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INCREASING EFFICIENCY OF ELECTRONIC PUBLIC SERVICES TO CITIZENS AND BUSINESSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INTEGRATED ELECTRONIC SOLUTIONS

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Abstract

European Union enlargement, the existence of new needs and demands, requires the development of innovation and quality of public administration, which means improving public services in the global economy as a requirement of competitiveness. The European Union hopes to achieve the major objectives in what concerns the electronic government by 2010; actions necessary to achieve them are adopting solutions based on information and communication technologies in the Romanian public administration, aimed at developing modern public services. This paper presents some best experiences of e-governance in Romania and the results of e-governance in Gorj County, and the degree of implementation and use by citizens.
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INCREASING EFFICIENCY OF ELECTRONIC PUBLIC SERVICES TO CITIZENS
AND BUSINESSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE IMPLEMENTATION OF
INTEGRATED ELECTRONIC SOLUTIONS
Vătuiu Teodora
Titu Maiorescu University
Faculty of Economics
Ţarcă Naiana
University of Oradea
Faculty of Economics
Udrică Mioara
Universitatea „Titu Maiorescu”
Faculty of Economics
Popeangă Vasile Nicolae
Constantin Brâncuşi University
Faculty of Economics and Business Management
European Union enlargement, the existence of new needs and demands, requires the development of
innovation and quality of public administration, which means improving public services in the global
economy as a requirement of competitiveness.
The European Union hopes to achieve the major objectives in what concerns the electronic government
by 2010; actions necessary to achieve them are adopting solutions based on information and
communication technologies in the Romanian public administration, aimed at developing modern
public services. This paper presents some best experiences of e-governance in Romania and the results
of e-governance in Gorj County, and the degree of implementation and use by citizens.
Keywords: electronic government, information technology and communications, public services.
Cod JEL: O34, M15, L86
1. Development of e-Government services in the current European context
The existence of efficient and innovating public administrations is essential in a global and competitive
Europe. Government is the key element for the management and putting the potential of the public
sector to good use.
The electronic governance is the acceptance of general Government use of IT applications and other
information technologies based on the Internet, combined with processes that implement these
technologies to improve access and delivery of government information and services to the public, or to
other agencies and government entities. This brings improvements in the workings of government that
result in increased effectiveness, efficiency and service quality.
In general, the administrations of most developed cities make use of initiatives and programs at national
and international level in order to achieve and develop an environment for e-government services in the
city. Their policy is focused on developing several types of services and the establishment of a wide
range of services (for citizens and businesses).
Strategy shift to e-government transformation and modernization of government is imposed by
information technology and communications. Digital Governance refers to the web infrastructure to
provide online services. According to an analysis of websites of major cities, which took into account
five variables (security and confidentiality, can / utilization, content, type of online services offered,
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answer citizens and ensuring their participation through websites ), increase participation is a key to the
e-government strategies545.
Providing information and knowledge needed in the sector was a priority for governments from the
beginning. They must be integrated through interactive tools that allow, for example, involving people
in defining and evaluating public policies. The most important electronic governance models focus on
user involvement and citizens on the one hand, and the services provided to users in urban areas, on the
other.
E-Government services involve the public sector to the challenges and requirements of the new
economy. Therefore, accelerating the implementation of electronic government is important in order to
innovate and modernize public services546.
Throughout the world, governments are showing interest in new technologies and electronic services of
the future, allowing the implementation of electronic government, but must not forget that this involves
major changes in public institutions and facilities.
Internet is easy to use and involves low cost of use, this making it a digital instrument that anyone can
use. This is why the Internet is now an opportunity for the Board to serve citizen information
technology intensively. Internet access isn’t the only element that influences the level of development
of applications for electronic government. The use of this application depends also on education and on
the change of mentality, and the success of implementing these applications determines the acceptance
and the impact they have in modern society. Not so long ago, citizens perceived public service
negatively, being most often unpleased of their quality. The level of satisfaction of the citizens is tied to
their expectations regarding public service.
The European Union has identified five priorities or major objectives regarding e-government for
2010, which are547:
- Efficiency and efficacy, which implies an important contribution of e-government services to the
increase of satisfaction, transparency and responsibility, to the reduction of bureaucracy and to the
increase of efficiency by the year 2010.
- Implementing key services, with major impact on the citizens and on the business environment, so,
by the year 2010, public acquisitions will be 100% available online. The achievement of this objective
also involves the future cooperation for the development of online services that have strong impact on
the citizens.
- Offering services for all citizens, which means stimulating the inclusion through e-government, so all
citizens will benefit from secure, innovative and easy to use services by 2010.
- The introduction of identification keys, which allow authenticated access to public services, based
on laws concerning the protection of data. This allows citizens and the business environment to benefit
of authenticated convenient access by 2010, secure and interoperable to public services from Europe
(for example, eIDM, and the management of electronic identification for interoperable access to public
services).
- Strengthening the participation of citizens to the process of government and the democratic
adoption of decisions, by promoting public debate and the participation to the process of making
decisions in a democratic way.
