The Internet has opened up new possibilities for governments and local authorities to interact with their citizens. Many local authorities – both in developed and developing country cities – run websites for their cities. Many of these have even gone ahead to use the Internet to conduct as many of their transactions with its citizens as are possible. Some countries are in the process of developing comprehensive "electronic government" or "E-government" policies and practices. Obviously, this option is not open to countries where access to the Internet is limited, but it does seem to be the shape of things to come.
E-Government is often complemented by the use of Internet by civil society organizations and individuals to monitor their local governments and increase transparency.
The purpose of this tool is:
To increase the information available to the general public about activities of the local government.
To maximise the potential for networking and allow for faster interaction between the general public and the authorities.
Linkage to transparency
Information put on the Internet is accessible to every person that has the literacy and access. Of course, the political will or decision to make information available is a prerequisite. The provision of both general and specific information on a website strengthens the link as well as the trust between the stakeholders and public agencies. This in turn builds a more informed citizenry and a more transparent community.
How It Works – The Key Elements
E-Government makes use of the Internet to disseminate information. At its most basic, it requires a commitment by the local government or the organization that is placing information on a web page on the Internet to maintain an up-to-date site. It thus requires human and financial resources as well as electronic capability on the part of the responsible organization. In order to make this work and for it to have a meaningful impact in a particular city, town or municipality, there should also be reasonably widespread computer literacy and access to the Internet for local residents.
The E-government approach may be particularly useful for:
Providing general information on a town.
Monitoring local elections.
Posting public notices on meetings, resolution, etc.
Reporting complaints, concerns, and emergencies by the local community.
Obtaining different kinds of permits by the local residents.
Open tendering procedures, civil applications.
The OPEN System in Korea
Improving Transparency through the Internet during Elections in Ecuador
Transparency in tendering procedures through the use of IT - Pori, Finland
Montgomery County Website - United States
Further information and contacts
OECD (2003). Checklist for E-Government Leaders. OECD Policy Brief, Paris.
OECD, 2, rue André Pascal, F-75775 Paris Cedex 16, France
The City of Pori, Press Relations Unit, or Procurement Unit, Finland.
Corporación Latinoamericana para el Desarrollo- CLD
Montgomery County, USA
Montegomery County Council, Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville,
MD 20850, USA.
Tel: +1-240-777-7900, Fax: 1-240-777-7914
Seoul Metropolitan Government, Republic of Korea.