Evaluating Citizen Attitudes Towards Local E-Government and a Comparison of Engagement Methods in the UK

Andy Phippen (University of Plymouth, UK)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 70
EISBN13: 9781605666037|DOI: 10.4018/ijcec.2007070105
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This case considers the issues facing local authorities in the UK regarding engaging their citizen’s with online service delivery channels. While these issues are shared with all local authorities in the UK, the focus of the work is around the far South West of England, in a region where, given high levels of social and economic exclusion, low incomes, and low population density, local e-government services have great potential to benefit populations. Several datasets highlight the problem that the local authorities face in the region; a disengaged population and a lack of trust in both local and central government. However, we can also demonstrate that once engaged, citizens can appreciate the value of online services and will make use of them. Building upon this data, two approaches to engagement are examined; one a national mass media led campaign whose impact upon the study region is assessed, and another at the grass roots level of local communities, where trusted community volunteers are used as facilitators for engagement. We demonstrate failure with the mass media effort, and some significant success with the grass roots engagement. However, we must conclude that the key challenge facing local authorities is not in the generation of engagement efforts in the short term, but sustaining their impact in the long term.
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