17 Jan 2008
An EU-funded research project on ‘Barriers to eGovernment’, led by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), University of Oxford, has identified the top barriers to successful eGovernment within the European Union and offers organizational and legal pathways to overcoming them.
One key proposal is to create a network of eGovernment champions across public administrations in the EU. Political support from the top is an important issue for the progress of eGovernment, but it can be difficult to maintain or to feed down to other tiers of government. One way of sustaining attention to and prioritising of eGovernment is the creation of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) role throughout government organizations, to promote eGovernment initiatives. Such a network in each member state would support and extend the work of the i2010 eGovernment subgroup that already plays an important role in progressing eGovernment within the EU.
CIOs should meet on a regular basis to promote cross-government awareness of eGovernment issues, highlight potential synergies between departmental initiatives and increase potential for inter-agency working. Professor Helen Margetts, OII, said: ‘the CIO role should be created for agencies and public bodies as well as at departmental level, to ensure that a ‘seam’ of eGovernment champions exists throughout government administrations. It is also important that the needs of those agencies below departmental level with large IT budgets and policy-critical IT systems are incorporated into CIO discussions.’
Professor Bill Dutton, Director of the OII, said: ‘this project reminded us that eGovernment entails major change in the ways governments do what they do, which makes organizational innovation central to its success. This is the one meta-message of the project. If governmental actors focus on innovation, the legal obstacles will fall.’
The final reports on top barriers, their legal backgrounds, case studies, and solutions, can be accessed on the project website: http://www.egovbarriers.org/
This work is expected to contribute to the implementation of the i2010 eGovernment Action Plan (2006-2010).
Notes for Editors
‘Breaking Barriers to eGovernment’ is a three year MODINIS study carried out for the European Commission’s eGovernment Unit, DG Information Society & Media. It is led by the Oxford Internet Institute (University of Oxford) in collaboration with: gov3 (a UK based eGovernment consultancy); the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (University of Tilburg, Netherlands), Centre de Recherches Informatique et Droit (University of Namur, Belgium) and the Department of Administrative Law (University of Murcia, Spain).
The project team undertook in-depth case studies, an online survey and reviews of other work in this field. It also engaged closely with leading experts, practitioners and other eGovernment stakeholders.
Seven key barrier categories were identified: Leadership failures, Financial inhibitors, Digital divides and choices, Poor coordination, Workplace and organizational inflexibility, Lack of trust and Poor technical design.
Eight legal foundations of these barriers were explored: Administrative law, Authentication and identification, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Liability, Privacy and data protection, Public administration transparency, Relationships between public administrations, citizens and other ICT actors and Re-use of public sector information.
Project website: http://www.egovbarriers.org/
Full Solutions Report (pdf, 614kb): http://www.egovbarriers.org/downloads/deliverables/solutions_report/Solutions_for_eGovernment.pdf
Solutions Summary (pdf, 2.96 mb): http://www.egovbarriers.org/downloads/deliverables/A5_Booklet_WEB.pdf
eGovernment Unit, DG Information Society and Media, European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/egovernment/index_en.htm
i2010 eGovernment Action Plan: http://www.epractice.eu/document/2725