A Review of City Portals: The Transformation of Service Provision under the Democratization of the Fourth Phase

A Review of City Portals: The Transformation of Service Provision under the Democratization of the Fourth Phase

Mark Deakin (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-933-0.ch013
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This chapter reviews the development of portals by cities, their digital technologies and socially-inclusive platforms and sets out a simple four-phase model of e-government to describe their on-going transformation. It goes on to discuss e-government’s recent transition from stage three to four, some of the post-transactional issues underlying their democratization of service provision and the participation of citizens in the consultations and deliberations this transformational process supports.
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As gateways to electronically-enhanced services, city portals provide online access to a growing number of e-government services. As such they have been successful in exploiting the opportunities technology offers to make local and regional government services available electronically, over the web. Today all larger and ‘small-to-medium’ sized cities have portals offering online access. As electronically-enhanced services they are seen as valuable alternatives to traditional modes of provision for the simple reason governments can now use digital technologies as socially-inclusive platforms. Socially-inclusive platforms with the digital technologies needed to deliver electronically-enhanced services over the web and as customized products capable of meeting everyone’s requirements online, via multi-channel access.

City Portal

City portals are core to this modernization of government and have undergone four phases of development as part of the ongoing search for electronically-enhanced levels of service provision. These phases of development are as follows:

  • websites providing information about available services;

  • portals allowing the users of such websites to engage with the material hosted online and interact with it;

  • platforms extending such online interaction into web-based transactions;

  • web-based services allowing citizens to participate in this process of customization.

This chapter captures this fourfold classification of city portals and tracks their development from youthful experiments in tele-presence to mature exercises in the deployment of digital technologies. In doing so it focuses attention on the so-called fourth phase of this development and the deployment of digital technologies as socially-inclusive platforms. In particular on the digital technologies of socially-inclusive platforms whose post-transactional notion of e-government is open, transparent and accountable. Open, transparent and accountable with regards to the communitarian-based logic administrations are increasingly adopting to democratize decisions taken about future levels of service provision.

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