Main Functions of E-Government: Analysis and Legal Comparison

K. Samsonova, a 4th year student/School of Governance and Politics

Abstract: The question of implementing e-Government as a way of creating better public services is being considered today. Governments worldwide are faced with many challenges of transformation and the need to reinvent government systems in order to provide very efficient and effective services, knowledge and, of course, information through digital technologies. It is necessary to highlight the pros and cons of this development of information and communication technologies that catalyzed and led up to e-Government.

Keywords: e-government, digital administration, public services, bureaucracy, top-down control, adminisrtative system, legal authorities, corruption.

The waves of e-Government are rising through public administration across the globe. More and more governments are using information and communication technology to provide services between government agencies and citizens, businesses, employees and other nongovernmental agencies. But “What is e-Government?”

E-Government is a special way for governments to use the most innovative information communication technologies, particularly web-based Internet applications, to provide citizens and businesses with more convenient access to government information and services, to improve the quality of the services and to provide greater opportunities to participate in democratic institutions and processes.

One of the most important aspects of e-Government is how it brings citizens and businesses closer to their governments. Furthermore, the main aim of e-Government, therefore, is to provide efficient dissemination and management of information to citizens; and empowerment of the people through access to information and participation in public and policy decision-making.

However, to envisage e-Government comprehensively, it is necessary to outline the main functions of e-Government and legal analysis, which imply the following importance and benefits of the system.

Firstly, successful implementation of e-Government practices offer better delivery of services to citizens, improved interactions with business and industry, citizen empowerment through access to information, better management, greater convenience, revenue growth, cost reductions etc. An e-government service also creates social benefits for the citizens of a country. For countries that have a widely dispersed population an e-government service allows the citizens situated in remote areas to have access to the same services that citizens within the major cities would enjoy.

Secondly, since the information regarding every activity of government is easily available, it would make every government department responsible as they know that every action of theirs is closely controlled.

Thirdly, this revolutionizes the way governments function, ensuring much more transparency in the functioning, thereby eliminating corruption and bureaucracy, strengthening the very fabric of democracy by providing greater citizen participation at all levels of governance.

The development of e-Government in Russia began with the adoption of the Federal target programme “Electronic Russia (2002-2010)” in 2002. The administrative system of the Russian Federation is characterized by rigid top-down control. In such a system all orders comes from the top down with, as a rule, lack of feedback, horizontal coordination and local initiatives. In this system, until recently, the opinion of citizens and businesses did not play any significant role. Observations over recent years show that the vast majority of major legislation in the field of e-government was developed and submitted for approval to the legislature by the executive authorities – responsible ministries (Ministries of Economic Development and of Telecommunications). There is no doubt, that the obvious conclusion is that one of the most important factors determining the direction and results of e-Government development in Russia is legal authorities and the decisions of executive bodies, alongside with the international rankings. Logically, if one of the important goals is the position in a rating and the other motivators are not very strong, then there is a natural desire to improve precisely those characteristics that are evaluated during the surveys.

If seen in the light of the Russian case, a negative effect of rankings on the formation of national e-government development plans exists, therefore, it may also exist in other countries, but the lack of attention to citizen and businesses' interests can make the results of the ranking meaningless.

The future e-Government should be an open platform to generate dialogue: power—society and identified with democracy. To do this, the countries, especially Russia, must develop material and technical infrastructure to use the latest software developments, to overcome the resistance of the bureaucracy, not wanting to work in the new environment and to exclude additional opportunities for corruption.


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