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Archive for the ‘E-gouvernance’ Category

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I have not been lazy lately, meeting many organizations involved in gov20 and elaborating different plans to make things happen locally. I have learnt that a near city has just hired someone to work on edemocracy and e-participation! Concerning liberTIC’s activity, another step will be made next month so stay in touch.

Here follow is a guide I’ve been reading for my studies.

Almost ten years ago, OECD suggested the stillupdated following guiding principles for successful information, consultation and active participation in policy-making:

1.Commitment

Leadership and strong commitment to information, consultation and active participation in policy-making is needed at all levels – from politicians, senior managers and public officials.

2. Rights

Citizens rights to access information, provide feedback, be consulted and actively participate in policy-making must be firmly grounded in law or policy. Government obligations to respond to citizens when exercising their rights must also be clearly stated. Independent institutions for oversight, or their equivalent, are essential to enforcing these rights.

3.Clarity

Objectives for, and limits to, information, consultation and active participation during policy-making should be well defined from the outset. The respective roles and responsibilities of citizens (in providing input) and government (in making decisions for which they are accountable) must be clear to all.

4. Time

Public consultation and active participation should be undertaken as early in the policy process as possible to allow a greater range of policy solutions to emerge and to raise the chances of successful implementation. Adequate time must be available for consultation and participation to be effective. Information is needed at all stages of the policy cycle.

5. Objectivity

Information provided by government during policy-making should be objective, complete and accessible. All citizens should have equal treatment when exercising their rights of access to information and participation.

6. Resources

Adequate financial, human and technical resources are needed if public information, consultation and active participation in policy-making are to be effective. Government officials must have access to appropriate skills, guidance and training as well as an organisational culture that supports their efforts.

7. Co-ordination

Initiatives to inform, request feedback from and consult citizens should be co-ordinated across government to enhance knowledge management, ensure policy coherence, avoid duplication and reduce the risk of consultation fatigue among citizens and civil society organisations (CSOs). Co-ordination efforts should not reduce the capacity of government units to pursue innovation and ensure flexibility.

8. Accountability

Governments have an obligation to account for the use they make of citizens inputs received through feedback, public consultation and active participation. Measures to ensure that the policy-making process is open, transparent and amenable to external scrutiny and review are crucial to increasing government accountability overall.

9. Evaluation

Governments need the tools, information and capacity to evaluate their performance in providing information, conducting consultation and engaging citizens in order to adapt to new requirements and changing conditions for policy-making.

10. Active citizenship

Governments benefit from active citizens and a dynamic civil society and can take concrete actions to facilitate access to information and participation, raise awareness, strengthen citizens civic education and skills as well as to support capacity-building among civil society organisations.

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Digital divide is the new illetrism*

I recently watched this video from the « Forum for the Future of Democracy » which goal was to define democratic process and here are some explanations.

e-Democracy

It is a very cheap, very accessible way to enhance participation, to show politicians work, to give more realtime information of better quality and to enlight choices.

e-Democracy will allow -if we allow e-democracy to emerge- to give people real power.

Indeed, people are usually interested in democracy but they are often out of touch and they lack information.Therefore there is an imperative need to rally citizens and spread informations.

The primary obligation of a democratic state is to ensure that lack of access to new technologies does not become a social divide as illiteracy once was.

e-Participation

e-Democracy is creating new ways to engage in democracy: electronic vote, forums, collaborative platforms, etc. These online tools allow citizens to interact, participate and collaborate.

By talking directly to the people, government’s messages won’t have to be transmitted to a third party lile media to spread the word. Citizens become media.

There is by fact a gap between electronic haves and electronic havenots. It is a reality and a threat to democracy and inclusion.

e-Government

Governments should not wait for citizens to come to them but they should engage and go to the crowd.

Citizens need to trust governments and governments need to trust citizens. Let’s interact, let’s share, let’s collaborate but let’s do that all together.

Generation gaps

There is a gap between old and younger generation in the use of technologies. When youngers are usually more at ease, a real work should be made on seniors use.

