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10/06/10 Civic Technology , Digital Government

From Gov 1.0 to Gov 2.0: A change in users, too

A study based on Eurostat data on ICT usage among individuals in Italy demonstrates that current Web 2.0 users are not interested in eGovernment, while eGovernment users are reluctant to be involved in Gov 2.0 initiatives. A change of paradigm is needed to evolve from Gov 2.0 for policy wonks to large scale participation.

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p class=”paragraph_style_5″>The figure below summarizes one of the main findings of the Report on Digital Divide among households in Italy commissioned by the Italian Parliament and co-funded by all the major telecom companies operating in the country (see this Abstract of Chapter 2 in English, or the full report in Italian). Using data from Eurostat (year 2008), the study classifies the users according to a number of Internet activities that they had performed in the last 3 months. 
Users tend to cluster into three main groups:

• the first group (in light green) tends to carry out quite traditional web activities, such as on-line banking, information search or eGovernment
• the second (in darker green) tries out new technologies mainly devoted to communication and the web 2.0, i.e. blogging, social networks, on-line gaming, listening to streaming music, etc.
• the third (in red) is composed of occasional users who did not do any of the activities considered in the last 3 months

Looking at the personal characteristics of the people belonging to the various groups, the data shows that age still plays a very important role, following a pattern that could be thought of as a ‘digital circle of life’ (purple line). Internet users, while starting this virtual cycle among the occasional users when very young, tend to move to the innovation adopters group at 16 to 25 years old, and then join the traditional group once they reach middle age. The circle is eventually closed by virtue of the fact that senior people belong to the occasional users group. As expected, the level of education (blue line) is also positively correlated to the use of the Internet, but the arrows are pointing right to center of the web 1.0 cluster.

Today, who is Gov 2.0 for?
Once again data shows that, on average, digital natives seem to maintain the monopoly of web 2.0, while traditional and bureaucratic on line services are generally used by completely different people, namely well-educated persons in their 30s or 40s.
The difference from 1.0 and 2.0 users is even more dramatic considering e-government services. People who download public forms or use advanced on line services (“sending filled in forms”, in Eurostat vocabulary) are represented in the chart at the exact opposite of blogs creators. They are different users, having different habits and showing completely different ways to use the Internet. Gov 1.0 users do on-line banking, read newspapers on line, etc. Maybe they have responsibilities, have to pay taxes, find a new job and so on, but are probably not used to Twitter, Ning or Second Life. On the contrary, Web 2.0 people are younger and just want to communicate and play.
A tremendous change in service design is necessary to meet the needs of web 2.0 people without leaving traditional users behind; a change of paradigm in fact. New services have to be co-designed with 2.0 kind of users, and a hacker mentality has to be promoted to loose the boundaries between institutional bodies and society.
But today who is Gov 2.0 really for? David Osimo thinks that the existing initiatives are just for elitists – designed, he says quoting the New York Times, for Lisa Simpson, not for Bart – and that new tools are needed in order to involve him, i.e. to enable large-scale participation. Using the Simpsons to interpret the Eurostat data, Bart would be – well… he actually is! – a teenager probably just not interested in political participation and eGovernment services, or at least not yet. He would know how to use 2.0 tools to interact with Government, but he prefers to “play networked games with others” or to download illegal content on peer-to-peer networks. And Lisa, where is she in the chart? Data shows what is happening on average, and Lisa is therefore not considered. In fact, she is absolutely an exception: she is politically involved, she cares about policies (a policy wonk, someone said), while having the media literacy to be 2.0.
Time is probably going to help this. It is reasonable to expect that, as the digital natives get older and new commodities and tools such as the iPad spread, more Barts are going be turned into Lisas, and the hacker/wonk mentality will eventually become more widespread. In the meantime, as Alberto points out, it is better to be ruled by a few Lisas than by Mr. Burns.

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15/04/10 Digital Government

e-Government Policies in Search of Coordination

e-Government Policies in Search of Coordination
Coordination between national and local policies is one of the key requirements of back office interoperability, joined-up services, Gov 2.0 initiatives. The post analyzes the delicate interaction between national and regional e-government policies in Italy from the 1990s to the present day.

