Achieving Useful Government Accountability and Transparency Websites

Achieving Useful Government Accountability and Transparency Websites

Deborah S. Carstens (Florida Institute of Technology, USA), Stephen Kies (Florida Institute of Technology, USA) and Randy Stockman (Florida Institute of Technology, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9461-3.ch002
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With the transition from government to e-government, greater transparency in government accountability has occurred. However, state government budgets and performance reports are voluminous and difficult to understand by the average citizen. There is a need for government Websites to promote public trust while providing understandable, meaningful, and usable government accountability information. The public needs to have access to information that links the outcome of government spending so that government can be accountable for their spending. There are three fundamental functions for government: accountability, budgeting, and policy-making. The chapter discusses literature specifically relating to government accountability resulting in a checklist being developed to provide a mechanism for evaluation of government Websites from a technical and usability perspective. Therefore, it is not only important for a Website to have the government accountability information but to also display it in a useful and meaningful format understandable by citizens accessing the Website.
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Thornton and Thornton (2013) discuss the increasing demand by the public for government fiscal transparency by the public. There has been a rising demand to the economic slowdown, exposed government fraud and fiscal mismanagement. As the public’s pure trust in the fiscal responsibility of their state and federal government has declined individual states have stepped up to provide more insight into government transparency and fiscal reporting. The primary way this has been done is through government transparency websites. Traditionally, detailed state government spending data was not available online. However, recently states have begun to release this information via government transparency websites, also known as e-government. Exploration of the topics of e-government, transition from government to e-government and accountability will lead into a discussion in the main section of the chapter regarding why transparency in government accountability is necessary.

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