Electronic Government Research in the UK – A roadmap towards implementation of e-Governments
Submitting InstitutionBrunel University
Unit of AssessmentBusiness and Management Studies
Summary Impact TypeSocietal
Research Subject Area(s)
Information and Computing Sciences: Information Systems
Studies In Human Society: Policy and Administration
Summary of the impact
In a drive to improve efficiency and to increase user participation,
local authorities have been set eGovernment targets and priorities by
central Government. However, limited resources, conflicting priorities and
internal political pressure have resulted in a lack of focus when it comes
to implementing such changes and progress towards achieving e-Government
has a) been slower than expected and b) had less impact than anticipated.
Research undertaken at Brunel broadened knowledge of e-Government and
delivered these benefits:
- A stakeholder-agreed structure/framework defining all relevant
- Defined and agreed details of e-Government terminology
- Full recommendations for an integrated e-Government programme
- Priorities for e-Government research
The research created a body of knowledge that enabled delivery of novel
and effective change and is contributing to making the UK a world leader
Widely perceived as fundamental to the reform, modernisation and
improvement of public services, e-"Profound changes [are needed] to the
way Government is concerned with how a government Government works...
Electronic service employs digital technology to communicate with the
delivery [eGovernment] will be a key sourcecitizens, businesses,
organisations and its own of innovation" employees. Rt Hon Tony Blair
MP, Prime Minister (2000)
Two Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) funded
projects were instrumental in identifying and further developing a
multi-disciplinary research agenda for e-Government in the UK. The
research focussed on stakeholders' needs and motivation; analysed and
classified the requirements, drivers, benefits, drawbacks and obstacles
and thus provided a sound basis for the evolution of the e-Government
eco-system. The projects used a workshop-based approach followed by a
combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis.
The first project, Network for eGovernment Integration and Systems
Evaluation (e-GISE, a Global Uncertainties
accredited research award), started on 1st November 2004
and formally ended on 31st Oct 2007. A follow-on project, "Virtual
Institute for Electronic Government Research (VIEGO)",
started on 1st January 2006 and formally ended on 28th
February 2007. Prof. Zahir Irani (Head of Business School, Brunel
University) was the Principal Investigator on both projects and Dr. Tony
Elliman (then Professor at Department of Information Systems, Brunel
University) was the Co-Investigator.
The focus of the first project e-GISE was to promote national
debate and highlight the research strategies needed to increase
understanding of e-Government and the processes involved in evaluating
decisions surrounding human, organisational and technical components of
information society technologies (IST) implemented as part of the
Government's electronic agenda. e-GISE organised and ran over a 3-year
period a series of national workshops in conjunction with the Chartered
Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) that helped to
establish and maintain a dialogue with local authorities and government
agencies, whilst keeping the research planning realistic and relevant to
both the practitioner and academic communities. Findings highlighted the
absence of a comprehensive framework for measuring the outcomes of
e-Government services — a key research gap facing the future. These
research outcomes provided the rationale and motivations for VIEGO. There
was an overlap between the two funded projects with the e-GISE
infrastructure supported by the broader activities of VIEGO.
The VIEGO project consisted of five workshops held in 2006 in
four cities (London, Cardiff, Manchester and Edinburgh) in the UK. Each
workshop targeted a different non-academic stakeholder group — acting as
the main research tool that engaged with stakeholder communities.
Workshops resulted in the identification of key themes and future research
challenges of e-Government. Themes included technological e-Government
research, social e-Government research and organisational or managerial
e-Government research. The research showed that a multi-disciplinary,
holistic approach is required involving deep understanding and management
of systems, information, policies, processes, security and change.
VIEGO departed from previous e-Government research by focussing on the
views of stakeholders at grass-root-level (i.e. those charged with
delivering the eGovernment agenda) and on the issues they considered to be
important for its future administration.
References to the research
Sharif A.M., Irani Z. and Weerakkody V. 2010 `Evaluating and Modelling
Constructs for E-Government Decision Making'. Journal of the
Operational Research Society, 61(6): 928-952. — (Impact
factor: 1.565) http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/jors.2010.11
Irani Z. and Elliman A. (2008) `Creating social entrepreneurship in local
Government: Research Note'. European Journal of Information Systems,
17(4): 336-342. (Impact factor: 1.202) http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/ejis.2008.35
Mantzana V., Themistocleous M., Irani Z. and Morabito V. (2007).
`Identifying Healthcare Actors involved in the Adoption of Information
Systems', European Journal of Information Systems, 16(1):
91-102. (Impact factor: 1.202) http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.ejis.3000660
Relevant Foundation Grants:
||‘Towards a virtual Institute for Research into
EPSRC Ref: [EP/D043840/1].
Principal Investigator: Prof
Zahir Irani, Co-Investigator: Tony Elliman.
Grant total £34,000
||‘e-Government Integration and Systems Evaluation (e-GISE)’.
EPSRC Ref: [GR/T27020/01].
Principal Investigator: Prof
Zahir Irani, Co-Investigator: Tony Elliman.
