A Canadian discussion on how to use, improve, and share within the larger GovLoop Community (but open to everyone!).
A great place to start when looking to connect with other Canadian Civil Servants.
Is eGov in Canada slipping?
October 29, 2009 at 8:49 pm #84081
Read this article about the new federal CIO:
“It’s not the good old 90s anymore, when Canada consistently ranked atop global surveys as a leader in e-government and other federal technology initiatives. The country now finds itself slipping in those polls and in the eyes of many Canadians.”
What is your opinion about this quote?
October 29, 2009 at 8:55 pm #84091
We rank far behind where we could be, in my experience and opinion. There are great federal initiatives, and some Provinces are doing good work, but the initative is made up entirely of self-starters, facing policy and practice barriers. The largest arena where we currently fall far behind is that the far majority of eGov initatives are by public servants, for public servants. Very little of what’s happening now is public facing. That’s where the real slippage in the eyes of Canadians likely lies. We seem to forget, as Nick Charney pointed out, that public service is client service.
November 2, 2009 at 6:03 pm #84089
This article is unfocused, to say the least. The quote you chose isn’t actually supported by the article — how does having lower wireless penetration rates than many “third world” countries correlate with e-government? Canadians can use cable or DSL internet connections, whereas in poorer countries they don’t have that hardware infrastructure so the best alternative is wireless connectivity. Regardless of this — how does it relate to government services?
Looking at the bigger picture — why does it matter how we compare to other countries/jurisdictions/departments? Why not look at the world co-operatively and figure out how we can help each other be better, rather than being competitive and focusing on how we compare to others.
November 2, 2009 at 10:44 pm #84087
That makes sense and that is what I am experiencing all the time. In the Netherlands, they decided that municipalities are the main contact point for citizens with “The Government”.
So all municipality websites now contain a catalogue of services provided by local, provincial and federal government organizations. That makes it way easier to find out where to go.
November 2, 2009 at 10:58 pm #84085
I agree about helping each other by sharing best practices, but I disagree that competition is necessarily the opposite of that.
I have worked for 10 years helping local, provincial and federal governments in Europe implement e-government solutions. Some countries have implemented a government-run county-wide benchmark, showing which cities/organizations do best and worst. These benchmarks have an enormous (positive) effect on e-government awareness within those organizations.
First of all: nobody wants to be at the bottom of a list. Thus, it helps putting e-government on the agenda of the Mayor and Council. Also organizations in the top 20% tend to keep investing or freeing up even more budget for their E-Government plans. It also is a great way for Mayor and Council to expose themselves to the public.
As a side effect, governmental organizations showed much more sharing and collaboration. After all, governments are not competitors. So if a city has great experience with say Twitter, the webmaster of surrounding cities tend to contact him sooner. As long if it is not measured, people can’t learn or benefit from it.
Implementing a country-wide benchmark for local, provincial and federal governments in Canada would dramatically improve things. I have seen it happen over and over again.
November 4, 2009 at 6:24 pm #84083
I guess I see co-operation and competition as opposites, but they both come into play. People co-operate even when they’re being competitive, because it’s in their best interests (or perhaps it’s natural to also be co-operative). I just think there is too much competition around, and we would be much better off by encouraging co-operating with each other rather than competing with the other.
Did a benchmark improve things because of the competitive impulse to try to meet the standard, or because there was suddenly more focus on a specific area than there was prior to the benchmark being promoted (and so efforts were made to meet the standard, which very well could have been largely co-operative)?
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