E-Government and Local Service Delivery: The Case of Italian Local Governments

E-Government and Local Service Delivery: The Case of Italian Local Governments

Greta Nasi (Bocconi University, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-282-4.ch039
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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to assess the current status and level of technology in providing on line services among larger Italian Municipalities (MUs) by presenting the results of a survey conducted by the researcher among all MUs with a population in excess of 40,000 inhabitants. Furthermore, the analysis also aims to assess the perceptions of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) with regard to the impact of e-government on the provision of services. The survey results show that MUs are generally using Internet to support interaction with different constituents and with different levels of technology. MUs have been developing all 4 stages of online service provision but higher levels of sophistication (transaction and integration) are primarily associated with the following types of LG interaction: government-to employees and government-to-government. CIOs argue that little achievement has been obtained so far in terms of efficiency while ICT usage is facilitating access to better quality information. Lessons learnt and policy implications are presented.
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Introduction

Governments around the world have been seen as inefficient, ineffective and unresponsive for several decades. In response to this cynical view and the increasing demands by constituents to deliver “better” services in terms of quality, accessibility and choice (Osborne D. & Gaebler T., 1993), they have been implementing a series of reforms. The principles inspiring them aim to improve the government’s responsiveness and efficiency while reducing the cost of public service operations. E-government, namely the use in the public sector of information and communication technology (ICT) for the delivery of information and services, may facilitate the pursuit of these objectives by increasing accessibility to information and services and reducing time (i.e. the availability of web-services around the clock) and space (i.e. access to the public agency from anywhere in the world) restraints. Digital delivery systems could also save the government money. They hold potential as effective and efficient managerial tools that are able to collect, store and manage large volumes of data and information, which can be transferred and shared on the government’s web site on a real-time basis using upload and download functions. In the long run, they could also contribute to a shift in confidence in the government. If citizens become more confident about the accessibility and performance of the government, they may be more prone to re-engage with the public sector.

This chapter assumes that governments have been adopting ICT and establishing an on line presence for the introduction of new ways of providing information and public services and thereby meeting expectations for the above-mentioned expected effects. There is evidence, particularly in the United States (Moon M. J., 2002; Norris D. F. & Moon M. J., 2005; Reddick F. C. & Frank H. A., 2007; West D. M., 2004), relating to the current use of technologies, the web in particular, to provide information and services. Data shows that there is a high diffusion of government web sites, however their transactional capability, that is to say the possibility for citizens and other constituents to actually access on line services (i.e. to request a certificate, pay taxes or monitor an application for services) is still limited to less than one-third of local governments (Norris D. F. & Moon M. J., 2005). In Europe, systematic research providing an overview of the diffusion of ICT and web information and services at local level is scant or focuses on case studies (Walker R. M., 2006).

The aim of this chapter is to analyze the current status of ICT adoption and web-service delivery, both in terms of the levels of technology and the interaction with different stakeholders (citizens, businesses, governments and employees) in the context of larger Italian municipalities whose population is in excess of 40,000 inhabitants. Based on U.S. literature, the expectation was to find widescale diffusion of actual equipment (workstations) and network technologies as well as institutional web sites primarily for providing information rather than two-way transactional services. Evidence confirms the readiness of municipalities in terms of basic technologies. However, in terms of the on line provision of services, the data offers some counterintuitive results: the web sites do not just provide information, 86% of them also offer transactional services. A closer look at this data shows great variation in terms of the availability of transactional services at the integration level for different stakeholders. Employees (45.4%) can access on line services more frequently than citizens and businesses (respectively 11%; 34%).

This chapter does not only contribute to advances in the knowledge of e-government usage, it also aims to discuss the perceived organizational impacts of ICT usage by presenting the results of a survey conducted by the researcher in 2005-2006.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Citizen-Centered Approach: An organizational approach in which the focus on the overall results of the service delivery process is achieved by managing and coordinating all the functions and activities involved.

Political Participation: It is a stage of e-government that pertains to the political arena. It incorporates different technologies that serve mainly as communication and public relations tools (two-way communication stage) to promote democratic participation in policy-making processes, but also supporting online voting in countries where this is allowed.

Information: It is the most common stage of e-government, where governments establish an on line presence and post information for constituents on line regarding various aspects of their administrative, institutional and political activities.

