1. Introduction to e-government
E-government is defined by Alonso as “the use of the web or other information technologies (IT) by governing bodies to interact with their citizenry, between departments and divisions, and between governments themselves” (2008). Its aim should be to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the functions of government. It should also improve the transparency of government and its offerings through better supply and access of information (Cho & Byung-Dae 2004). E-government has impacted many countries around the world, including developing as well as developed nations. However the impacts and influence of e-government is distinctive to individual countries and has developed in unique ways to meet unique purposes (Reddick 2010). For the purpose of this paper, e-government offerings will be divided into the following three categories:
1. