Monday, April 28, 2014

Ways to evaluate E-Governance Procedures and problems due to Communication Gap



Evaluation of e-Governance Procedures:

e- Government essentially means use of Information and Communication Technologies in public sector. The concept has gradually evolved from responsive public service delivery which puts importance on quality of services and participation of citizens in the process of governance.  With intensification of public awareness about timely delivery and quality of services being delivered to them, responsibility, credibility and accountability became strategic points of Governance. E-Governance is result of interplay of these reforms.
Highlight of e-Governance is on participation of citizens wherein citizens actively participate in process of Governance. It means that citizens keep participating in process of governance even after elections are over. Participation of citizens may be by means of discussions, debates, opinion forming groups etc. This kind of participation is facilitated by extensive use of IT. Evaluation of effectiveness of e-governance becomes significant in view of investments being made by Governments for its implementation and also because of increasing expectations of the citizens.
There could be several ways of evaluation. One of the ways is ex ante and ex post evaluation.  Ex ante as the name suggests is kind of future evaluation, i.e, under the given set of conditions how the e-Government scheme is going to perform in future, what would be the costs involved, its impacts and benefits, difficulties that could be faced, their solutions etc. this evaluation is generally taken up to justify or otherwise, implementation of project. Ex post on the other hand assesses impact and other outcomes of implementation.
Another way of evaluation is formative and summative evaluation. Formative evaluation is done during formative phases to assess progress or lack of it whereas summative evaluation done after project is completed to assess its impact.
Further there is distinction in the ways to evaluate such as goal based evaluation, goal free evaluation, and criteria based evaluation.
Further, evaluation could be based on levels such as macro/societal level, sector level, organizational level, application level, stakeholder level.

Problems in e-Governance due to communication gaps:

In e-Government projects, there may be cases where e-Governance procedures are not user friendly and User Centric Designs (UCD) are not applied. This situation occurs in three situations;
First, when there is gap between policy formulation and development of project to implement it. It is observed that when policies are formed, they are seldom prepared with a view of usability. As a result of which usability aspect is somewhat left behind.
Second, when there are many teams working on different aspects of a single project such as one team evaluating the needs of citizens, another team is preparing policy and yet another team implementing it. In such a situation there could be gap in communication and hence User Centric Design may not be achieved.
There could be a third situation when there is a mismatch between Government objectives and citizen’s objectives. In those conditions, focus is not on citizens but on the process itself.

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