The Comptroller and Auditor General published a Special Report on eGovernment in late 2007. This report resulted in a renewed emphasis on achieving progress in this increasingly important area. A wide range of measures aimed at renewing the focus on eGovernment have been introduced since then and CMOD in the Department Public Expenditure and Reform has been charged with responsibility for coordinating the development of eGovernment policy. Key measures were aimed at developing proper eGovernment plans (including issuing an eGovernment Advisory note), setting specific targets, strengthening reporting arrangements and improving Ireland’s standing in the EU Commission’s eGovernment Benchmarks.
Initially, these measures were set out in Department of Finance Circular 6/09 in early 2009 and were reinforced and expanded in eGovernment Strategy 2010, issued in December 2009, which was centred on three key goals:
- Enhanced Information Provision – information about all services will be improved;
- Enhanced Electronic Delivery of Services – the online delivery of services by all public bodies will be improved and every effort will be made to eliminate the need for non-online channels; and,
- Enhanced Use of Shared Approaches – the public service will seek to make as much use as is feasible of shared approaches in the achievements of the above goals.
eGovernment Strategy 2010 also acknowledged barriers to progress, identified approaches to be used by public bodies in delivering improvements and overcoming barriers, and set out implementation steps supporting the strategy.
Definition of eGovernment
eGovernment projects can be organisation-specific, cross-organisational, sector specific or cross-sectoral. However, eGovernment is difficult to define with many different definitions in the public domain. Nevertheless, it is important to have a common “working definition” to guide public bodies in developing focus and priorities. In summary, eGovernment refers to the provision of information and services to the public or other bodies using information and communications technologies such as the Internet or mobile computing. It also refers to improving internal processes that, in turn, improve information and service provision. A more detailed “working definition” is set out here. It is expected that this definition will change over time as opportunities and priorities develop.