Information technology as the way to improve effectiveness of public administration


One of the key factors in developing socially oriented state might be usage of information technology. Is it really possible to change people life for a better one by using these means? The answer can be found in this article.

To take into account all problems and concerns of each citizen, to improve quality of interaction between state agencies and citizens, to provide support for socially and economically disadvantaged groups, to keep citizens needs and wants at the highest level of government’s priority list – that is exactly the place for new technologies to be possessed inside public administration system. This is neither just words, nor utopia but reality that can be brought to life by officials.

Life is going really fast and time is the judge that measures what is done and what is not. Channels optimization between citizen and state by boosting communication and improving its quality, elimination of “information flow” barriers as well as new capabilities to bring to light negative processes and eradicate them – that is the way to build sustainable political system. When such algorithm of permanent connection between government and citizen will be set and put to work, then state can develop itself much faster.

Dedicated software that is based on expert, economic and mathematical methods, more close cooperation between state and universities, and research establishments – as for combined actions in data collection and data processing, analysing and decision making – will enhance effectiveness of problem solving (for example, in field of government purchases or budget distribution) and that will provide well-grounded solutions.

Now let’s get back to the question that was previously raised.

Revealing and meeting citizens’ needs and wants with timely reactions of state agencies to any requests that have been received from citizens are what marketing mean at national level.

In the first case, state formes (might create) desired needs and wants among whole population, forcing these desired needs into citizens’ head.

In the second case, state can consider these needs and wants as immanent ones, and has no intention to influence or to alter any needs of social groups by means of mass-media communication or others. And doing so it proposes to any citizen such product that he or she wants to have, this is the way for authorities to be closer to each and every individual.

Latter case allows person to rise above whole state system, but the first scenario is not the best for person as far as his or her mental attitude would be targeted.

Of course, some combinations of these two scenarios are possible and proportion can vary depending on specific characteristics of society or different social groups.

To raise effectiveness of such marketing we are strongly recommending the usage of information technology.

Information technology contributes to qualitative level up of state agencies routine dealing with citizens.

Joint Information Center creation enables quick, well-grounded and timely problem solving of any matters, which are concerned by the citizens.

Each and every citizen will be enabled to register through the site of this Joint Centre and to submit his or her question toward local authorities in electronic form. Each submitted citizen’s request gets unique ID.

Each request of citizen and personalized servant reply is stored in joint database for futher reviewal in case of any dispute would be raised. So it allows checking of any claims validity.

When public servant accepts electronic request then confirmation email will be sent. This confirmation contains following:

1) Request ID and full name of assigned servant.

2) Time frame for providing response to the request.

3) Contact details of corresponding state agency.

Joint Information Center controls set time frame for providing response and in case of deadline failing, it would affect rating of corresponding public servant, department, agency, etc. System forms rating of precise region (district) and its governor in the end of this chain.

It should be noted that control is not handled by human personnel working in this Joint Information Centre, but by machine algorithm – software for grounded assessment.

Citizen may accept this electronic response from public servant or may not. Citizen has right to reject it, in case he or she does not agree with decision. If citizen feels comfortable with decision then thread will be sent to the Information Centre Database Archive.

Otherwise, in case citizen is not satisfied, this request will be escalated to the next level – from initially assigned public servant to his superior and so on.

In case of further disagreements it will raise level of reviewal again. Final decision can be made at the highest level of public administration or during court hearing.

With this algorithm it is possible to estimate effectiveness of each public servant, each department and whole state agency.

If reviewal at superior level of public administration supports citizen’s claim, and lower level public servant denied this claim, then this servant, department he or she working for, whole state agency and so on get a negative rating – software (algorithm) lowers their rating.

At the same time positive feedbacks from citizens for the services of public servant and state agency as well are taken into consideration and that is reflected in their rating.

Software can provide rating calculation for each public servant, department he or she is working for, and estimates whole state agency. For the purpose of rating calculation one can use formula:

Where

R – rating of public servant (or department, or state agency) during set time frame (1 month or quarter, or year).

A – total number of public servant replies (or department, or state agency) during set time frame (1 month or quarter, or year).

B – total number of public servant replies (or department, or state agency) that have been rejected by citizens during set time frame (1 month or quarter, or year).

T – total number of requests that precise public servant (or department, or state agency) received from citizens during set time frame (1 month or quarter, or year).

Value of the variable B – that stands for number of rejected replies – grows when citizen request is approved at higher level. This way all lower levels rejections are considered as unjustified. This figure is calculated automatically.

Rating is calculated automatically by software in set time frame.

The higher raiting R for public servant is, the higher citizens’ appreciation is.

Listed above formula might be considered as an example. Beside this, it is advised to weight all rejected citizens’ requests (weight for unjustified rejects by public servant) due to different content of the letters and involved complexity of solving issue, after all unjustified rejection might cause hard consequences for submitter of the request. This is essential point and must be counted in algorithm for staff assessment.

