E-Social Policy and E-Social Service Delivery

E-Social Policy and E-Social Service Delivery

Rose Melville (The University of Queensland, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-947-2.ch193
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Abstract

E-social policy is an important aspect of the information society development and e-governance agenda (Fitzpatrick, 2000, 2003; Loader, 1998). To date, it has not received the same amount of critical scholarship and research activity as traditional areas of social policy, but this is changing as policy scholars focus on the whole gamut of e-governance concerns. E-social policy is concerned with the social implications of information technology communication (ITC) technology in its broadest sense. E-service delivery is a narrower term, encompassing the range of ITC used by governments, churches, charities, other non-government organisations (NGOs), and community groups to deliver social and community services online. Initially, most services provided online by governments were of a commercial and business nature (Curtin, Sommer, & Vis-Sommer, 2003), but e-service delivery has evolved quite rapidly in the fields of health, education, social security, and one-stop community information systems. It is better developed in OECD countries and in specific social policy fields (social security, housing, health, education, and community care) whereas in other countries it is very poorly developed and resourced, if it exists at all (Polikanov & Abramova, 2003). Despite this uneven development, there are many innovative examples of ITC use in farming production and trade, e-health services and promotion, education, environmental pollution management, and enhancement of development strategies in poorer nations. However, there is still a long way to go in bridging the digital divide–the unequal access to ITC of richer and poorer nations. This is a global social policy concern.

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