Effective coordination and collaboration, both across different sectors (health care, transportation, education, etc.) and tiers of government (national or federal, regional, local), is widely recognized as one of the key requirements of advanced e-government implementation. At a back office level, coordination enables, for example, inter-agency data interoperability and sharing – including better-informed decision-making – and smarter public procurement through the aggregation of public ICT demand. At a front office level, information sharing allows the realization of so-called joined-up or seamless services, often delivered by local authorities, but linked to processes or data from higher levels of government. New flows of interoperable public data can also fuel government 2.0 initiatives, extending the sharing of information not only to other government organizations, but also to the public as active participants and services co-designer.

It is quite evident that policy design has a major role in supporting this process. E-government and ICT strategies should consider the coordination between central and local initiatives as the key factor preventing duplication of efforts and waste of public money, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. A common policy framework is needed to ensure the compliance of local initiatives with national strategic objectives, to strengthen the structures dedicated to policy governance, to develop common standards, to exchange good practices and to support the weakest local administrations in managing technical and organizational change. Indeed, ensuring that no local agency is left behind is a worthwhile public goal both from an efficiency and equity point of view.
Clearly, coordination is particularly needed in presence of a highly fragmented government structure, which means complex governance. In this regard, Italy represents a good case. Italian agencies directly involved in the delivery of e-government services are more than 10 thousand: they include the ministries and other central public organizations and their local divisions, 21 regional governments, 109 provinces, more than 8,000 municipalities, plus hundreds of other local institutions such as local health care authorities, park authorities, etc.

In such a scenario, the regional level has usually been considered as the ideal scale for policy intervention on these topics (actually, the debate is always open and the matter quite complex). Furthermore, after the reform of the Italian Constitution in 2001, regional governments have experienced greater autonomy on various matters (e.g. health care), which were devolved from central government to regional administrations, and are now playing a central role in defining innovation policy priorities. Today the great majority of the ICT investments in Italy are funded by regional budgets. Nevertheless, the role of the national government remains pivotal because it can promote political commitment, common strategies, technical standards and a shared policy framework.

The following sections briefly examine the delicate interaction between national and regional e-government policies in Italy from the 1990s to the present day.

First phase, 1993-2000: ‘pioneering’

At the national level, from 1993 to 2000 the actors charged with decision-making on ICT and the public sector were the Authority for IT in the Public Administration (AIPA) and the Minister of Public Administration. The AIPA – transformed in CNIPA (National Centre for IT in the Public Administration) in 2003 and than in DigitPA in 2009 – is a technical body with autonomy and scrutiny independence that, together with the Ministry of Public Administration shared some early competences over strategies and technical support in the development of information systems within the central administration. In the late nineties the Ministry launched a series of reforms towards efficiency and transparency of the public administration, which started to consider the ICTs as a carrier of modernization.
At the local level, no formal regional plan were conceived until 1999. In the second half of the nineties the first ‘civic networks’ were created in medium-sized municipalities – traditionally the most innovative and efficient – by the pioneers of e-government, who often were just individual enthusiastic civil servants with a technological background.

Second phase, 2001-2005: ‘a shared vision’

With the change of government in charge, a Ministry of Innovation and Technology was created.  While the most advanced regions were drafting their e-government and information society plans, the Minister, together with the CNIPA, had the role of coordinating the implementation of the National e-government Action Plan (2001).  The first phase of the plan culminated in a major bid for developing local public on line services (worth €472 million of national funding), through which about a hundred pilot projects were co-funded by the central government with more than 5.000 local agencies involved. The CNIPA was responsible for project selection and in-itinere evaluation, experimenting a result-driven funding. Overall, the implementation of the action plan has been characterized by a reasonably good level of collaboration between national and local levels and the importance of the inter-agency cooperation was explicitly documented in the national policies for the first time. In 2003, a document entitled A shared vision, a cooperative implementation (L’e-government per un federalismo efficiente: una visione condivisa, una realizzazione cooperativa) was approved by the Conferenza Unificata, a cooperation body representing the State, the Regions and the other local governments.

Other organizational bodies dedicated to inter-institutional coordination (all created in 2002) included a Permanent Commission for e-government (Commissione permanente) composed by the Ministry and the Presidents of the Regions, two Permanent Committees (Comitati permanenti) with the representatives of the Municipalities and the Provinces, a Joint Table for e-government (Tavolo Congiunto Permanente) composed by the Minister of Innovation, the Regions, the Provinces, the Comunità Montane (associations of municipalities located in mountain areas) and the central administrations involved in the Action Plan.