In order to fight digital divide, we also need to improve youth involvment by teaching from the bottom. To be efficient, e-democracy classes should be given as early as kindergarden.

Conclusion

In this newtech world, if we want to avoid the creation of a new barreer between people and administrations, we have to engage every citizens to join the move.

*For french readers, french translation of illetrism would be « analphabetisme », not « illetrisme ».

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The United Nations E-Government Development Knowledge Base (UNKB) is a benchmarking tool that provides a comparative assessment for monitoring progress of a country’s E-Government Development from 2003 to 2010. As such it provides an interactive snapshot picture of a country’s E-Government Development in the world.

The UN e-Government survey assesses -almost- annually the eGovernment development of the UN member states according to a quantitative composite index:
– Egovernement development index
– Online service index and its components
– Telecommunications infrastructure index and its components

Egovernement index In 2008

The results of 2008 Survey indicated that governments were moving forward in e-government development around the world. However, given the high demands, progress was slow.

In terms of citizen engagement, the e-participation index indicated a modest upward movement with 189 countries online in 2008 as compared with 179 in 2005.

The United States scored the highest on the e-participation index. This was primarily due to its strength in e-information and e-consultation, which enabled its citizens to be more interactive with their government.
It was closely followed by the Republic of Korea (0.9773), which performed extremely well in the e-consultation assessment, Denmark (0.9318) and France (0.9318) were tied for third place.

In 2010, what changes ?

You can find all results and datas for each index on the UN website.

We’ll soon have more informations on this listing as the whole e-government survey for 2010 is about to be published. Here below is its table of content to be released.

Introduction
PART I: Leveraging e-government at a time of financial and economic crisis
Chapter 1: Stimulus packages and financial bailouts
Chapter 2: Financial regulation and monitoring
Chapter 3: Public service delivery
PART II: Global e-government readiness
Chapter 4: The state of e-government by region
Chapter 5: The state of e-government by economic grouping
Chapter 6: Access and diversity

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This is a mash up of different articles-

realtimecongress

Real Time Congress is a fast and free app to access real-time information about U.S. Congress on iPhone.

Lobbyists have spent lots of money to get access to real-time information on Congress, and it’s a divide that helped them be more powerful than most citizens. Now, the Sunlight Labs new Real Time Congress App put Congress informations into anyone’s hands all the time, making public empowerment real.

« Our goal at the Sunlight Foundation is to change the way that citizens collect information about their government, and then help them to use that information to change the way they interact with their government. This new app shows how powerful new programs and smart phones can accomplish that goal. »

Real Time Congress for the iPhone – and assimilated “Congress” for Android – are two examples of how powerful mobile applications can be in shifting the traditional balance of power.

« We want to make data about what’s happening inside Congress more available to the public. It isn’t just who your member of Congress is that matters, but also what they do. It’s also important to see what they’re reading and who they’re listening to, and what the process looks like.

The app displays an up-to-the-minute feed of updates from the House and Senate, notices, and key government documents as they are released with features such as:

  • Updates from the House and Senate floor as they happen.
  • Critical reports and memos as they are published online by officials
  • Daily and weekly notices
  • Schedule of upcoming committee hearings from House and Senate

Brad Bauman, a former congressional communications director, wrote:

« The Real Time Congress application will keep journalists, Hill staffers, bloggers and interested citizens up to date on what is happening in Congress, in real-time. Its ease of use and sleek design promise that end users will continue to go back to the app for unfiltered information on Congress so they can make their own informed decisions on what is happening in the Capitol. »


For now, all this information is displayed quite simply. There is no deep personalization, no search features and push notifications. Sunlight Labs will continue to improve on the app with user feedbacks.

Still, this kind of app will definitely change the way citizens collect information about their government – and maybe how they are able to use that information to engage with government in new and more effective ways.

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With their respective Opendata Directives, Australia, USA and UK took a large step away from France on national transparency. While American Senate makes available all its voting datas, french national assembly still don’t show any informations, leading french citizens and non-governmental organizations to gather and work over getting datas created and usable.

