ICEGOV2009 - Invited Talk - e-Gov and Public Sector Reform: What role for Gov in e-Gov?Presentation Transcript
e-gov and public sector reform: what role for gov in e-gov? 3 rd ICEGOV Conference Bogotá, November 10-13 th 2009 Matthias Finger, Professor, EPFL It is an academic perspective, but I draw my thoughts from the observation of practices, worldwide, thanks to our global executive master in e-governance)
Arguments and structure of the presentation
What role should government ideally play in e-government (and e-governance, as I will argue)?
In order to answer that question, it is good to recall how government came to be involved in e-government to begin with
To recall, it all started out with public sector reform in the 1980s
But then, I will argue, we all got somehow sidetracked by focusing too much on e-government services … and somehow forgot the very raison d’être of the whole endeavor
In this presentation I will thus show (1) how we got sidetracked, (2) how, even when focusing on e-government services, we have to have a broader approach, and (3) that, ultimately, we should redefine the role of government as a facilitator of e-governance
This presentation ultimately is about (re-)defining the role of government in the globalized “information society”
What was pubic sector reform all about?
How does e-government fit into the public sector reform process? (2)
A critical look at e-government so far
Deconstructing current e-government into three necessary layers (2)
Reassessing the role of government in each of these layers (2)
What future for government in e-government?
What future for government beyond e-government?
What was public sector reform all about?
Globalization of the 1980s as the overall context
Three types of pressures on the state (= reactive state): - structural financial pressures ( the role of PPP) - competitiveness ( the quest for efficiency) - legitimation problems ( in search of relevance
Two types of ideological answers (dismantling or saving the state?): (1) neo-liberalism : privatization and deregulation of government services (“where there is a market there is no need for the state”) --> mostly applied in the infrastructures (2) managerialism : “if the state operates like the private sector there is no need to privatize” --> mostly applied in the central administration
Neither is a real answer to the legitimation problems: rather efficiency becomes the source of legitimation
How does e-gov fit into public sector reform? Managerialism Privatization Deregulation Decentralization Participation The efficiency problem The financial problem The legitimation problem e-government (“the systematic use of the ICTs to provide government services in more efficient and more customer-friendly ways”
How does e-gov fit into public sector reform? II Managerialism Privatization Deregulation Decentralization Participation The efficiency problem The financial problem The legitimation problem The managerial state The regulatory state The participatory state As public sector reform stalled in the 1990s, technology became seen the next step/hope in public sector reform
technology replaces leadership as the driver of public sector reform ( e-government)
This raises 2 questions: - can leadership be replaced? - is managerialism not a too narrow focus in light of the challenges and in light of the potential of the ICTS
A critical appreciation of e-government so far
Without doubt, the ICTs were and still are a useful step in the modernization of the state
e-government has clearly evolved … - from the digitalization of existing services - to the still timid transformation of government practice thanks to the ICTs - to the even more timid creation of new organizations and institutions at the interface between government and its stakeholders
This evolution clearly goes in the right direction
But, this evolution also has to be encouraged, as there is, in my view, no natural evolution in this direction … quite the opposite is the case, given the interests in place
In the remainder of my presentation, I would like to outline … - how we can encourage and think this evolution - how e can ultimately get to e-governance, as this is the only way for government to remain legitimate and relevant
Deconstructing current e-government into 3 layers e-government services , such as e-permits, digital documents, e-participation services, e-health services, e-education services, e-payment services, and others more offered to citizens and firms These services are only possible because corresponding software solutions and (software and hardware) platforms , so-called middleware have been developed in parallel (e.g., data repository platforms, data management platforms, archiving platforms, e-health solutions) And both are only possible because of a fixed and wireless telecommunications infrastructure , which allows citizens to access the internet
Reassessing the role of government in these 3 layers Middleware Services Infrastructures What will be left for government in e-government? Telecommunications is already mostly done by (global) private or privatized operators Middleware has been developed and continues to be developed by private software and hardware firms (convergence, globalization) Services could, in theory, be offered by private operators in a competitive fashion; only the public monopoly protects these services Which roles will government really have to play for e-government to work?
Which roles of government are essential? Middleware Services Infrastructures
Ensure the development of the infrastructure
Prevent digital divide, guarantee USO
Incite demand for the infrastructures through promoting services
(5) Work with the private sector so as to that the middleware corresponds to its needs and interests PPPs, tendering (6) Accreditation of competing service providers according to key criteria (privacy, security) (7) Ensure key services (e.g., PKI) (1) regulatory role, (2) facilitating role, (3) service provision role (?)
What role for government in e-government? Managerialism Privatization Deregulation The efficiency problem The financial problem The managerial state The regulatory state Government still has an important role to play in e-government, but it is mainly a regulatory role : - accessibility, equity - interoperability, interconnection - privacy, security choosing the right partners (by way of accrediting firms) In some rare areas, government keeps a facilitating, incentivizing role (e.g., developing the infrastructures by incentivizing demand) But, if government wants to remain relevant and thus legitimate, it has to go much further create the conditions for its own relevance
What role for government beyond e-government? Managerialism Privatization Deregulation Decentralization Participation The efficiency problem The financial problem The legitimation problem The managerial state The regulatory state The participatory state e-government e-governance (1) e-government will be replaced (by privates and peoples) (2) A role for regulation (of privates) will remain (3) But the future and most important role for government will be to empower citizens and communities to use the ICTs for decentralized and innovative collective problem solving
Executive Master in e-governance Executive Master degree from
A global learning journey: 10 intensive weeks in partnership with: From emerging countries for emerging countries
- Universidad Cristobál Colón, Veracruz, Mexico (2 weeks)
National University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda (2 weeks)
UNU-IIST, Macau, China (1 week)
Asia Institute of Technology (1 week)
Anna University, Chennaï, India (2 weeks)
e-governance Academy, Tallinn, Estonia (1 week)
EPFL Middle East Campus, Ras Al-Kaihmah, UAE (concluding week)