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Partnership working in local electronic government

By Sarah Helen Cotterill

Abstract

This research explores how English local authorities and their partners work together on electronic government. E-government is the use of computer technologies by government to transform the provision of services and information, improve internal organisation, encourage citizen participation and promote sharing between partners.\ud \ud In the UK and elsewhere there is increasing emphasis on public sector organisations working together in local partnerships. Partnerships can potentially encourage the delivery of joined-up services to citizens, promote democracy and improve public policy making, but partnership working is not always easy and can be challenging for the individuals and organisations involved.\ud \ud This thesis addresses the research question: "How can local authorities and their partners work together to successfully implement electronic government? " The\ud research is based on a systematic literature review and comparative case studies of three sub-regional e-government partnerships, using a mixed methods approach. The literature review covers local governance, e-government, public sector partnerships, dissemination of best practice and social networks. In each case study social network data was collected from participants using a short\ud questionnaire to ascertain who they dealt with in relation to e-government. This data was analysed using social network software and then used during qualitative\ud interviews and workshops to generate discussion.\ud \ud A model of partnership effectiveness has been developed which identifies network structure, governance, maturity and context as four themes contributing to the success of local e-government partnerships. Network structure influences effectiveness in three ways: cohesion amongst the partners encourages organisational learning; a central core agency is important to ensure that partnership ideas reach fruition; opinion leaders come up with good ideas and can mobilise others. Governance includes the existence of a clear shared vision and strategy, the commitment of leaders, accountability and getting the right people\ud involved. Maturity refers to a stable group of people from different perspectives working together over time, facing challenges and persevering. Councils with smaller populations have more to gain from partnership working because they lack the capacity to develop e-government solutions alone. The study contributes to academic research by developing a theoretical model of the factors contributing to effective e-government partnerships. This is the first study to examine how public organisations network together on e-government and the methodological approach is novel in research into UK local governance

Publisher: Leeds University Business School
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:206

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