New Technologies and the Modernization of Local Government: An Analysis of Biases and Constraints

Department of Public Policy, De Montfort University, Leicester
Public Administration (Impact Factor: 1.57). 12/2002; 77(4):731 - 751. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9299.00177


In emerging structures of local governance the institutions of elected local government have the potential to fulfil three complementary roles: those of local democracy, public policy making and direct service delivery. Although ICTs (information and communication technologies) could effectively develop all three roles there is a systemic bias which favours service delivery applications and ignores others. This bias can be explained by reference to a network of actors who determine ICT policy in relative isolation from the other policy networks active at the local level. The ways in which this bias is perpetuated are explored through a case study of ICT policy making in UK local government. The implications of the systemic bias for the long-term future of local government, and indeed public administration, are both severe and profound. They suggest an over-emphasis upon performance measurement, a decline in democratic activity and a diminishing capacity among elected bodies to effect broad public policy initiatives.

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    • "E-government has been defined as " the use of ICTs, and particularly the Internet, as a tool to achieve better government " (OECD, 2003), that is to say, it is considered a mechanism to transform public administrations through the use of ICTs. One of the reasons why e-government is being adopted, is to strengthen transparency and accountability and to change the passive role that citizens as 'customers/clients' had (Pratchett, 1999; Dimitriu, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Various authors have highlighted the potential contribution of the internet to enhance the interactivity, transparency, and openness of public sector entities and to promote new forms of accountability. The search for new styles of governance which promote higher levels of transparency and the engagement of citizens is viewed as a way of improving citizens' trust in governments. As the social media are becoming ubiquitous, both academics and practitioners need some initial and reliable background data about the deployment of this kind of technology at all levels. The aim of this work is to provide an overall view about the use of Web 2.0 and social media tools in EU local governments in order to determine whether local governments are using these technologies to increase transparency and e-participation, opening a real corporate dialog. In addition, the paper tries to identify which factors promote the level of development of these tools at local level. Our results show that most local governments are using Web 2.0 and social media tools to enhance transparency but, in general, the concept of corporate dialog and the use of Web 2.0 to promote e-participation are still in their infancy at the local level.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Government Information Quarterly
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    • "Elaboración Propia a partir de Pratchett (1999) y Criado et. al. (2002) Por su parte, Okot-Uma (2000) en su definición de e-Gobernanza, distingue entre e- Democracia, e-Gobierno y e-Negocios o Negocio Electrónico (en inglés e-Business). "

    Preview · Article · Nov 2011
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    • "Likewise, two-way interaction has been deemed a way of improving service delivery and responsiveness to citizens, a way of generating greater trust in governments (Markoff, 2000; and Raney, 2000) and of making governance function better than it currently does. However, at present, most e-government initiatives are still viewing people from a passive perspective (Pratchett, 1999; Pina et al., 2007a and 2007b; and Torres et al., 2006). The challenge to governments in all countries is to transform themselves in order to engage citizens in democratic activities (SALA, 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper seeks to assess to what extent e-government enables accountability and transparency in EU local governments. It also provides an overall view about how local governments are implementing ICTs initiatives to bring citizens closer to governments. Although the mere capacity of the Internet for the dissemination of information improves accountability and makes benchmarking easier, our results show that the expected benefits are far from being achieved because e-government projects are still in the early stages. The results also show that, at present, ICTs have not had a dramatic impact on EU local government accountability.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2010 · Financial Accountability & Management
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