i-Government: Interactive Government Enabling Civic Engagement and a New Volunteerism

i-Government: Interactive Government Enabling Civic Engagement and a New Volunteerism

Linda-Marie Sundstrom (California State University- Long Beach, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0318-9.ch015
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Abstract

This research is intended to introduce a new concept of Interactive Government (i-Government), provide an overview of current practices, and offer recommendations for development and implementation. i-Government is the use of smartphone applications to: a) connect citizens with resources; b) engage citizens in collaboration; c) empower citizens as volunteers; and d) enable citizens to serve as watchdogs. Smartphone applications enable government agencies to provide citizens with information and resources anytime (24/7), from anywhere. This anytime, anywhere feature, combined with smartphone technology such as a camera, GPS/location detection service, and an Internet browser, allows citizens to interact with government by accessing information and providing real-time data. Citizens become a new type of volunteer force, who serve as sensors in the community, and who provide information on anything from potholes, to graffiti, to suspicious activity. Because smartphones are always on, government agencies can directly contact citizens who are also willing to serve their community.
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Background

E-Government

Electronic Government (E-Government) has been a practice since the 1990s, where federal, state and local government agencies apply Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), such as basic Internet applications, to deliver government services, engage citizens, and improve efficiencies (Trimi & Sheng, 2008). E-Government began as a way for government information and services to be available to the public 24/7 through the Internet. During the period known as Web 1.0, these types of websites included information such as: a) how to access government services; b) hours of operations; and c) ways to obtain and/or pay for information, such as obtaining copies of birth certificates, paying property taxes, and filing for permits and licenses. E-Government provided a means to make services more convenient for the citizens and reduce the cost of services provided by the government agencies. Recent research done by CitySourced, a smartphone application platform developer, estimated that walk-in services (a citizen walking into a government building to obtain services) costs a government agency approximately $9 per contact, whereas an online, web-based self service transaction can result in costs to the government agency as low as $0.24 to $0.65 per contact (K.Daradics, personal communication, 2011).

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