It is possible to use other approaches to calculate rating, for example, it might involve merit point system. However, it is crucial that this system should be frank about quality of public servant service, but in the same time, which might be odd to hear, it must not suppress the servant. If public servant is effective at his or her duty, so he or she is worth to be rewarded. Extend of this reward should be dictated by raiting, but not by superior’s attitude, or family ties, or similar criteria.

Proposed conception of information technology inside public administration system prevents such actions that are fiercely disapproved by society.

Options and benefits of information technology usage in public administration are the following:

1) to spot hierarchy of problems for each district, region and so on (citizens can choose existing problem from the list);

2) to define interaction quality rating between authorities and society (on local, district and regional level and so on);

3) quality improvement in servant-citizens interactions (timely and fairness manners of duties executions);

4) automated system fights corruption by controlling process of decision making and problem solving for each and every citizen (unjustified decision would be nullified by higher government body and all those who responsible will automatically suffer a penalty);

5) rating based payment for public servant work;

6) regardless of the country size it is possible to handle operating control and provide timely decisions that are based on information and ratings from Joint Information Centre;

7) the highest ranking officials will be in possess of any public servant’s or department’s rating and can get statistics on citizens requests, number of replies/rejects and so on, and this data will be complete and up-to-date because of constant automatic update. Thus all these data will be possible to track on computer.

Thus information technology allows implementing marketing methods at the state level and fully considers problems of each individual.

Reliable rating figures are vital for performance assessment of local and regional authorities. In addition, it helps to get fact-based review of positive and negative trends that are starting up in one or another region.

Information technology assists in independent assessment that has nothing to do with reports from local authorities and that is quite important for any state.

This helps to be more effective in process control and to prevent negative trends at the very beginning.

Because of Information Centre and algorithm one can know who made certain mistakes and how important they were for the individual.

Rating of public servant shows which executive effectively performs his or her duties, which one is worth to be promoted and rewarded.

Combined ratings of public servants, which are working together in some department, form department’s rating and rating of their superior. So it is like a chain of ratings for state agency, head of such agency, and after all rating of mayor and governor.

This system will work well for legislative authorities as well. In this case rating of precise deputy has a great importance as far as being elected means trust, and followed up work will be assessed only through next election. That situation needs a lot of time, years until next election, and it means slowdown for state development. The ability to spot deputy’s rating online is the thing that no one can neglect.

We aware of multiply occurrences that happened and still have place in different corners of the world, when local people are intimidated, humiliated and they are living in constant stress conditions because all complains cannot reach the highest level. They are left on their own with all these scares. They are frustrated and have no trust in system anymore.

So my point is the following United Nation Organization should develop its tools of influence and these tools should be based on information technology.

Proposed conception of information technology usage in public administration sector eliminates all negatives issues because interactions between ordinary citizen and public servant are controlled by automated system and that should bring justice and honest decision.

This conceptual algorithm will work regardless of country size whether it is large or small. Distance to the capital is completely irrelevant.

That is one of the biggest advantages of information technology usage.

Of course, we should mention public servants’ costs.

Proposed algorithm helps to smartly dispose all public servants, and makes it clear who does what, and who is responsible for precise task.

It is obvious as well that we attribute importance to the time needed for processing citizen request and providing response, so we can form stack of tasks for every public servant.

At this point we will see how many staff we need for optimal organization performance.

But most important – we eliminate somehow unnecessary and even stupid bureaucracy that causes damage to state public image.

Besides these benefits, there is another obvious advantage. Electronic document flow allows cutting expenses significantly. There will be no more needs for office materials and that is quite big amount of money.

And here is banal idea of online meeting and we can save some money on business trip to the capital or another administrative centre.

These are the sources of evidence concerning cost effectiveness of information technology usage in state sector.

However, two key factors “timeliness of response to citizen request in set time frame” and “quality of public servant actions in response to incoming citizen request” are essential for constructing such information system.

It should be also noted, that implementation of this concept would be unthinkable without attention to cybersecurity issues. It can be computer viruses or some violent intrusions made by other individual. This is the key to success and main problem of information technologies implementation.

Meanwhile state that does not have potential to implement information management system may invite experts in this field, and they will help to overcome all limitations of organization and create new better image of the state.

That was about technical side, but society should tear down old stereotypes and even to overcome passivity of thinking.

No one would call it an easy task, but it can be done via mass-media and with strong political will. Everything depends on the highest ranking executives of any state and on their dedication to change things for the better.

Informatization of public administration makes political system more sustainable, free from any shock as a result of:

1)         constant control with great attention to details towards any field that is in question;

2)         gathering fact-based information that is complete and timely informs about performance of state agencies;

3)         operative elimination of any negative trends in interactions between state agency and citizens.

Consequently, conception that is proposed in this article allows to enhance effectiveness of political system.

Information technology usage within system of public administration saves time on any problem solving task, opens the way to further development and helps to reach prosperity.

By VG

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