In 2002 a network of technical bodies was created for each region: the Regional Competence Centers for e-government (CRC), working teams designed to support the developing of e-government projects in local administrations. Collaboration between the Ministry and the Regions was facilitated by the presence of one or more representatives of both institutions in each regional team, while a central staff in Rome was assisting regional bodies in pursuing common goals and ensuring the comparability of the data collection activities that every CRC carried out to support decision-making.

Third phase, 2006-2008: ‘regional leadership’

Once the first phase of the Action Plan was completed, a change of national government occurred.  The Minister of Public Administration inherited the powers of the Minister of Innovation and Technology, in order to better integrate the actions towards the diffusion offront office e-government services with those towards the back office re-engineering. In 2006 a new commission of the Conferenza unificata was set up: the Permanent Commission on technological innovation in the regions and local administrations.

In those years, the Minister of Regional Affairs also launched a second parallel national program for local e-government called ‘Elisa’, worth about €40 million of national co-funding, while the main action carried out by the CNIPA within the second phase of the Action Plan was the creation of the Alliances for Innovation (Alleanze per l’Innovazione), technical shared centers providing e-government services for small municipalities and co-financed by the central government.

A lower investment from the national level compared with the resources programmed in the previous years, together with a series of delays in implementing and coordinating the second phase of the national Action Plan, increased the role of regional policies in the whole implementation of e-government in Italy. This caused, especially in the Centre-North, afragmentation of local initiatives and, in the South, a much stronger weight of the Regional Cohesion Policy in defining strategies and policy priorities. Indeed, European Structural Funds and the National Under-utilized Area Funds (FAS) have been the main (often the only) source of funding for promoting the information society in the South of Italy, with more than €1.2 billion of total funding dedicated to e-government development in the 2000-2006 programming period. An additional €1 billion is programmed for the 2007-2013 period (Structural Funds only).

Fourth phase, from 2009 onwards: ‘one-to-one coordination’

In January 2009 the new Minister of Public Administration launched the national plan ‘e-gov 2012’.  The plan covers 27 strategic objectives and 80 different initiatives and has suffered from a shortage of financial resources due to the particular condition of Italian public finance after the crisis, though €1.4 billion has been planned to be utilized over five years.  E-gov 2012 is mainly focused on the digitalization of central government; however, some initiatives must be implemented in cooperation with the local government, e.g. the integration of the municipal registers with the real estate cadastral system and the regional topographic database.

Even if the previous bodies dedicated to central-local cooperation remain active, the cooperation between national and local governments has been realized mostly through the signing of several protocols of understanding between the Department of Innovations in the Public Administration, representing the Minister, and each single local government.  According to the e-gov 2012 official web site, to date 23 protocols have been signed with local administrations (4 regions, 5 provinces and 16 municipalities).

The regions’ need to converge upon a common framework gave rise to the proposal of a plan named e-gov 2010, approved by the Inter-regional Center for IT, Statistical and Geographical Systems (CISIS) in March 2009. The plan, originally conceived as an anti-crisis measure, put at the centre of regional policy inter-regional cooperation in order to prevent the duplication of the technological platforms, solutions and services developed at the local level.

In April 2009 a protocol of understanding between the Minister and the Conferenza delle Regioni e Province Autonome, another body representing the Italian Regions, is aimed at fostering a constant dialogue through the creation of permanent links between the two levels of government.  A similar document has been signed with ANCI, the National Association of Italian Municipalities, introducing more concrete actions such as the promotion of the certified e-mail and the national projects Linea Amica (a unified call-center of the whole Public Administration) and Reti Amiche (aimed at improving the delivery of public services by multiplying the access points, e.g. the involvement of banks and tobacconists).

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02/03/10 Civic Technology , Open Policy

Open data and Structural Funds

European Cohesion Policy has always paid special attention to transparency. Today all European Regions publish lists of beneficiaries of Structural Funds as required by the Council regulations.  But only a part of this data is in a machine-readable and reusable format.  Italian region of Calabria represents a good exception.

As the current debate on ‘government 2.0’ focuses on accessing public information as a way to foster open government and transparency, the availability of public data is becoming crucial for an effective delivery of new user-generated services. According to the last Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment, approved in November 2009, new demand-led information products and services enabled by the reuse of public sector information will support the transition of Europe to a knowledge-based economy.
In this regard, great importance is attributed to the formats in which this data is published. It is universally recognized that a web page (i.e. HTML code) or a PDF file is not enough. To allow mash-up or geo-referencing, data should be machine-readable, preferably in open, standard and reusable formats such as XML, RDF, CSV (see for example WC3 guidelines).

