The Electronic Journal of e-Government publishes perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of e-Government

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Journal Article

An Exploratory Evaluation of UK Local e‑Government From an Accountability Perspective  pp13-28

Dave Griffin, Eddie Halpin

© Jul 2005 Volume 3 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 58

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Abstract

This paper provides an initial exploration of the relationship between electronic service delivery and public accountability. Specifically, it investigates public accountability for the implementation of electronic local government. Based on empirical research with council officers and elected members, it proposes a initial evaluation framework for local e‑Government accountability. It examines the practice of e‑Government accountability using this framework.

 

Keywords: e-Government, evaluation, public accountability, local government, scrutiny

 

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Journal Article

Experiences with Video Streaming of Norwegian Local Government Meetings  pp49-54

Lasse Berntzen

© Jan 2007 Volume 4 Issue 2, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp49 - 94

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Abstract

Video streaming of local government meetings offers transparency. After an experimental phase, video streaming has now become a regular service in several Norwegian municipalities. This paper describes the design, development and implementation of one such video streaming service for a consortium of twelve municipalities. One important goal of this project was to deliver rich user experience without putting additional workload on municipal administrators. Our solution is able to deliver multiple video streams originating from different video sources (cameras), and the user may choose which video streams to view. Video streams are stored and made available for later viewing. An administrative application facilitates linking items on the agenda to relevant video content. A search engine makes it possible to search for video content across municipal borders. The paper also reports on a recent survey conducted among initial users of the video streaming service. The results are discussed, and some areas of future research are proposed.

 

Keywords: transparency, accountability, e-democracy, video streaming, webcasting

 

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Journal Article

Digitization and Political Accountability in the USA and the Netherlands: Convergence or Reproduction of Differences?  pp213-224

Albert Meijer

© Dec 2007 Volume 5 Issue 2, ECEG 2007, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp95 - 224

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Abstract

Does the use of ICTs lead to convergence? Or are existing differences being reproduced? This paper deals with these broad questions in the domain of political accountability in two countries and applies these questions to the level of agency accountability and political accountability systems. The results of empirical research in the Netherlands (a parliamentary system) and three American states (presidential systems) into the effects of digitization on political accountability are used to evaluate the relevance of institutional differences for explaining outcomes of technological trajectories. The research indicates that there are many similarities and few differences at the level of agencies. Government agencies in both countries record more data than before the introduction of ICTs, grant better access to recently recorded data. have not created technological warranties for protecting the authenticity of this information and cannot guarantee that the digital information will remain accessible over time. One minor difference between the findings is that websites were found to be more important for communication between government agencies and citizens and even within government agencies in the USA than in the Netherlands. The fact that many similarities and few differences were found supports the idea that government agencies in different countries are converging because of the use of the same technologies. Does convergence also take place at the level of accountability systems? There are relevant differences at the level of political principals. Principals in the Netherlands make little use of digital information and mostly rely on information in paper documents whereas principals in the USA extensively use digital information for fact‑finding. Principals in the Netherlands have insufficient information processing capacity to adequately process all the digital information available to them while principals in the USA generally have sufficient capacity. Principals in the Netherlands make limited us of databases for fact‑finding whereas principals in the USA, in contrast, make much use of this digital information. Overall, American principals are better capable of using digital information for fact‑finding than Dutch principals. This indicates that institutional differences in ex‑post oversight are reproduced in the information age. The relation between information and communication technologies and political institutions is ambiguous: agencies are converging whereas differences between political principals are reproduced.

 

Keywords: political accountability, electronic record management, institutional differences

 

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Journal Article

Online Transparency for Accountability: One Assessing Model and two Applications  pp279-291

Rui Pedro Lourenço

© Dec 2013 Volume 11 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp181 - 322

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Abstract

Abstract: This paper proposes, in the context of Open Government, a model to assess how public sector entities are taking advantage of the Internet as an information disclosure tool and a means to promote transparency, specifically in what concerns the us e of public resources (input transparency for accountability). The assessment model and resulting Transparency Index gives particular attention to the disclosure of detailed (disaggregated) data according to the principles of Open Government Data, nam ely by valuing data visibility, adequate format for further processing, and the autonomous presentation of individual information items. Subsequently, the paper demonstrates the applicability of the proposed model by carrying out two assessment exercises on two subsets of Portuguese and Italian municipalities. Results show that, all in all, the municipalities analysed do not yet disclose enough information useful for accountability processes and they do not take advantage of the Internet potential to make the data provided more visible and re‑usable by citizens and local stakeholders. Alone, high‑level policy directives, governmental requirements and national legislation guaranteeing access to information are not enough to ensure public entities (municip alities in particular) disclose all the relevant data, and therefore specific guidelines are needed.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Accountability, Input transparency assessment, Internet, Open Government

 

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Journal Article

E‑Availability and E‑Accessibility of Financial Documents: A Cross‑State Examination of U.S. County Websites  pp73-86

