Abstract: The use of electronic communications technology within the developing world context brings forth challenges that may potentially unleash the power of society by fostering networking amoung experts and their organisations. The subject of this paper is a particular form of networking, that of building associations among civil servants involved in public administration reform. The inception of one such association, GOVERNET, an administrative reform network is explored in the context of public administration reform in Africa. This paper concludes with insight into the salient issues driving this form of networking.
Abstract: In two articles See: Chain‐computerisation for better privacy protection, p. 95 of this issue. the author presents some key elements from his recently completed thesis about functional, non‐intrusive information infrastructures for interorganisational public policy implementation. The development of these information infrastructures requires a new approach, chain‐computerisation, based on new concepts and practices. This methodology is vital for public administration, if the problems associated with interorganisational policy implementation are to be overcome. Chain‐computerisation recognises the impossibility in many interorganisational settings of implementing government policy, because no single organisational actor has authority over the system. Thus, for example, a Dutch…requirement that prisoners serving longer prison sentences must notify the Benefits system so that benefit paid can be adjusted, cannot be enforced because this multi‐agency setting is too complex to allow adequate co‐ordinated control. What is needed is an informational solution which automatically signals to the Imprisonment system that a prisoner is receiving benefits. Such highly automated communication systems can also protect privacy, in this particular example by signalling that a note must be sent by the prisoner to his benefit agency rather than by triggering enforcement by the Imprisonment system without the prisoner concerned knowing it. See: Chain‐computerisation for better privacy protection, p. 95 of this issue. This methodology can be seen as emerged from “lessons learned” during the period that the author was responsible for the development of information policies at the Dutch Ministry of Justice. Chain‐computerisation is explained here by means of examples taken from the penal and social welfare systems, but it should be emphasized that the methodology of chain‐computerisation can be applied to many other situations where public policy is to be implemented by close co‐operation of many autonomous public and private organisations.
Abstract: This is the second1 of a series of two articles in which the author presents some key elements from his recently completed thesis about functional, non‐intrusive information infrastructures for interorganisational public policy implementation. The development of these information infrastructures requires a new approach – chain‐computerisation – based on new concepts and practices. This methodology is vital for public administration if the problems associated with interorganisational policy implementation are to be overcome. Chain‐computerisation recognises the impossibility in many interorganisational settings of implementing government policy, because no single organisational actor has authority over the system. The methodology of chain‐computerisation can be…applied to many situations where public policy is to be implemented under close co‐operation between many autonomous public and private organisations. The first article gave a brief description of the new approach, chain‐computerisation, on the basis of some examples. The emphasis was placed on the management aspect: the streamlining of information exchange within and between value chains. In this second article the emphasis is placed on the social significance of chain‐computerisation, which brings about information infrastructures with which privacy and anonymous legal transactions can better be supported. System concepts for the organisational border‐transgressing exchange of information are not merely a question of technology, but also determine the quality of the information society through the way in which the computerisation of society takes place. It is for this reason that policy makers will have to involve themselves more in those system concepts. To them, the new chain‐computerisation approach incorporates an alternative to traditional system concepts. This alternative at the same time clarifies implicit social choices in the traditional system concepts. It will be clear that the examples used here reflect the legal context of the Netherlands or the European Union, but the insights described can also be applied to other governmental and legal cultures.
Abstract: In this article we focus on information systems (IS) in Japanese government. We concentrate on the nature of IS‐use and the major challenges faced for the future path of IS‐use in local government. The governments have low budgets for IS use, a low penetration rate, and almost no IS use in the communication with citizens, companies, other departments, or inside the organizations. Impacts are accordingly restricted to mainly conventional IS applications such as word processing, accounting, and taxation. However, local governments and national governments are determined to increase their utilization and we have found emerging visible signs of these changes…such as one‐stop shopping, tele‐access to governmental information, digital libraries, office automation, etc. We identify four major challenges facing local governments: (1) rebuilding the organizational content, procedures, and frontier; (2) using IS applications to support intra‐ and interorganizational communication; (3) developing a clear IS‐strategy with respect to goals, means, time‐span and evaluation; and (4) having politicians supporting the IS strategy.