The European Cohesion Policy has always paid attention to the transparency issues related to the vast amount of public resources that have been assigned to the European Regions.
According to Article 69 of the Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 of 11 July 2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999, the Member States and the Managing Authority for the operational programme shall provide information on and publicise operations and co-financed programmes. The information shall be addressed to European Union citizens and beneficiaries with the aim of highlighting the role of the Community and ensuring that assistance from the Funds is transparent.

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To fulfill Article 69 of the Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006, Managing Authorities of the programmes co-financed by Structural Funds have to draw up a Communication Plan aiming at:

  • improving communication through the implementation of community actions more visible and close to citizens in order to increase the general consent on the future EU policies
  • guaranteeing more transparency through more efficient, transparent and accessible European institutions open to public control
  • closing the gap between EU institutions and citizens through the improvement of the dialogue and listening.

Consequently all direct beneficiaries (the public or private bodies or firms responsible for commissioning operations or, in cases of aid schemes, the bodies that grant the aid) must be published by the Managing Authorities under the rules governing the implementation of the 2007-2013 funds (EC No 1828/2006). The information must contain the name of the beneficiary, the names of the operations and the amount of public funding allocated to the operations.
From this page of Inforegio web site (DG Regio of European Commission) it is possible to access to the lists of projects and beneficiaries published in the web sites of the Regional Operative Programmes and of the Regional Managing Authorities.
As reported in the table below, currently most of these lists are provided in HTML tables or can be downloaded as PDF files, making them difficult to export to Excel or other applications and connect them to different databases for a more detailed analysis.

 

The Calabria project database

A good example of how this data should be published is the project database of Italian Region of Calabria, accessible online through the web site Calabria Europa.

To date, the database includes more than 32,000 projects; for each project the following information is reported:

  1. the name of the project

  2. the name of the final beneficiary

  3. the owner of the process

  4. the territory where the beneficiary is located

  5. the type of funds (ERDF, ESF, etc) and the Operational Programme

  6. the amounts allocated

  7. the amounts paid out

Through an interactive interface and an advanced search, users can look for specific projects, territories where the project impacts, Operational Programmes, measures, or expenditure categories and then to export the results in CSV format.  It is also possible to visualize the data in terms of statistics, graphs and figures, and then export to a PDF.  This tool is also used to report on the state of play and implementation levels of the policies funded, not only by the Structural Funds, but also by national funds such as the FAS (Under-utilized Area Funds). The tool includes data about the programming periods 2000-2006 and 2007-2013.

The most interesting feature is the search for a single municipal territory, which gives the opportunity, once exported to a CSV file, of geo-referencing the data with the greatest possible detail.  As an example, the map below shows the total amounts allocated in the 2007-13 programming period, displaying the funds only for projects impacting on a single municipality.

CALABRIA_FFSS_cropsreenshot calabriaeuropa

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12/12/09 Civic Technology , Digital Government

Don’t Forget ‘Traditional’ E-Government

While at the European level experts, practitioners and policy-makers are debating the role of the web 2.0 in public services and while most of the advanced OECD countries are delivering policy drafts and reports on the so-called Government 2.0, many Italian local Public Administrations are having difficulty in delivering not only Government 1.0, but in some cases even a beta version.

The Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment, approved in Malmö, Sweden, on 18th November 2009, defines policy priorities to be achieved by 2015:

1. to empower businesses and citizens through eGovernment services and better access to information
2. to facilitate mobility in the single market by seamless eGovernment services
3. to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the Public Administration.

The first objective in particular seems to meet some of the requests of web 2.0 enthusiasts, who are asking for a more active role in terms of co-designing public services and accessing public information; having in mind, for example, a European version of the American data.gov portal, they perceive open collaboration with government as a way to create new user-generated services and foster transparency (see for example the open declaration on the role of web 2.0 in public services).  In this regard, a key passage of the document emphasizes the importance of the availability of public sector information for reuse: “New demand-led information products and services enabled by the reuse of public sector information will support the transition of Europe to a knowledge-based economy”.

bolle2However, from a strict Government 2.0 point of view, the Declaration as a whole is still mainly dedicated to ‘traditional’ eGovernment and, rather than a revolution, it appears to be (frankly, as expected) the result of a compromise between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ way of thinking about innovation in public services, or, perhaps in fairer terms, some sort of ‘step-by-step’ innovation strategy. As Andrea DiMaio pointed out in a recent post, this impression is somehow confirmed by the fact that “the publication of the most recent e-government benchmark, which is the first outcome of the renewed contract between EU and Capgemini, shows a disappointing continuity with the old e-government approach”.