Functional-Centric Approach: An organizational approach in which the role and activities of department are more significant than the final outcome of the service delivery process.

E-Government: The use in the public sector of information and communication technology (ICT) for the delivery of information and services.

Two-way communication: It is a stage of e-government that is characterized by introducing email systems and data-transfer technologies in web sites, supporting interactivity between the government and its constituents.

Transaction: It is a stage that requires governments to have websites that allow constituents to conduct transactions on line. This stage offers the possibility for citizens and other constituents to engage transactions with governments through ICT and obtain services as a result of that interaction.

Integration: It is a stage of e-government that implies full integration of on-line and back-office systems achieved through horizontal and vertical integration across different organizational functions. At this stage, constituents access a one-stop-portal which provides them with the information and services they need regardless of the office, department or external organization actually providing them.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Foreword
G. David Garson
Preface
Christopher G. Reddick
Acknowledgment
Christopher G. Reddick
Chapter 1
Vishanth Weerakkody, Gurjit Dhillon
Most public services are overly complex, and separate where citizens have no choice in the service that they receive. All too often, Information and... Sample PDF
Moving from E-Government to T-Government: A Study of Process Reengineering Challenges in a UK Local Authority Context
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Chapter 2
Tino Schuppan
This chapter addresses the link between e-government, organizational networks related to it, and the possibilities for structural reform of... Sample PDF
Local Level Structural Change and E Government in Germany
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Chapter 3
Stephen King
This chapter describes a journey through e-enabled local public services. We start with the familiar local government Web site and contact centre... Sample PDF
Innovation and Citizen-Centric Local E-Government
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Chapter 4
Krassimira Paskaleva-Shapira
This chapter shares experience on aspects related to the methodology and modeling of a framework of City E-Governance Readiness. We discuss Europe’s... Sample PDF
Assessing Local Readiness for City E-Governance in Europe
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Chapter 5
Mark Deakin
The chapter examines the IntelCities Community of Practice (CoP) supporting the development of the organization’s e-Learning platform, knowledge... Sample PDF
The IntelCities Community of Practice: The eGov Services Model for Socially Inclusive and Participatory Urban Regeneration Programs
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Chapter 6
Sarah Cotterill
In the United Kingdom and throughout the world there is increasing emphasis on public sector organizations working together in local partnerships.... Sample PDF
Local E-Government Partnerships
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Chapter 7
Ian McLoughlin
In the United Kingdom, major investments have been made in e-government in order to modernize government and improve the efficiency and quality of... Sample PDF
Towards Digital Governance in UK Local Public Services?
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Chapter 8
Bryan Reece, Kim Andreasson
There has been considerable attention given to the issue of unrepresentative access; however, research to date has focused on individual level... Sample PDF
Institutional E-Government Development
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Chapter 9
Tina Jukic, Mateja Kunstelj, Mitja Decman, Mirko Vintar
In this chapter, 3 main aspects of municipal e-government in Slovenia are investigated thoroughly: supply, demand, and the view of municipal... Sample PDF
E-Government in Slovene Municipalities: Analysing Supply, Demand and its Effects
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Chapter 10
Lourdes Torres, Vicente Pina, Basilio Acerete, Sonia Royo
This work tries to assess to what extent e-government enables transparency, openness and, hence, accountability in public administrations. For this... Sample PDF
E-Government and Accountability in EU Local Governments
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Chapter 11
Stephen K. Aikins
A Comparative Study of Municipal Adoption of Internet-Based Citizen Participation Sample PDF
A Comparative Study of Municipal Adoption of Internet-Based Citizen Participation
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Chapter 12
Janita Stuart, Val Hooper
The uptake of Internet voting for local government elections is still in its infancy worldwide. While it holds many potential benefits, there are... Sample PDF
Sociological Factors Influencing Internet Voting
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Chapter 13
Sonja Knapp, Yun Chen, Andy Hamilton, Volker Coors
Urban Planning is a multi-disciplinary process. Social-economic, environmental and natural resources issues need to be considered to ensure urban... Sample PDF
An ePlanning Case Study in Stuttgart Using OPPA 3D
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Chapter 14
Jennifer Evans-Cowley, Maria Manta Conroy
