Online Policy Consultation: A Case Study of Local Government

Online Policy Consultation: A Case Study of Local Government

Lucas Walsh (Deakin University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-130-8.ch009
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Abstract

As developments in communication technologies impact upon many spheres of public and private life, they influence the way in which the public sector engages citizens. While most governments have an online presence, this is mainly applied to the provision of one-way (i.e. government to citizen) information and services. However, available technologies such as the Internet and mobile telephony provide opportunities for governments to enter into a two-way dialogue with citizens, increase transparency of their operations, and encourage democratic participation outside election time. As the government closest to the people, local government is particularly well placed to use online technologies to enhance and expand participatory democracy through strategies such as e-consultation. The implementation of an e-consultation strategy by local government presents a number of challenges to local governments seeking to enhance their dialogue with constituents using information and communication technologies (ICTs). This chapter draws from an external evaluation of an Australian local government initiative, Darebin eForum.1 Conducted in 2007, this evaluation included a survey of e-consultation participants2 and interviews with Council Officers responsible for moderating the site.3 The findings provide a snapshot of some of these challenges. 4 Though modest in size and ambition, the experiences of Darebin eForum provide valuable insight into the challenges faced by governments seeking to use ICTs to engage in dialogue with their constituents.
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Introduction

As developments in communication technologies impact upon many spheres of public and private life, they influence the way in which the public sector engages citizens. While most governments have an online presence, this is mainly applied to the provision of one-way (i.e. government to citizen) information and services. However, available technologies such as the Internet and mobile telephony provide opportunities for governments to enter into a two-way dialogue with citizens, increase transparency of their operations, and encourage democratic participation outside election time. As the government closest to the people, local government is particularly well placed to use online technologies to enhance and expand participatory democracy through strategies such as e-consultation.

The implementation of an e-consultation strategy by local government presents a number of challenges to local governments seeking to enhance their dialogue with constituents using information and communication technologies (ICTs). This chapter draws from an external evaluation of an Australian local government initiative, Darebin eForum.1 Conducted in 2007, this evaluation included a survey of e-consultation participants2 and interviews with Council Officers responsible for moderating the site.3 The findings provide a snapshot of some of these challenges.4 Though modest in size and ambition, the experiences of Darebin eForum provide valuable insight into the challenges faced by governments seeking to use ICTs to engage in dialogue with their constituents.

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Associate Editors and Editorial Review Board
Table of Contents
Preface
Mehdi Khosrow-Pour
Chapter 1
Marijn Janssen, George Kuk
Stimulated by the need to reduce cost and improve service provisioning and client involvement at the same time, the concept of business models has... Sample PDF
E-Government Business Models: Theory, Challenges and Research Issues
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Chapter 2
Roy Ladner
In this chapter we provide an overview of electronic government as it pertains to national security and defense within the Department of Defense... Sample PDF
Electronic Government: Overview and Issues for National Security Interests
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Chapter 3
Ranjeev Mittu, Suleyman Guleyupoglu, William Barlow, Michael Dowdy, Sean McCarthy
The emergence of new doctrine is enabling Security, Stabilization, Transition and Reconstruction (SSTR) operations to become a core U.S. military... Sample PDF
Towards Civil-Military Coordination During Security, Stabilization, Transition and Reconstruction Efforts
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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
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Chapter 5
Eric T.K. Lim, Chee-Wee Tan, Shan-Ling Pan
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
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Chapter 6
Yining Chen, H.M. Chen, Russell K.H. Ching, Wayne W. Huang
Over the last decade, the Internet has become one of the most important means of communication in all social areas. The success of Web technology... Sample PDF
Electronic Government Implementation: A Comparison Between Developed and Developing Countries
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Chapter 7
Jonna Järveläinen, Eija Koskivaara, Päivi Pihlaja, Hannu Salmela, Jarmo Tähkäpää, Timo Kestilä
This collaborative action research study reports the experiences in developing e-government innovations in early childhood education context in... Sample PDF
Involving Service Professionals in eGovernment Innovation: The Case of Finnish Early Childhood Education
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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
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Chapter 9
Lucas Walsh
As developments in communication technologies impact upon many spheres of public and private life, they influence the way in which the public sector... Sample PDF
Online Policy Consultation: A Case Study of Local Government
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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
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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?
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Chapter 12
Kate Alport
This chapter examines the spread of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in South Australia. It starts by assessing South Australia’s... Sample PDF
Engaging the Community Through E-Democracy in South Australia
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Chapter 13
G. P. Sahu
The study seeks to highlight the key variables affecting usage of e-government by internal users of Indian Central Excise. An e-government... Sample PDF
Users' Acceptance of E-Government: A Study of Indian Central Excise
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Chapter 14
Tagelsir Mohamed Gasmelseid
The recent economic, organizational and technological transformations are motivating developing countries to adopt electronic government... Sample PDF
A Multi-Agent Service Oriented Modeling of E-Government Initiatives
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Chapter 15
Shahram Rahimi
The effectiveness of current search and retrieval systems is restricted as they do not use the semantics of the data but mainly utilize keywords.... Sample PDF
A Methodology for Ontological Mediation in Multi-Agent Systems
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Chapter 16
Eugene Santos Jr., Eunice E. Santos, Hien Nguyen, Long Pan, John Korah
With the proliferation of the Internet and rapid development of information and communication infrastructure, E-governance has become a viable... Sample PDF
Analyst-Ready Large Scale Real Time Information Retrieval Tool for E-Governance
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Chapter 17
Marco Carvalho
Data dissemination and information management technologies for tactical environments are quickly becoming major areas of research for both military... Sample PDF
In-Stream Data Processing for Tactical Environments
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Chapter 18
Dilip Kumar Sharma, Gopalji Varshneya, Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay
This article analyzes the diffusion of a Web technology named AJAX in facilitating e-government architecture and enhancing its potential by... Sample PDF
AJAX in Development of Web-Based Architecture for Implementation of E-Governance
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About the Contributors