“What’s Up Over There?” Reflections of development of e-government in the States of California and Washington

Document type: Miscellaneous
Author(s): Annelie Ekelin
Title: “What’s Up Over There?” Reflections of development of e-government in the States of California and Washington
Translated title: Vad händer i USA?
Type of publication: Report
Year: 2005
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Engineering - Dept. Mathematics and Science (Sektionen för teknik – avd. för matematik och naturvetenskap)
School of Engineering S- 371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail: annelie.ekelin@bth.se
Language: English
Abstract: Some highlights in this report could be summarized as follows: there are several examples of extensive investment of human and economical resources into security improvement and security related planning currently going on in the United States, coupled with a strong focus on implementing best practice frameworks and advanced interoperability. Other important aspects are the ongoing re-engineering of both governmental leadership structures as well as organisational work practice, where technological systems are to be seen both as something that cause issues, but also as an important part when solving those problems in the future.
In the US, and particularly in the Seattle area, mobile government is developing fast. The state portal has also got a very prominent “sister portal”, called the Democracy portal with its own local TV-channel, Seattle Channel working actively on promotion of state actions.
This initiative is not new, but is nevertheless interesting since it has been developing more and more towards greater interactivity. It is in some sense an extension of the state portal, but
also, according to Laurie Kraft, functions well as a ”window to government”, where the public is offered possibilities of interaction and participation in processes of general local decision-making. A working group recently worked out new guidelines on how to expand the interactive web format. New sections such as ”Tell me more” gives the public possibilities to learn more about for example the preparation of the budget estimates or having the opportunity to deepen their argumentation about local issues such as the debate about the local monorail expansion. In another section they are offered suggestions on how to proceed if they want to get involved in different matters, or find an answer to the question: How do I engage? Further developmental work is going to concentrate on how to tackle the occurrence of new digital divides, considering additional opportunities to reach those who rarely participates such as youths, non-native English speakers, and others who feel disenfranchised from the democratic process and the society. A well-thought strategy on ho to stimulate people to broaden their knowledge and take the opportunity to learn more about local decision-making.
California is the fifth largest economic engine in the world with a fast expanding economy after a recession. In the annual survey of Digital Counties (2005), conducted by the Centre for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on Information technology policies and best practices in state and local government, several Californian counties appear on the list. In the survey, which focuses on how the county governments are deploying information technology to advance their services to citizens, San Diego County occupies the second place in the category of counties with a population of more than 500 000. In the smaller categories, covering less populated counties, California appears as number 10, and in the category of the counties with a population less than 150.000, Nevada County, Napa County and Sutter County cluster themselves in second, third and fourth place.
Summary in Swedish: Enligt Clark Kelso, CIO of the State of California och tillika guvernör Schwarzeneggers rådgivare i IT frågor, pendlar e-government utvecklingen och myndigheternas Internet- funktionaliteten i USA någonstans mellan stadierna ett, två och tre, där nivå ett enkelt uttryckt är att presentera information om myndigheten och dess service på statiska webbplatser. Några tjänster placerar sig högre (enkelriktad eller dubbelriktad interaktivitet) och USA har också några utvecklade transaktionstjänster varav några är särskilt viktiga för medborgare. Men när det gäller att ta sig upp på det fjärde trappsteget i utvecklingstrappan, vilket motsvarar en hög integrationsnivå av sociala och tekniska nätverksfunktioner i syfte att sammanlänka myndigheter och andra sociala institutioner samt deras datasystem, gör USA som många andra länder - planar ut och hejdar utvecklingsprocessen. Samtidigt satsas stora nationella reusurser på säkerhetsförbättringar av datasystem och säkerhetsrelaterad organsiationsplanering. Det är också en fokusering på att införa lokala kvalitetskriterier för att identifiera "best practice" och hur man bäst stödjer utökad samverkan. Andra viktiga aspekter är den pågående omstruktureringen av myndigheteststrukturer likaväl som arbetsorganisering lokalt, där införandet av tekniklösningar både ses som något som skapar problem, samtidigt som de anses spela en avgörande för att komma till rätta med de problem som de paradoxalt också bidrar till att skapa.
Subject: Human Work Science\Work Practice
Keywords: USA, e-government
Note: MTC-stiftelsen http://www2.enspiro.com/templates/Page.aspx?id=21141