A shift from citizen-centered to citizen-driven government

A new study finds that governments need to move beyond traditional e-government initiatives, like simple websites, email lists, and other one-way communication tools, in order to meet the growing expectations of government services.

Accenture’s ongoing research study, From e-Government to e-Governance demonstrates how public service organizations have invested successfully in technologies for the last decade to improve service delivery and realize cost efficiencies. But today’s citizens expect a different kind of relationship with their government. By adopting new technologies, the public sector can meet those expectations – even help dissuade negative views on government, says Greg Parston, director of Accenture’s Institute for Health & Public Service Value.

“We found that governments are adopting new strategies and adapting old ones to better engage the public, deliver more effective public services and enable citizens to contribute to improving their own social and economic conditions,” Mr. Parston said. “By adopting these strategies, organizations are transforming their relationships with people from one of dependency or even cynicism to one of shared responsibility.”

Accenture frameworkAccenture’s findings are the result of previous research, based on the company’s experience working with government agencies around the world and through an ongoing research initiative called the Global Cities Forum. As part of the Global Cities Forum, Accenture developed a Public Services Value Governance Framework, which focuses on outcomes, balance, engagement and accountability. (See figure above.)

The study’s findings focus on evolving the one-way street delivery of government services, where government delivers and citizens receive, to new “e-governance” strategies that encourage citizen engagement and builds trust among citizens and their government. The hallmark behind e-government was the integration of technology and the same is true of e-governance – the differences not unlike those between Windows ‘98 and cloud computing.

“Reducing the cost to serve requires public services organizations to invest in infrastructure, enterprise architecture and data warehousing solutions to support Enterprise 2.0 technologies while adopting cloud-based desktop strategies that deliver enhanced computing power at reduced costs,” the report says. “Organizations can channel back-office and IT savings into citizen-facing services.”

Examples of successful e-governance span the globe, according to the report. Dubai’s eComplain System, Finland’s Finnish Immigration Services, the U.K.’s Public Service Agreements program and even our very own GovLoop in the United States are case studies for ways to drive government from being citizen-centered to citizen-driven.

“As this transformation progresses, governments are finding themselves better placed to deliver improved services that address peoples’ whole life needs. That, in turn, is building trust among citizens in the role that government can play in their lives,” Mr. Parston said.

For more on the Accenture report, click here.

To read similar articles, try the following:
Governance framework shows public sector how to approach Web 2.0, CivSource 8-05-09
Lockheed develops open source, social media framework, CivSource 7-08-09

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