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Journal Article

A Public Value Evaluation of e‑Government Policies  pp61-72

Walter Castelnovo, Massimo Simonetta

© Jun 2008 Volume 11 Issue 2, Editor: Dan Remenyi, pp51 - 108

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Abstract

Public Administration aims at producing value for citizens; the use of ICTs to improve government and governance, as implied by e‑Government, can be considered as a means to increase the public value produced by Public Administration. As a consequence, the policies for e‑Government can be evaluated according to their ability to increase the Public Administration capacity of producing public value, both for citizens as users and citizens as operators of Public Administration. In the first case, the policies for e‑Government can be evaluated with respect to the quality of the services delivered to citizens; in the latter case they can be evaluated with respect to their ability to improve the system of Public Administration. In this paper, we describe a public value evaluation of two different systems of support to e‑Government projects implemented in Lombardy Region (Italy). Both systems support Small Local Government Organizations that set up aggregations in order to implement innovation projects. The two systems we will consider concern the funding for e‑ Government projects according to the Italian National Action Plan for e‑Government and the Regional Government funding for the implementation of Inter‑organizational Information Systems for Local Government (SISCoTEL). Considering the stability in time, the attractivity and the level of trust within the funded aggregations as indicators of public value (considered from an internal point of view), in the paper we will use data concerning the Local Government in Lombardy to compare the two supporting models according to their capacity to set up aggregations that are stable, attractive and that could strengthen the level of trust among the partners. In section 1 we will describe some of the actions currently in use in Italy to support the spread of E‑Government at a local level. In section 2 we will describe the models for supporting innovation implemented in the National Action Plan for e‑ Government and in the Regional Plan for the activation of SISCoTELs. In section 3 we will compare the main characteristics of the two supporting models. Finally, in section 4 we will evaluate the two models, from a public value point of view, with respect to their capacity to strengthen the cooperation among Local Government organizations.

 

Keywords: e-Government, public value, local government, inter-municipal cooperation

 

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Journal Article

IT Outsourcing in the Public Sector: Experiences Form Local Government  pp193-203

Michael Cox, Martyn Roberts, John Walton

© Sep 2011 Volume 14 Issue 2, ICIME 2011, Editor: Ken Grant, pp167 - 281

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Abstract

This paper examines the approach taken to Information Technology (IT) outsourcing in four local government councils in the UK. This is important because, whilst outsourcing has become a significant issue in the restructuring of organisations and is increasingly used within both the private and public sectors, there has been a lack of research into IT outsourcing in the public sector and particularly within local government. This paper provides an in‑depth study into how outsourcing is managed in local councils and how successful it has been; especially considering its sometimes controversial nature and the mixed press results it receives. To complete this study, interviews, containing both qualitative and quantitative questions, were conducted with key people at the four councils. These interviews examined the rationale for IT outsourcing. The findings from the interviews were then compared to the current literature on IT outsourcing to identify best practice. This research shows that, whilst cost savings remain important, councils focus on achieving best value when outsourcing IT rather than simply lowest cost. Indeed, it shows that whilst outsourcing can result in improved efficiency, councils that focus primarily on cost savings are often less successful. However, whilst the results revealed that IT outsourcing was more successful at councils who focused on long‑term strategic goals, the interviewees considered the strategic benefits of outsourcing less important than improving the service. The structured selection process that is imposed by legislation allows council managers to gain a better understanding of the outsourcing requirements and make informed decisions to achieve best value, however the need for cost efficiency can result in a more short‑term focus. The cost of the process and its inflexibility makes it more difficult for councils to focus on long‑term goals. The study concludes that, whilst councils recognise that both the contract and trust are important to ensure that outsourcing is successful, the culture of risk aversion in the public sector tends to lead to a play it safe mentality resulting in an overemphasis on the contract. This can lead to a short‑term focus that could make it difficult for the council and the provider to work together to meet long‑term goals. The councils were generally skeptical of developing partnerships; however, the research reveals that councils who focused predominantly on the contract were less successful than those who developed partnerships with their providers. The authors therefore recommend that, in order to achieve greater success, councils should develop partnerships and focus on best value and long‑term strategic goals when outsourcing IT.

 

Keywords: Information Technology, IT, Information Systems, IS, outsourcing, public sector, local government

 

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Journal Article

IT Outsourcing in the Public Sector Local Government: Experiences of the management and selection of IT service providers.  pp231-243

Michael Cox, Martyn Roberts, John Walton

© Nov 2012 Volume 15 Issue 3, ICIME, Editor: Dan Remenyi, pp230 - 287

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Abstract

Abstract: This paper looks at issues in Information Technology (IT) outsourcing in public sector local government in the UK, to determine how successful they have been and to establish any best practice. This is important because, whilst outsourcing has become a significant issue in the restructuring of organisations and is increasingly used within both the private and public sectors, there has been a lack of research into IT outsourcing in the public sector and particularly within local government. Thi s paper provides an in‑depth study into how outsourcing is managed in local councils and how successful it has been; especially considering its sometimes controversial nature and the mixed press results it receives. This paper focuses in particular on an analysis of the risks of IT outsourcing and the management of the outsourcing contract. The research shows that a thorough risk assessment must be completed before an outsourcing contract is agreed. Local government tends to adopt a very cautious approach to outsourcing based on risk minimisation. Hidden costs are one of the greatest risks when outsourcing. Hidden costs occur in selection, managing the contract, and making changes to the contract, all of which can offset any cost savings identified at the start of the outsourcing contract. The research shows that local councils recognise the importance of the contract and that it has the largest single impact on the success or failure of the outsourcing agreement. Having a well written contract is necessa ry to minimise the risks posed by outsourcing. However, the local government bodies recognised that it is impossible to cover every detail in the contract, particularly where needs are fluctuating, and that an element of trust is required to manage the co ntract successfully. The research suggests that contracts need to be strict enough to motivate the provider but should be realistic and achievable so that they do not inhibit the development of a working relationship. The paper also addresses issues in th e selection of outsourcing providers and more recent developments since the new UK governments austerity programme The study concludes that, whilst councils recognise that both the contract and trust are important to ensure that outsourcing is successful , the culture of risk aversion in the public sector tends to lead to a play it safe mentality resulting in an overemphasis on the contract. This can lead to a short‑term focus that could make it difficult for the council and the provider to work togethe r to meet long‑term goals. The councils were generally skeptical of developing partnerships; however, the research reveals that councils who focused predominantly on the contract were less successful than those who developed partnerships with their provid ers. The authors therefore recommend that, in order to achieve greater success, councils should develop partnerships and focus on best value and long‑term strategic goals when outsourcing IT.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Information Technology, IT, Information Systems, IS, outsourcing, public sector, local government

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 12 Issue 1, ECIME 2008 / Jan 2009  pp1‑118

Editor: Dan Remenyi

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Keywords: benefits realisation, clinical trials, data integrity, decision making, e-government, ERP, evaluation process, evaluation results, evaluation use, government policy, ICT adoption, information and communications technology (ICT), inter-municipal cooperation, interpretative evaluation methodology, IS evaluation, IS failures, KPI, local government, NHS, organisational and personal trust, organisational goals, outsourcing, principal agent theory, public value, skills, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), software development

 

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