UNU-EGOV attended the 25th NISPAcee Annual Conference on Innovation Governance in the Public Sector (18-20 May 2017 in Kazan, Russia) with a paper presentation authored by Morten Meyerhoff Nielsen. The paper, entitled “Citizen use of government eServices: Comparing use, governance and cooperation models in Estonia and Georgia”, won the Best Comparative award at the conference. Recent literature reviews highlight a limited understanding of technology use in public service delivery and the role played by governance, inter-governmental decision making and cooperation when introducing ICT solutions and online services to citizens.
As part of a larger qualitative, multi-country comparison in the Electronic Governance for Context-Specific Public Service Delivery project and a PhD at Tallinn University of Technology, this paper compares the Estonian and Georgian approaches to e-Governance and inter-governmental cooperation. Public sector use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in Estonia and Georgia is regularly highlighted as innovative models worth emulating. Despite this, research into the two countries’ governance and inter-governmental cooperation model is limited in the Estonian case (most being 5-10 years old), while practically non-existent for Georgia.
The analysis finds that the two cases support academic arguments in favour of a strong e-Governance model and a high level of inter-governmental cooperation and decision making. Indeed, initial findings highlight the strength of a politically driven and motivated public sector modernisation, a consensus seeking and an inter-governmental approach to e-Government, trust between actors, the role of informal networks, and the cooperation with the private sector. While successful in relation to ICT infrastructure, standards, roll-out to key enablers and e-Services, the paper identifies risks to be addressed in both countries to progress further, including the potential benefits of formalising informal networks and streamlining the governance model to minimize the risk of failure if consensus cannot be reached, or if personal and institutional contacts and capacities does not exist.
In addition, the Ulyanovsk regional government (Russian Federation) participated in a pilot research project to reduce administrative barriers (Electronic Governance for Administrative Burden Reduction) in the form of the discussion of the regional management initiative of the Ulyanovsk region. The UNU-EGOV experts’ proposals on the implementation of the regional management initiative will be reflected in the respective road map.