Nosdeputes.fr is a french website willing to emphasize Parliament action. The dozen of democracygeek volunteers working on this project is synthesizing the various legislative activities of the elected officials. Their first work was to get and then make available the datas concerning commission works, speaches, law votes… This action leaded to the publication of the assiduity-graph of french deputies.

Soon came a new challenge.

Assemblée Nationale - Richardying CC

Assemblée Nationale - Richardying CC

After 2009 and a national debate over the lack of attendance of deputies to the National Assembly, internal assembly rules were modified with new amendment stating:

Beyond two absences […], each absence of a deputy at a commission or ordinary session [of Wednesday], gives place to the withdrawal of 25% on the monthly amount of its salary ».

As written previously, the workingday not attended by deputies are not public datas. Presidents of each commissions do have a list but it is not published. So guess what civilians from Nodeputes, under the organization Regardscitoyens.fr just did ?

They used their attendee made-up list to create a mashup to define absences and then published their study.

By calculating how many deputy-related-commissions took place and how many deputies really showed up on the days of commissions, they got the result.

According to the study, the new amendment did led to a higher attendance rate.

On average between the years 2008 and 2009, the deputies thus increased their frequentation of the obligatory meetings of Wednesday of 54%, passing from an average of one Wednesday presence out of three with one out of two.

And this assiduity is not limited to the only meetings of Wednesday: for these three same months, we can observe that the average of presence of a deputy in committee increases by 36%, that is to say the passage of approximately 3 days of commissions per month in 2008 to 4 in 2009.

Deputies attendance (Nosdeputes.fr)

Deputies attendance (Nosdeputes.fr)

RegardsCitoyens.org published the 42 deputies names who did not respect the amendement and their calcul shows 25 433€ shall be recovered from the total salaries but according to the Parliament, no salary deduction was required for the moment. This situation is particularly ironic as the leading-party UMP is willing to suppress welfares to families whose child misses school.

Video showing Assembly data (un)access, in french only

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Techpresident published an article reporting the publication of a new report on digital political engagement by Members of Parliament in the UK.

The Irish House of Commons, 1780 by Francis Wh...
Image via Wikipedia

Entitled “MPs ONLINE, CONNECTING WITH CONSTITUENTS“, the key findings from this research sponsored by Microsoft are:

– 92% of MPs use email

– 83% of MPs have a personal website

23% of MPs use social networking

– 11% of MPs blog

However, the minority of MP’s using social networking do not usually involve intercommunication. Notice final recommendation:

MPs see the internet as primarily a tool to communicate and campaign, however,individual citizens and civil society groups can take the lead, creating engagement tools online and encouraging Mps to then take part.

In the Guardian article “The internet and politics: Revolution.com“, the edito states:

“Following Barack Obama’s successful use of social networking, British parties have redoubled their rush on to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. A few engaged MPs use such sites not only to broadcast their views but also to listen to their constituents. However, too much political effort online simply mimics traditional marketing-driven campaigning – treating voters as little more than shoppers, and policies as slickly packaged products.”

Back to the basics: defining social media.
Social media is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, a two way effect.

The bad point about using limited version of social media (sic) is the lack of empowerment left to the citizens. Hard to imagine indeed, a collective campaign such as the one launched by the Sunlight Foundation to help lobby Congress vote on S. 482 and pressuring senators by tweeting them, if politicians are not techavailables.

This action seemed efficient as some senators ended up supporting the action but of course in order to launch such civic applications out ouf social media – Hadopi law may be a good test in France- politicians still need to be registered.

Here is “Human to Human” research on french politicians and social networks (in french only) where you learn that ministers may be present on social networks but not all are using the full potential neither. By recently checking out Jean-Pierre Chevenement and his blog with impressive feeds on the right side. -notice the iphone app- I notice that the communication team has corrected the “non-interactivity” issue.

So we are on the way, but it’s a long road.

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