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E-Gov Delivers Benefits on Many Fronts

GSA #10016

May 12, 2003
Contact: Eleni Martin (202) 501-1231
eleni.martin@gsa.gov

Washington, DC -- Delivering services over the Internet saves governments money, saves taxpayers time, supports small business, discourages corruption and encourages participation in government, and streamlines the bureaucracy, according to a report issued today by the Intergovernmental Advisory Board (IAB). Overall, electronic government (E-Gov) programs provide a wider range of benefits than originally envisioned by public administrator.

The report, entitled "High Payoff in Electronic Government: Measuring the Return on E-Government Investments," was prepared for the IAB by the Office of Intergovernmental Solutions in the U.S. General Service's Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Communications. It is available on the Web at http://www.gsa.gov/intergov.

Expanding E-Gov is one of five priorities on President Bush's management agenda. It is also a high priority for national, state and local governments worldwide, which use E-Gov to achieve many of their key objectives�serving constituents, reducing operating costs, consolidating operations and promoting local/regional features.

A technology that has been in existence for less than a decade, E-Gov presents new challenges to public organizations, the report stated. As all government investments come under increasing scrutiny in these times of restricted public funds, there is a growing need to find the appropriate metrics to evaluate the impact of online programs.

The study reported that governments value their E-Gov programs for a variety of reasons and use a range of methods to measure their benefits and determine funding priorities. Many have found that the use of traditional cost-benefit analysis and return-on-investment calculations alone does not adequately measure the impact E-Gov delivers.

E-Gov leaders around the world also recognize a universal principle related to the expected return on E-Gov investments: governments must market their online offerings extensively in order to increase the "take-up" or use of those programs and achieve the maximum payoff they offer.

The report found that E-Gov programs benefit the public in five ways:

1. Financial: reduced costs of government operations/enhanced revenue collection. Governments benefit financially by Web-enabling their customer service processes, eliminating paperwork and the associated printing and mailing fees, reducing the staff required to serve the public face-to-face or by telephone, and improving cash management by online revenue collections.

2. Economic development. Developing countries and state and local governments view the Internet as critical to developing their regional economies, chiefly by enhancing tourism and by making it easy and convenient for businesses to find information they need and file required reports online.

3. Reduced redundancy: consolidating and integrating government systems. E-Gov programs that integrate systems and databases and provide one-stop sources of government information enable government to operate more responsively and more efficiently.

4. Fostering democratic principles. The free flow of information permitted by the Internet facilitates transparency and accountability in government. It also increases the accessibility of government at all levels.

5. Improved service to citizens and other constituencies. E-Gov significantly improves citizen service by making it easier, quicker and more convenient to do business with the government online. Online tax filing, license renewal, recreation, and job search are among the most popular E-Gov programs.

The IAB was created to provide advice and guidance on emerging information technology issues for federal IT professionals. Its membership consists of three federal, three state, and three local government chief information officers, IT experts in GSA, and the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils (FGIPC).

GSA is a centralized federal procurement and property management agency created by Congress to improve government efficiency and help federal agencies better serve the public. It acquires, on behalf of federal agencies, office space, equipment, telecommunications, information technology, supplies, and services. Additionally, the Office of Citizen Services and Communications (OCSC) within GSA provides the resources for citizens to access federal, state and local information in a variety of ways�via the Web (FirstGov.gov), e-mail, telephone, fax, or print. OCSC also leads USA Services, an E-Government initiative that seeks to make the government more citizen-centric.