Is this actually bad news for public sector innovators?  Is this ‘new’ and fashionable view of eGovernment the defining solution to the many challenges that European Public Administrations are facing? Yes, in many ways it is; this ‘new’ approach is undoubtedly a step in the right direction and its role in the declaration could definitely have been more significant.  Co-designing of public services and open government, in particular, could force the Government to bring innovation to the next level and even trigger further improvements in efficiency and the effectiveness of Public Administrations.
Obviously, however, this should not be the only solution, at least for Countries of the Eastern and Southern Europe that are still engaged in developing digital infrastructures and delivering most of the basic public services on line.
Italy is certainly part of this club. Far from delivering web 2.0-like services or sharing public databases on the web (with some exceptions, of course), Italian PAs, especially at the local level, still do not have the technological and organizational ability to complete the delivery of a mature e-government transformation even at a “1.0” level, mainly because the italian local administration is fragmented into thousands of independent agencies and there is no efficient national data exchange framework for inter-agency information flows.

The latest data collected at the EU level highlights this gap.  According to the Eurostat chart published on 8th August 2009 in the European Commission Digital Competitiveness Report on i2010 strategy, Italy appears in 22nd position out of 27 Member States for take-up of advanced public services among both citizens and enterprises, i.e. those services that allow the final user to complete a transaction via the web, otherwise called ‘self-services’.  Eurostat statistics show not only an alarmingly low e-readiness rate among Italian young people compared with their counterparts in the rest of Europe, but also specific difficulties when using advanced public services via the web.

While waiting for fun and interactive web 2.0 public services, it is obvious that no take-up is achievable if most Public Administrations fail to deliver their most useful basic services on line. Indeed, the principal determinants of this low take-up rate can be found not only in the demand-side aspects like low broadband penetration among households (steadily lower than the European average) or the high proportion of elderly people normally excluded from digital technologies, but also, even now, in the scarcity of the supply of on-line services.  As stated in the last 2009 CapGemini Report, which has been measuring public services availability since 2005, in 4 years the position of Italy among the other Member States has dropped from 9th position in 2005 to 17th position out of the 27 EU Countries in terms of full on line availability. Those results could be even worse if the sample of the analyzed services were less biased toward those delivered by the central level and therefore easier to design and implement.  The report measurement approach, having to deal with 27 different institutional organizations and therefore to choose only the services that all Member States have in common, includes only a few of those key services that in Italy are only offered at the local level by 8,100 different and independent municipalities, more than a hundred Provinces and 21 Regional Governments.

It is at this level that the situation becomes difficult.  The latest results of the survey on ICT in the public sector by the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) show that, in 2007, only 3% of the local public administrations were able to offer at least one transactional service out of dozens that would be expected.
In the above graph supply and demand of some of the key public on line services are compared. The data on availability of local e-government services is based on the results of the survey by CNIPA and DIT described in a previous post; the chart shows the percentage of individuals living in municipalities that are able to deliver the service on line at least as a downloadable form (stage 2 of the Capgemini classification).   Take-up is described using the last available data by single service from the ISTAT survey on ICT usage among individuals, special module on e-government (2006). The reported usage refers to the number of individuals who have used the the service via the web in the last 3 months, expressed as a percentage of all Internet users over the same period.

It is quite clear that those services with higher take-up values tend to show high availability percentages. In particular, it seems that local Public Administrations need to deliver a service to more than 50% of individuals in order to obtain more than 5% of take-up. Moreover, the ISTAT data reveals that those services with the lowest availability rate show the highest values of potential use. More than 60% of the interviewees, for example, would like to be able to notify moving house if the service were actually available.
In conclusion, this simple exercise may be enough to prove that there is still much to be done in order to achieve full availability of local public eServices in Italy as well as in other less-advanced countries in this field. Those who are concerned about the low eGovernment take-up levels should therefore consider that these levels, in some cases, may be determined just by a scarce availability and quality of the basic on line services.

So the ‘old’ approach to ‘traditional’ eGovernment which is prevalent in the European Declaration might sound outdated but it is, at least in some countries, still a must.

