Local E-Government Management: A Wider Window of E-Governance

Local E-Government Management: A Wider Window of E-Governance

Hakikur Rahman
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-671-6.ch015
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Despite the popularity, potency and perfection of electronic government (e-Government), it is yet somehow remain in uncharted territory for many countries in terms of implementing e-governance at the local government level. However, technology possess the potential for improving the way government works, and utilizing the newly evolved technology many countries have been engaged themselves for improving the way their citizens work. Local and national governments are trying to realize this potential by finding ways to implement novel technology in spearheading its utilization to achieve the best services for their citizens. They include awareness raising, knowledge acquisition, social networking, and mobilization in planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating local e-government initiatives to draw inferences and recommendations learning from local e-government pioneers across the globe. This chapter has tried to draw a line of reference by put forwarding the importance of local e-government organizational structure, and their supremacies in terms of utilization of information and communication technology (ICT). Along this context, the chapter has attempted to synthesize a few prospective local e-government scenarios, focus on their adaptation of ICT, puts forward recommendations to improve local e-government for better utilization of information services.
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Governments throughout the world are in quest of finding ways to deliver public services more efficiently and effectively. Incorporation of electronic governance (e-governance) in the local governments tier is an option often discussed, although the expectations often differ. For example, some expect service delivery costs to be reduced, many hopes for equitable provision of public services and others anticipate better planning across a metropolitan area. Various social and political motivations may also be reasons for the change as well. This chapter is intended to look into various issues of e-government at the local government levels, study the parameters for promotion of e-governance at the grass roots to yield positive economic benefits. In this aspect, there are no straight forward way of improving the e-government system at the local government level, rather many factors control the system, including the structure of the government (tiers of the government system), local demographics (population, size, density), set of responsibilities authorized to local governments and the homogeneity of preferences within the area (Commonwealth, 2004; Fox & Gurley, 2006).

Nowadays, local e-government management includes the extended use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) within government for purposes of improving service delivery to citizens or to enhance back-office operations. The implementation of ICT for overall development and advancement of e-government strategies are likely to have a strong bias towards cities and local towns where most of the citizens reside.

However, it has been observed that, at the national level and in the advantaged localities (central cities, capital cities, and urban areas) ICT’s are extensively used to address only key business processes. The national e-government policy does not always apply in devotion to the local government level. Even they are being applied; the policy can not avoid duplication of efforts, problems of interoperability, and inability to leverage economies of scale and security. The key components that drive the local governance and ICT’s remain access, content, citizen service, and economic and social development, and for proper implementation of the ICT strategies, the need for these initiatives targeting marginalized areas has also remained not properly identified. Furthermore, in spite of the local governments differ considerably in terms of capacity, content, service delivery, and effectiveness; they have to be dynamic and developmental due to their involvement in local economic development. Local governments need to take the role of the key player in developing integrated rural-based, citizen-centric, information-driven, user-friendly, easily-accessible, and dynamic e-governance system (CPSI, 2005; Samarajiva & Zainudeen, 2008).

Typical services at the local government level incorporates:

  • Adults’/children’s social care (basic education, pension scheme, retirement plan, primary health, child mortality)

  • Economic development (small and medium enterprises, growth centers, consumer commodity, VoIP, call centers, telecenters, multi-purpose information centers)

  • Health and Education (nutrition, medicare, continuing education)

  • Highways (toll centers, growth centers, village markets)

  • Housing and Building control (land use planning, rural and sub-urban planning, zone plans, construction, maintenance)

  • Roads and footpaths (mapping, planning, zone-plan, implementation, maintenance)

  • Architecture, building control and design (sustainable operational policies and planning, standardization of policies and rules)

  • Traffic and transportation (operation and management)

  • Art galleries, Leisure, recreation and museums (infotainment, culture)

  • Car parking (design, planning, implementation)

  • Cemeteries

  • Environmental health (awareness campaign and promotional activities on eco-system management)

  • Fire service (safety and security)

  • Libraries (knowledge building, knowledge promotion, social networking)

  • Parks and open spaces

  • Police service (law and order)

  • Tourism (promotion of local heritage, sustainable eco-tourism)

  • Trading standards (law, policy, consumer association)

  • Waste collection and disposal (solid waste management), etc. (LGAR, 2006; Wasukira & Naigambi, 2002)

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Government: Refers to the use of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) by governments as applied to the full range of government functions.

Information Infrastructure: An information infrastructure is defined by (Hanseth, 2002) as “a shared, evolving, open, standardized, and heterogeneous installed base” and by (Pironti, 2006) as all of the people, processes, procedures, tools, facilities, and technology which supports the creation, use, transport, storage, and destruction of information.

e-government structure: Different layers of the e-government services for the development of an electronic infrastructure to support e-protocol, e-applications / e-petitions and internal organizational function of the public organization.

local government: The lowest level of formal state institutions, such as district-level officials or local, publicly accountable decision-making and service-delivery organizations constituted in accordance with national laws (such as in local elections). It is a city, county, parish, township, municipality, borough, board, district, or other general purpose political subdivision of a state.

Local E-Government: Local e-government could be seen as the improvement, effectiveness and efficiency of local government in leading and delivering services to all communities through the use of ICTs with a vision of central and local government working in partnership to deliver better outcomes for people and places, including real challenges for local government in terms of political and managerial leadership, thus enhancing citizen engagement and participation for better service delivery

E-Governance: E-Governance is a network of organizations to include government, nonprofit, and private-sector entities

local government institutions: Local government institutions may comprise of municipal governments, boards of education, district health boards and a variety of other special purpose institutions. These institutions provide services needed by their residents, such as land use planning, roads, utilities, public transit, economic development promotion, education, health services, and infotainment.

e-government management: Management of e-government activities for improved socio-economic environment, ideology, public affairs, social life, and promote innovation in sustainable e-government system for the government. In this aspect, information technology may effectively support the government’s innovation activities to establish e-government in innovative ways.

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