The i2010 plan for e-government „Accelerating e-government in Europe for everyone’s benefit”548
has as main goals accelerating the process of obtaining attainable advantages for all citizens and for the
545 M. Păceşilă, E-government services at European Level Features and Trends, Theoretical and Empirical
Researches in Urban Management, Year 2, Number 5, 2007
546 Source: “i2010 eGovernment Action Plan: Accelerating eGovernment in Europe for the Benefit of All”,
Communication From the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, Brussels, 2006, page 3.
547 Patrick Wauters, Graham Colclough, „Online Availability of Public Services: How Is Europe Progressing?
Web Based Survey on Electronic Public Services, Report of the 6th Measurement”, June 2006, Capgemini,
www.capgemini.com/public, page 15.
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business environment; the assurance that national e-government does not lead to new barriers on the
unique market because of fragmentation and lack of interoperability; expanding the advantages for the
European Union through large scale economies that can be obtained in member states and cooperation
in order to find solutions to common problems that appear in Europe; ensuring the cooperation of all
European Union stakeholders in planning and providing e-government services. For the development of
electronic government services concentrated actions are necessary, like:
- establishing a common guide, approved by member countries that will align the development of
electronic government with the accessibility of electronic communication;
- advancing specifications for strategies of providing services that will allow access to e-government
services through varied channels like digital television, fixed and mobile telephony and other interactive
environments;
- establishing a common measurement of the impact of e-government services;
- exploiting the mechanism that ensures long term financial and operational durability for infrastructure
and electronic services;
- accelerating the establishment of common specifications for public acquisitions in the European Union
and launching pilot programs in this area;
- testing instruments based on information technology and communications that facilitates the
transparency and involvement of the public in adopting decisions and also backing exchange of
experience;
- establishing an advanced form of electronic democracy, etc.
The actions presented above and announced through i2010 were introduced in the period 2006 2010
and will need the cooperation of all stakeholders in order to develop electronic government in the
European Union.
2. Integrated development and implementation of online public services in the Gorj County
Council
Objective of the project concept development and implementation of electronic administration in the
Gorj County Council, focuses on quality growth and development of electronic public services for the
benefit of citizens, providing online public services to citizens / public administration at a level of
sophistication environment and efficient activities of the County Council, using specific information
technology by implementing new work flows, related to e-administration services.
The project will have the main results and increase satisfaction in Gorj County citizens through:
transparency in providing information and electronic public services, equal access for all citizens, and
better information and service them through public service available "on line" simplify, accelerate and
strategic management of economic processes to be conducted on the basis of solutions, ensuring the
security of transactions in a centralized, 24 hour availability of services 24, 7 days a week, in a solution
integrated, consistent, easily integrated with other systems and easy to manage. Also, another
significant result pursued by the project is the efficient activities of the Gorj County Council, using
specific means of ICT, by: improving the quality of the administrative act and change deep relationship
between public administration and citizen, increase efficiency of public administration, elimination
bureaucracy and increase the quality of public services, creating a centralized system for routing
administrative documents (administrative forms), ensuring the security of transactions in a centralized,
retraining public servants, raise their professional standard.
548 Source: “i2010 eGovernment Action Plan: Accelerating eGovernment in Europe for the Benefit of All”,
Communication From the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and
Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, Brussels, 25.04.2006, COM(2006) 173 final, pages 3-4.
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3. The overall system architecture
In defining the architecture that will support the Information System Development and increased
efficiency of electronic public services to citizens and businesses in Gorj country, were taken of the
following general features of the system:
- Availability: Availability of IT& C depends largely on the care with which it was designed, the
discipline with which it is operated, the rigor with which it was tested and optimization to over
exploitation. Key availability is found in insulation capacity of that "single point of failure" existing in
the individual components of the system (equipment and / or applications), thereby maximizing its
uptime. Techniques and technologies to increase the availability of time are: to ensure redundancy
(multiple-way communication between server and client) in the communications, and using
technologies like clustering to services.
- Data security: risk management by ensuring adequate protection of networks and systems should
ensure confidentiality and integrity of information circulating through the system, is an important goal
in designing any system IT & C The only solution for doing so in a consistent manner is strict
observance of a policy in the organization, named "defense-in-depth".
- Defense-in-depth multi-level security defines bidirectional, organized in areas of security, which
ensures the compartmentalization system so that if one part of it is compromised by a potential attack, it
can not compromise the other compartments.
- Scalability: scalability is the ability of a system to cope with an ascending continuous charging,
without decreasing performance. In general, the major components of a system architecture that is
subject to scalability are: topologies and network systems, application servers, infrastructure services,
infrastructure management components and subsystems responsible for storing data.
- Safety in operation: is based on the repetitiveness with which architecture has been implemented
successfully as standard system architecture. Reliability of operation may directly affect the system
availability at the macro level and indirectly, the degree of success that can be achieved in areas such as
security, scalability, and performance management capacity. Safety in operation is addressed to several
levels (layers) and is especially critical for solution scalability and performance of individual
applications.
