Australia Local Government and E-Governance: From Administration to Citizen Participation?

Australia Local Government and E-Governance: From Administration to Citizen Participation?

Kevin O’Toole (Deakin University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-130-8.ch011
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This chapter analyses local government’s response to the pressure to modernise its structures through its use of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) to execute its broad range of tasks. The chapter begins by discussing Chadwick and May’s (2003) three basic models of e-government; managerial, consultative and participatory. Using data collected from an analysis of 658 local government websites in Australia together with existing survey research the chapter then analyses the extent to which local government sites fit into the three models. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the issues and problems faced by local government in its attempt to develop e-governance as both an extension of administrative as well as democratic functions.
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Australian local governments have adopted the Australian Local Government Association’s (ALGA) definition of e-government as ‘the structured use of electronic technology to pursue the traditional goals of government in areas such as:

  • The interface with government

  • Service relationships with people and businesses

  • Commercial relationships with business partners

  • Implementing sectoral and community based policy

  • Enhancing the role of citizens in democratic processes (i.e. e-democracy)

  • Interacting with other public institutions

  • The conduct of government’s own ‘back-office’ operations’ (Australian Local Government Association, 2004, p. 10)

What this list does is reaffirm the fundamental role of ‘government’ in interfacing, implementing, conducting and servicing. For all intents and purposes it is business as usual for ‘government’ without a lot of thought about increasing the reach of local democracy (Crabtree, 2001).

On the other hand there are those that consider the shift to e-government as a change to the way that the government and its citizens interact. Chadwick and May (2003) argue that there are three basic models of interaction between the state and its citizens that underpin the notion of e-government: managerial, consultative and participatory. The first approach is akin to the ALGA definition as a managerialist focus. Chadwick and May (2003) argue that the managerialist approach has a number of features:

  • “A concern for the ‘efficient’ delivery of services” of government information to citizens and other groups of users.

  • The use of ICTs to improve flows of information within and around government.

  • A recognition of the importance of ‘service delivery’ to ‘customers’.

  • The view that speeding up information provision is, by itself, ‘opening up government’.

  • A general absence of user resources issues, such as the ability to receive and interpret information.

  • And ‘control’ and presentational professionalism (often termed spin) as defining logics. (Chadwick & May, 2003, p. 272).

Complete Chapter List

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Associate Editors and Editorial Review Board
Table of Contents
Mehdi Khosrow-Pour
Chapter 1
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Chapter 2
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Chapter 3
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Chapter 4
Akhilesh Bajaj, Sudha Ram
Recently, there has been increased interest in sharing digitized information between government agencies, with the goals of improving security... Sample PDF
A Comprehensive Framework Towards Information Sharing Between Government Agencies
Chapter 5
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As e-government becomes increasingly pervasive in modern public administrative management, its influence on organizations and individuals has become... Sample PDF
E-Government Implementation: Balancing Collaboration and Control in Stakeholder Management
Chapter 6
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Electronic Government Implementation: A Comparison Between Developed and Developing Countries
Chapter 7
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Chapter 8
Jyoti Choudrie, Vishanth Weerakkody
This article examines how horizontal integration between the various departments of a local authority in the United Kingdom (UK) occurs. Following... Sample PDF
Horizontal Process Integration in E-Government: The Perspective of a UK Local Authority
Chapter 9
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Online Policy Consultation: A Case Study of Local Government
Chapter 10
Lisa Hill
Due to compulsory voting, Australia’s turnout rate is among the highest and most socially-even in the industrialised world. Nevertheless, some... Sample PDF
Electronic Conduits to Electoral Inclusion in an Atypical Constituency: The Australian Case
Chapter 11
Kevin O’Toole
This chapter analyses local government’s response to the pressure to modernise its structures through its use of Information Communication... Sample PDF
Australia Local Government and E-Governance: From Administration to Citizen Participation?
Chapter 12
Kate Alport
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Chapter 13
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Users' Acceptance of E-Government: A Study of Indian Central Excise
Chapter 14
Tagelsir Mohamed Gasmelseid
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A Multi-Agent Service Oriented Modeling of E-Government Initiatives
Chapter 15
Shahram Rahimi
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Chapter 16
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With the proliferation of the Internet and rapid development of information and communication infrastructure, E-governance has become a viable... Sample PDF
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Chapter 18
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