Grant total £58,011
Details of the impact
The beneficiaries of the VIEGO research have been local authorities,
NGOs, IT professionals and citizens who, as public sector users, have
benefited from enhanced service delivery. Direct involvement in the
research process helped the public sector better utilise resources and
improve their position vis-à-vis central Government targets. The research
has been highly significant, helping to accelerate the implementation of
e-Government in the UK and with a nation-wide impact on public policy and
services. The results of VIEGO have also attracted international interest
from aspirational Governments such as the Kingdom of Bahrain, Turkey and
Lebanon, leading to further research collaboration.
A key output from the research was a White Paper report `Project VIEGO
— Electronic Transformation of Government in the UK: A Research Agenda'
ISBN 978-1-902316-53-6 that has been printed and circulated to 500
UK local authorities and non-Government organisations. This white paper
created interest among a collection of local authorities including London
Borough of Havering, London Borough of Hillingdon, Anglesey County
Council, Denbigshire County Council and Flintshire County Council.
Others included central and local government such as the Office of Deputy
Prime Minister, the Cabinet Office (e-Government Group), Society of IT
Managers, the British Computer Society (eDemocracy Group) and the
Chartered Institute of Public Finance.
The research led to 10 articles in practitioner trade journals including
PublicNet News, Public Servant Daily and Computing.
Senior Public Sector Managers
The organisational/managerial research themes identified by VIEGO
supported public sector senior managers in better understanding the
challenges of managing participation or, as it has subsequently become
known, `eParticipation'. Senior managers were better able to identify drivers
of change and cope with potential resistance to change when
Public Sector Employees
The social e-Government research themes were relevant to public
sector employees. Most public sector employees are front-line staff, who
directly interact with citizens and other stakeholders. These employees
also engage with Government in its numerous electronic forms. As a result
issues of how to engage with stakeholders and manage social
interactions and communication covered by the social e-Government
research themes enabled public sector employees to recognize the
importance of building trust with citizens and other stakeholders. This
has led to more positive citizen-Government interactions. Mr Ashaye, team
manager from the Housing and Options Team in the London Borough of
Hillingdon has written:
"Research grants such as eGise, VIEGO and CEES have helped to move the
community towards technological advancement and to build citizen trust
Local Government Elected Representatives
The social e-Government research and organisational/managerial
e-Government research themes were relevant to the local Government
representatives. Issues such as political and policy-making helped the
local Government elected representatives to realise how
e-inclusion and participation could influence the decision making process
and, the impact this has on e-Government.
Local Government Mangers
The organisational/managerial e-Government research themes were
particularly relevant to the local government managers. These themes
enabled the local government managers to realise the challenges of
evaluating and measuring actual benefits arising from the application of
e-Government services and applying these measurements to improve the type
and level of services provided. Several managers have provided letters of
evidence that articulate how the research has benefitted their
organisations in terms of service delivery. For example, Dr. Stephen
Jones, Head of Information, Communications and Technology, CONWY County
Borough Council has this to say about the research:
"CONWY County Borough Council's association and involvement with the
research work undertaken by Brunel University has helped enormously with
attaining practical improvements to complex IT and eGovernment service
delivery. A recent example is improvement to the Authority's website and
content management system, in which CONWY County Borough Council was
independently adjudged to be the best website in Wales and one of the
best websites in the UK (SOCITM, 2012). This is a significant
achievement which has major internal and external impact, including
efficiencies, cost savings and citizen channel shift."
The technological e-Government themes were particularly relevant
to the IT professionals. The main issues such as: (1) need for flexible
and scalable technology; (2) privacy and security; (3) shared services;
and (4) technical standards, enabled IT professionals to understand the
multiple facets of problems related to these issues which range from
purely technical to organisational. As a result organisational/managerial
government research themes were also relevant to the IT
professionals. These two themes permitted the IT professionals to realise
the complexities of e-Government implementation and look at the problems
associated with e-Government from technical as well as organisational
perspectives. Barry Eaton, ICT service manager has written:
"Having knowledge and access to this academic and practitioner working
group has helped improve the way that Anglesey has deployed information
systems and e-Government initiatives"
This research led to two funded projects at the European level:
2010-2013: `Ubiquitous Participation Platform for Policy
Making'. Call: EU FP7 ICT Programme — Call 4, EU Reference Number:
248010. Principal Investigator: Prof Zahir Irani, [Brunel] Grant Total
2009-2013: `Citizen oriented Evaluation of E-government
Services — A reference process model (CEES)'. Call: EU FP7 People
Programme — Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways EU Reference
Number: 28012009. Principal Investigator: Prof Zahir Irani, [Brunel]
Grant Total €201,115.
Sources to corroborate the impact
- White paper report: Project VIEGO- Electronic Transformation of
Government in the UK: A Research Agenda ISBN 978-1-902316-53-6.
- Letters of support have been provided from the following
individuals to support the claim that Brunel research has benefitted
- Governor, Central Bank of Sudan.
- ICT Service Manager, Isle of Anglesey County Council.
- Business Transformation and ICT Manager, Denbighshire County Council.
- Head of Information, Communications and Technology, CONWY County
- Homelessness Assessment Team Manager, London Borough of Hillingdon.
- Head of ICT and Customer Services, Flintshire County Council