- Standardization: implementation of infrastructure components, standardized by well-known
architectural elements, creates predictable and reliable systems to exploit. Standardization creates a
solid foundation for growth management system, ensuring integration of processes / applications and
technologies within the organization.
The system should not allow the loss of data, in this sense is necessary to restore capabilities in case of
accidents and ways to prevent them. Also, system architecture will be a component of security
infrastructure that does not allow unauthorized access to data. The information and communication
system will be arranged on two levels:
- Level of infrastructure: including all subsystems necessary for the functioning and security
specific applications. This level contains the following subsystems:
- Subsystem Hardware.
- Communications Subsystem.
- Subsystem Software Basic.
- Security Subsystem.
- The level of specific applications: includes all the subsystems that support the activities of
carrying on specific activities management. This level contains the following subsystems
operating on different applications within each organization in part:
- Economic Management Subsystem.
- Subsystem HR and payroll.
- Subsystem local taxes.
- Subsystem “Marital status”.
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- Subsystem Agricultural Register”.
- Subsystems necessary to complete the electronic services delivery system:
Subsystem Design and simulation work processes.
-Subsystem document management and workflow (including electronic registry).
- Project Management Subsystem.
- Subsystem external portal (the management of electronic identity for citizens enrolled
in the system and operators).
- Public area of the portal institution with the functions of advertising and promotion of
information of general interest.
- Component type discussion forum - which will be held on various issues - instead of
being extracted information on the areas of interest to citizens for the development of
new services coming to meet local community needs.
- Component type probe public opinion on the subject of attention of public opinion
about various aspects of community life to find solutions closest to the characteristics
of the local community.
- Subsystem management relationship with citizens and businesses.
- Implementation of computer application project specific indicators.
- Business Intelligence Subsystem.
- Subsystem Management Application.
Principle of the computer system architecture and communications for Integrated development of
online public services in Gorj can be represented as follows:
Fig. 1 County computer system architecture: Online public services
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To achieve system and the Communications Council, have been taken into account these technical
possibilities of designing the architecture: a centralized system, this calls for a single Data-Center,
centrally, and connecting all secondary locations via VPN network , the centralized database
management requires a single point, making data transfer is vertical; due to the necessity of obtaining
and processing data in real time, seen fit to implement a system to connect all users to a central system.
Of course, such architecture requires a communication system adequate to ensure access any
information from the system operator, with reasonable response times.
4. Conclusions
In the macroeconomic context of Romania in the last few years, the IT&C sector has grown in
importance, becoming a valuable instrument and important element of success, capable of generating
economic growth, promoting education and, last but not least, offering real support to democracy. In
this context, the initiatives of e-government of creating an electronic infrastructure that will bond
educational institutions, governmental agencies, and public sectors to private sectors have formed the
premise for the development of the IT&C sector.
New information technologies and communication has favored gathering, analyzing and access to
information, leading to more efficient activities, a better act of decision and more transparent public and
local institutions in their relationship with the citizen, who has a right for free access to information.
The Romanian strategy for e-Government is tied to the growth of the entire sector of information
technology and communications and it concentrates on the government’s effort to implement those
electronic services that have high economic and social potential. Only through actions of developing
modern electronic services can e-Government ensures transparency and institutional credibility and
reduce costs necessary for managerial process in public services. In this context, the main objectives for
e-Government are the use IT instruments in the sector of public administration in order to make day to
day activities more efficient, the presence of public administrations on the Internet, providing more
accessible information to citizens and companies, the growth of utility and usage of interactive services
for citizens and companies and last but not least changing the experience of e-Government nationwide.
The achievement of these goals is not possible if a strong partnership between all sides involved (public
authority, public administration and civil society), that leads to creating intelligent public services based
on new information technology and communications, does not exist.
The development of public services bring benefit both in the public and private sectors, translated into
economic growth, a favorable environment for investments and better use of public resource, including
Structural and Cohesion Funds.
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administration, Ed. Inforec, Bucureşti, 2008
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Full-text available
The local economical development is part of the general logic for the decentralization process, offering substance to the local autonomy, because we can’t assure at local level only the obligation for the assurance of administrative activities, keeping at the same time the economic levers in the center. In this context we can also include the efforts made for the efficiency of documents circulation within the administration, which have taken the shape of modern ways of approach. Within the most efficient ways of reducing bureaucracy we can mention the increase of efficiency for the informatics structure of public entities.
Introducere în e-Government
  • V Baltac
Baltac, V., Introducere în e-Government, SoftNet Grup, 2004;
E-government services at European Level-Features and Trends, Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management
  • M Păceşilă
Păceşilă M., E-government services at European Level-Features and Trends, Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management, Year 2, Number 5, 2007
Bazele utilizarii calculatoarelor
  • N Ţarcă
Ţarcă, N., Bazele utilizarii calculatoarelor, Ed. Universitatii din Oradea, 2008
Baze de date-creare şi gestionare cu Access
  • T Vatuiu
Vatuiu T., Baze de date-creare şi gestionare cu Access 2007, Ed. Renaissance, 2009 Internet Resources: 7.www.e-guvernare.ro;