Recently, a very interesting and solid paper titled “Is e-government leading to more accountable and transparent local governments? An overall view“, authored by Vicenta Pina, Lourdes Torres and Sonia Royo, has been published. I recommend anyone interested in e-government assessment and transparency to read this.
The paper focuses on to what degree introducing e-government has had a positive impact of the transparency of local governments.
The transparency measurements are carried out by assessing local government web sites with a methodology that rewards the presence of services and information. The underlying assumption is that, for example, a web site having contact information is more transparent than a web site where contact information is missing.
The survey includes five local government web sites (the web site of the capital and the four subsequent largest cities) from 15 European web sites. It is easy to argue that this is not a representative sample since smaller municipalities are not at all included in the survey. We can expect substantial differences between web sites from smaller and larger municipalities.
According to the survey results, the most transparent local governments can be found in the United Kingdom, followed closely by Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. On the other hand, according to the survey, Greece had most improvement potential.
In addition to transparency the authors have performed a survey on account interoperability, usability and web site maturity.