David Baker, Roger Chin

© Jun 2016 Volume 14 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 134

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Abstract

Abstract: This article examines the e‑availability and e‑accessibility of financial documents through county websites in the United States (U.S.). E‑availability and e‑accessibility of financial documents supports a stakeholder‑centric approach for eval uating performance and fiscal conditions of county governments, while also promoting democratic values of transparency and accountability. Previous research addresses e‑availability and e‑accessibility for cities, only one analysis reviews popular reports in both cities and counties, and only one study exists that exclusively focuses on the 100 most populous U.S. counties. Our review extends earlier research by examining 237 U.S. counties, up to five in each of the 48 states with county governments. Addit ionally, this research makes a limited comparison with an earlier study to indicate changes in the e‑availability and e‑accessibility of financial documents over a four‑year period. Using systematic sampling and content analysis, this study contributes t o fuller understanding of the significance of financial documents as a feature of e‑government, while reviewing more counties and highlighting variations among counties of differing population sizes. This research also conducted Chi‑square tests to examin e the relationship of the variables, and the value of Cramér's V was calculated to measure the strength of the relationship between the variables. In addition to finding variations in the e‑availability and e‑accessibility of financial documents among cou nties of different population sizes, this analysis also demonstrates dramatic e‑availability improvements for two of the three selected financial documents while noting a modest decrease in the overall e‑accessibility of financial documents on county webs ites. After reporting and analyzing the findings, research limitations are disclosed, and recommendations are offered to advance the state‑of‑practice and for further studies. This form of benchmarking may assist other local governments in the U.S. with i mproving their websites, while internationally this analysis supports developing countries with refining their e‑government strategies by improving online information disclosure.

 

Keywords: Keywords: E-government, e-availability, e-accessibility, financial documents, state-of-practice, transparency, accountability

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 5 Issue 2, ECEG 2007 / Dec 2007  pp95‑224

Editor: Frank Bannister

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Editorial

This issue contains a selection of the best papers from the 2007 European Conference on e‑Government which took place in The Hague . Our host was Den Haagse Hogeschool, which is housed in a building which can best be described as a series of large ellipses piled on top of one another. Finding a given room on a given level involved a decision as to whether to go clockwise or anticlockwise round this structure and there was plenty of empirical evidence of the validity of the *buttered toast law as the later one was for a presentation, the more likely one seemed to be to go the longer way around.

As usual with this issue, there are a large number of articles and they come from many countries. A number of contributors consider various aspects of government portals and on‑line services. Aykut Arslan looks at the impact of ICT on local government in Turkey , concluding that although progress has been made, there is much to be done, especially in moving beyond efficiency to broader goals of inclusion and democracy. On the other side of the continent, Karin Furuli and Sigrun Kongsrud compare and contrast government portals in Demark and Norway . The framework that they develop for doing this may be of interest to other researchers and has wide potential application. In their article, Ralph Feenstra, Marijn Janssen and René Wagenaar (who sadly died in 2007), examine the question of composition methods for web based government services where there are multiple actors. Composition is the process of combining several services (usually from different suppliers) necessary for the completion of a single task and evaluating methods of doing this is non trivial. Regina Connolly's article focuses on the factors that influence the take up and effectiveness of Ireland 's Revenue Online Service tax payment system and provides several useful insights that could be applied elsewhere. Alea Fairchild and Bruno de Vuyst consider another aspect of government service, the Belgian Government Interoperability Framework (BELGIF) and look at the problems of interoperability in a country with its own particular administrative and political complexities.

Document management is a topic that to date has received little attention in the e‑government literature. Two papers here contribute to making up for this deficiency. For anybody who would like a primer as well as an interesting model, the article by Raphael Kunis, Gudula Rünger and Michael Schwind is an informative read. Mitja Decman also considers the matter of government documents, this time from the perspective of archiving and long term storage. As well as being another good overview of the issues involved, the case for having confidence in such forms of storage is well argued.

The conference has always attracted a number of contributions on electronic voting and e‑democracy In their article, Orhan and Deniz Cetinkaya give a sweeping overview of e‑voting, arguing that there is sometimes a lack of clarity in terminology and suggesting that appropriate levels of verification and validation should be applied to e‑voting in different situations. Mark Liptrott's article on e‑voting presents a rather different perspective, examining the successes and failures of the 2003 e‑voting experiment in the UK . His conclusion is that government will need to be proactive and learn the lessons of Roger's diffusion theory if it is going to get widespread public acceptance of this technology. In a different part of the e‑democracy forest, Jenny Backhouse arrives as a somewhat similar conclusion, that engagement with e‑democracy in Australia seeks unlikely to break out spontaneously with given models. Using analogies from e‑business, she concludes, however, that e‑democracy is here to stay whether we like it or not!

Finally, two papers with broader themes. Albert Meijer opens his article with the provocative question; “Are all countries heading for similar political systems in the information age?” He then looks at this question using empirical research in the USA and The Netherlands which suggests that convergence is not happening in quite the way some expect. Mary Griffiths looks at something quite different, the South Australian Oxygen programme (designed to connect the X and Y generations) which seeks to equip young people for civil engagement via electronic media. The results of this experiment are refreshingly positive and again, as in other articles in this issue, there are lessons for a wider world.

 

Keywords: archiving, Australia, Borger.dk, citizen portal, collaboration, diffusion, digital archive, digital preservation, document management systems, document processing, e-administration, e-business model, e-democracy, e-government security, electronic data, electronic record management, e-municipality, e-participation, e-Turkey, evaluation, e-voting, hierarchical government processes, institutional differences, interoperability, multi-actor networks, Mypage, online public services, outsourcing, peer-managed intranets, pilot scheme, political accountability, Protocols, public policy process, public value, quality of service, record keeping, SERVQUAL, social value, standards, taxation, Transferability, trust, Turkish e-governments, Turkish local governments, UGC, validation, verification, virtual village, web service composition

 

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