to identify their areas of strength and challenges in e-government and to guide e-government policies and strategies.
  • The UN E-Government Survey provides a systematic assessment of the use of ICT to transform and reform the public sector by enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, access to public services and citizen participation.
  • The UN e-government survey began in earnest in 2003 .a pilot was made in 2001

The core objective of this survey is benchmarking e-government development among UN Member States in order to “inform and improve the understanding of policy makers’ choices to shape their e-government programs” (UN 2004). This is done by measuring “the willingness and capacity of countries to use online and mobile technology in the execution of government functions” (UN 2010). Most recently, “to recognize the key role that e-government – and e-governance – can play in support of the establishment of effective institutional linkages necessary for sustainable development (UN 2012).

COMPONENTS OF SURVEY:

The UN E-Government Survey measures e-government development in all 193 UN Member States through the E-Government Development Index (EGDI) which contains three components (online service index, telecommunication infrastructure index, human capital index) which are weighted in equal manner.

GOAL OF THE SURVEY:

To provide incentives for capacity-building and to provide policy guidance and serve as in impartial reference on how to utilize ICTs to transform governments and to enable sustainable development.

The e-government development ranking of the 193 Member States provided in the Survey receives much attention, as is the case with any ranking, which leads to both positive and unintended consequences.

ADVANTAGES OF THE SURVEY:

  • Informed e-government policy decisions.
  • Barometer of e-government trends.
  • Progress in e-government developments.
  • Helps to draw attention from the media on the issues of e-government development.

USERS OF THE SURVEY:

  • Governments
  • Intergovernmental institutions
  • International and regional organizations
  • Academia, research centers and schools of public administration
  • Private sector
  • Civil society organizations
  • Citizens

The Survey is produced by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

The Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) publishes the UN E-Government Survey every two years.” – Prabhu Djeapragassam – Puducherry, India


Learner’s Submission: Whole-of-Government Approach in the Context of e-Government.

24/09/2014

“To appreciate whole –of–Government and understand its ability the this approach can be defined as government organization start sharing objectives with other organizations and collaboratively perform decisions instead of taking unanimous  decisions.

Integration of services which results in reduction of time and resource utilization and thereby increasing the citizens trust in the government. Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of government responses which reduces redundancy in process flow.

E-Government is the use of Information Communication Technology to enhance the performance of government services through E-Governance thereby reducing corruption and difficulties in providing the services by removing by any existing hurdles if any. Increasing the transparency in governance and gain trust of citizens on the government.

Listed below few advantages of adopting e-government:

  • Promote effective disaster management by going Green (use of paper is reduced in e-governance since digital data’s are being used). Hence if e-papers (pdf and word documents) is used requirement of paper gets reduced.
  • Increase transparency through e-tender, e-auction, e-procurement, e-registry which leads to corruption free process flow.
  • Provides better access and quality of services.
  • People of vulnerable situations will start to use government services easily leading to social inclusion.

Listed below Difficulties faced without e-governance in governments:

  • Long queues in government offices to obtain the services (eg to receive caste, income certificates verification and collection of these documents take huge time.)
  • Must travel long distances to avail services.

Steps to promote whole of government through e-government:

  • To develop citizen friendly portals and websites(if required multilingual also can be taken into account)
  • Provide Links to  various ministries and institutions
  • Promote use of e-services.
  • Provide citizen charter in government departmental websites.
  • Promotion of E-participation of the citizens is the basis of socially inclusive governance.

E-participation is electronic participation of citizens and the business community in e-government. The aim of e-participation initiatives should be to improve the citizen’s access to information and public services; and promote participation in public decision-making which impacts the well being of society, in general, and the individual, in particular.

The three main components of the E-participation is as follows

  • E-decision-by increasing the input of citizen in decision making through e-services.
  • E-consultation –for enhancing deliberative and participatory process.

E-information-increasing information seeking of citizens made online by making information available online through websites, portals and forums.” – Prabhu Djeapragassam – Puducherry, India


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