Municipalities often struggle to provide citizen participation opportunities that are informative and engaging. E-government tools hold the... Sample PDF
Local Government Experiences with ICT for Participation
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Chapter 15
Michael J. Jensen
This chapter analyzes the “impact” of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on local government officials’ policy decision-making.... Sample PDF
Electronic Democracy and Citizen Influence in Government
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Chapter 16
Yu-Che Chen, Ashley Dorsey
To meet the current and future senior citizens’ demand for e-government, local governments will need to have a better understanding of their needs.... Sample PDF
E-Government for Current and Future Senior Citizens
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Chapter 17
Don-yun Chen, Tong-yi Huang, Naiyi Hsiao, Tze-Luen Lin, Chung-Pin Lee
This chapter introduces a case of e-deliberation in Taiwan. Democratic deepening can be achieved by the application of information and communication... Sample PDF
Experimental E-Deliberation in Taiwan: A Comparison of Online and Face-to-Face Citizens' Conferences in Beitou, Taipei
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Chapter 18
Greg Streib, Ignacio Navarro
The development of e-government has attracted considerable scholarly interest in recent years, but relatively little has been written about the... Sample PDF
City Managers and E-Government Development: Assessing Technology Literacy and Leadership Needs
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Chapter 19
Zhenyu Huang
This chapter presents a comprehensive analysis of the 3,099 U.S. counties’ adoption and diffusion of e-government and the functions provided by... Sample PDF
U.S. Counties' Efforts and Results: An Empirical Research on Local Adoption and Diffusion of E-Government
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Chapter 20
Suzanne J. Piotrowski, Erin L. Borry
Government websites are quickly becoming the first point of contact for citizens and visitors seeking information. Local government websites’... Sample PDF
Transparency and Local Government Websites
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Chapter 21
Marc Holzer, Aroon Manoharan
The chapter is based on the results of an international survey of municipal Web portals conducted through a collaboration between the E-Governance... Sample PDF
E-Governance and Quality of Life: Associating Municipal E-Governance with Quality of Life Worldwide
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Chapter 22
Mete Yildiz
This chapter presents an analysis of local e-government adoption and implementation in Turkey. To this end, academic articles, various laws, and... Sample PDF
An Overview of Local E-Government Adoption and Implementation in Turkey
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Chapter 23
Bekir Parlak, Zahid Sobaci
This chapter aims to evaluate the e-government practices in metropolitan municipalities in Turkey by determining functionality levels of... Sample PDF
The Functionality of Website-Based Services of Metropolitan Municipalities in Turkey
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Chapter 24
Patrizia Lombardi, Ian Cooper, Krassimira Paskaleva-Shapira, Mark Deakin
Harnessing ICTs effectively is one of the main vehicles for achieving the EU’s 2010 strategy to become the most competitive digital knowledge-based... Sample PDF
The Challenge of Designing User-Centric E-Services: European Dimensions
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Chapter 25
Raoul J. Freeman
This chapter reviews various strategic frameworks for e-government which include goals and objectives. Among typical goals are the following... Sample PDF
Goals Measurement and Evaluation of E-Gov Projects
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Chapter 26
Jussi S. Jauhiainen, Tommi Inkinen
Finland is among the leading information societies. The national information society strategy aims to make the information society accessible by... Sample PDF
E-Governance and the Information Society in Periphery
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Chapter 27
Sean M. Bossinger
Free, libre, or open source software (FLOSS) offers the promise of cost-free, modifiable, high-quality software, for a multitude of tasks (e.g.... Sample PDF
Open Source Software Use in Local Governments
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Chapter 28
Mark Cassell
This chapter examines empirically, the intended and unintended consequences that occur when a local government chooses to migrate away from a... Sample PDF
When Local Governments Choose Open Source Technology
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Chapter 29
The Wireless City  (pages 554-568)
Sukumar Ganapati, Christian F. Schoepp
In this chapter, we explore the evolution of wireless broadband networks in cities. We examine the technological alternatives for city-wide... Sample PDF
The Wireless City
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Chapter 30
Paul M.A. Baker, Avonne Bell, Nathan W. Moon
This chapter presents the results of an examination of the current state of U.S. municipal wireless network design and policies with regards to... Sample PDF
Accessibility Issues in Municipal Wireless Networks
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Chapter 31
Roland J. Cole, Isabel A. Cole, Jennifer A. Kurtz