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15/11/09 Digital Government

Local eGovernment in Italy – a Report

Local eGovernment in Italy – a Report

This report has been presented at ForumPA conference in Rome on 13th May 2009. The research is carried out by the staff of the Regional Centers for eGov at CNIPA and funded by Italian Presidency of the Council, Innovation and Technology Dept. The results of the survey show that there is still much to be done in order to achieve full availability of local public eServices in Italy.

Availability and quality

On average, 11.1 out of 43 services included in the survey are actually available to citizens and enterprises in the 1,112 municipal territories with more than 10,000 inhabitants (25.6%).
Only 37% of the services analyzed can be considered real transactions (full electronic case handling), while most of them are merely downloadable forms. This result certainly stresses how difficult is for local P.A. to provide efficient services on line. However that might also reflect the actual behavior of the final user, who might be just looking for information and not requesting the implementation of costly transactional platforms.
Previous studies have shown that interactivity of eServices should not be measured using discrete stages, since it does not really reflect a linear progression from information to transaction. This survey, which detects the simultaneous presence of 10 attributes of the service, helps to assess the overall quality, reflecting the true functioning and usage of each single service. In particular, new dimensions of interactivity are considered, such as the presence of public accessible on line databases (i.e. public libraries catalogues).


eService providers

The survey adopted a user-centered approach in its search for eServices. All public and private websites were surveyed in order to find and analyze the 43 local on line services included in the sample. A significant share of eServices is offered through websites not directly managed by local institutions often considered in previous surveys such as Regional, Provincial and Municipal Administrations. The variety of eServices available might disorient the final users, thereby jeopardizing the web credibility of public websites.
The role of institutional websites of the Italian municipalities – the closest institutions to the final users – is considered crucial by local and national policy makers in order to include the largest possible number of citizens in the development of the Information Society. The data shows that the institutional websites of the municipalities no longer represent the main channel for providing municipal services via the web. Many other local websites have taken their place: 60% of the transactional on line services analyzed are offered by the websites of other public and private organizations such as companies for tax collection, shared offices dedicated to enterprises, portals of e-government projects, regional portals.


“Aggregated” provision

If the actual availability of the services is considered from a user-centered point of view, it becomes evident that those municipal eServices offered in an “aggregated” way – through a single website but directly available to individuals and enterprises operating in more than one municipal territory – show a much higher impact than the solutions developed by individual municipalities. This impact is estimated to be, on average, from 5 times higher for e-government projects websites to 50 times higher in the case of portals handled by Regional Administrations. This result underlines the well known need to avoid duplication, i.e. for the development of similar solutions in similar territorial contexts (there are more than 8,100 municipalities); this drives the requirement for more coordinated actions at Regional and National level.

As a consequence, the services that demonstrate a higher level of availability are regional or provincial services (i.e. job related) or are municipal services provided in an “aggregated” way (i.e. local tax payment).


Digital divide

The number of available services per municipal territory varies from 0 to almost 20 services out of 43, with an average of 11.1. The presence of a large number of territories with few or no available services proves that the implementation of local e-government in Italy is still far from complete.
The report analyses some of the determinants of this digital divide in eServices provision.
• The size of the resident population in the municipal territories does not dramatically influence the number of available services. Even though a correlation exists, the survey found the presence of a number of isolated cases of high performing territories among small or medium-sized municipalities.
• The level of financial independence of the Municipal Administration, since a more autonomous financial regime tends to increase the willingness to invest in innovation, also affects eServices provision.
• Finally, the participation in e-government projects co-funded by the National Government from 2002 to 2007 has undoubtedly helped Local Administration to foster public services provision via the web. Further research is needed to evaluate not only the effectiveness of the connection of those front office platforms to back office processes, but also the long-term financial sustainability of the projects together with the actual take-up and user satisfaction.


Regional models

There is considerable variation in the quality of eServices provision among the municipal territories of the Italian regions. This variation is mainly due to the ability of each Regional Administrations to offer its services on line and to involve and coordinate the other local institutions in shared projects.
Italian Regions also present different models for eServices provision. In some Regions (such as Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Molise and Calabria) the prevailing type of provider is the institutional website of the Municipalities, while in other Regions (such as Liguria, Abruzzo, Basilicata, Marche) the services are offered predominantly at Regional level. The survey revealed that in three regions – namely Abruzzo, Marche and Sardinia – e-government shared portals played a major role in the provision of on line services, largely as a result of the co-funded projects in the 2002-2007 period.

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