The study has had a twofold aim. The first being to capture the phenomena, which best describe what is understood by Open and Transparent eGovernment. That is to assess to what extent policy is geared towards ensuring that the online channel is used to promote more open, collaborative and participative mechanisms of governance. To meet this first aim, it has proven most adequate to conduct a (semi) qualitative survey amongst representatives of EU Member State governments to scope the notions of 'open' and 'transparent', derive a potential consensus definition of these themes and understand what policies and priorities are in place or under development in different European countries.
The second goal was to measure (i.e. quantify) Open and Transparent eGovernment i.e. to put objective metrics in place, which allow countries to see- at a glance- in how far they are progressing when it comes to de facto implementing existing policies. In other words, is the citizen being approached and served in an open and transparent way by his or her civil service through the Internet?
To assess this second goal, it was decided to roll out two web surveys conducted by external independent experts, objectively assessing features of Open and Transparent eGovernment directly on the web. The first web survey looked at the web presence of Public Administrations (institutions such as the Ministry of Education and Culture), the second web survey looked at service delivery websites (such as the site Tax Online).
In total 10 Member States have participated in the pilot exercise. These are: Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
The performance results obtained through the metrics- though it needs to be re-emphasised that these have not been at the heart of the piloting- show significant room for improvement, meaning that the path to go in terms of de facto achieving Open and Transparent public governance in Europe is still steep. This is in line with expectations of the provider consortium of the study as well as pilot participants, seen the innovative character of policies which have only gained grounds recently in Administrations' agendas. An EU-wide benchmark of this kind should be put into place to encourage further progress and gear performance.
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