The key reason for including this chapter in this book is that the development of more advanced forms of e-government requires that residences have... Sample PDF
Municipal Efforts to Promote Residential Broadband
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Chapter 32
Jenni Viitanen, Richard Kingston
This chapter will discuss the implications of the network society paradigm for e-government and the role of ICTs in the regeneration of urban... Sample PDF
The Role of Public Participation GIS in Local Service Delivery
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Chapter 33
Terry Murphy
Geographical Information System (GIS) technology applications for use in the field of economic development are relatively new. Local economic... Sample PDF
GIS: Changing the Economic Development World
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Chapter 34
Paul T. Jaeger
Many residents and local communities rely on public libraries for access to and training to use e-government. Many local governments direct citizens... Sample PDF
Public Libraries and Local E-Government
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Chapter 35
Muhammad Mustafa Kamal, M. Themistocleous
Literature indicates that Local Government Authorities (LGAs) have problems in meeting citizens’ demands. This may be attributed to the limitations... Sample PDF
Investigating Enterprise Application Integration Adoption in the Local Government Authorities
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Chapter 36
Jeffrey Roy
This chapter will compare the emergence of e-government in Denmark and Canada with a particular emphasis on the municipal and inter-governmental... Sample PDF
Enterprise Application Integration; Healthcare Organizations; Information Technology ; Large Organizations; Local Government Authorities
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Chapter 37
Genie N.L. Stowers
This case describes the case of a small California city, San Carlos, a continued early adopter in the e-government areas. The chapter asks the... Sample PDF
The Little City That Could: The Case of San Carlos, California
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Chapter 38
Howard A. Frank
ActiveStrategy’s performance management application deploys the widely utilized Balanced Scorecard framework in a dashboard platform designed to... Sample PDF
Implementing ActiveStrategy in Miami-Dade County
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Chapter 39
Greta Nasi
The purpose of this chapter is to assess the current status and level of technology in providing on line services among larger Italian... Sample PDF
E-Government and Local Service Delivery: The Case of Italian Local Governments
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Chapter 40
Andreas Ask, Mathias Hatakka, Åke Grönlund
This chapter discusses practices, opportunities, and challenges in local e-government project management by means of a case study involving... Sample PDF
The Örebro City Citizen-Oriented E-Government Strategy
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Chapter 41
Ik Jae Chung
As a nationwide e-government project in South Korea, the Information Network Village project was launched in 2001. It was designed to increase... Sample PDF
Toward E-Government Sustainability: The Information Network Village Project in South Korea
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Chapter 42
Samiaji Sarosa, Jenjang Sri Lestari
This chapter examined the state of Jogjakarta’s local governments Web sites (i.e, Bantul, Sleman, Kulon Progo, City of Jogjakarta and The Special... Sample PDF
The Level and Impact of Web Based E-Government Adoption: The Case of Jogjakarta's Local Governments
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Chapter 43
Maniam Kaliannan, Hazman Shah Abdullah, Murali Raman
Despite the many quarrels and complaints about the quality of local government in Malaysia, it continues to be an important part of the overall... Sample PDF
Local E-Government in Malaysia: An Empirical Investigation
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Chapter 44
Sam Lubbe, Shawren Singh
This chapter explores the issues of the interface between Information Systems (IS) and society. We investigate IS and users of these systems at a... Sample PDF
From Conception to Demise: Implications for Users of Information Systems in Changing a Local Parastatal Educational Institution in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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Chapter 45
José Rodrigues Filho, João Rodrigues dos Santos Junior
E-government has the potential to enhance democracy and transparency, increasing opportunities for citizen interaction. Literature has given many... Sample PDF
Local E-Government in Brazil: Poor Interaction and Local Politics as Usual
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Chapter 46
R. K. Mitra, M. P. Gupta, G. P. Sahu
While Information Technology (IT) is being embraced by various wings of the government, the police in India have however, been slow to adopt IT. The... Sample PDF
Indian Police E-Government System: A Study of Provincial Police
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Chapter 47
Arla Juntunen
There are still only few studies of the cooperation and collaboration of the governmental agencies and local authorities. This chapter presents a... Sample PDF
Joint Service Development with the Local Authorities
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About the Contributors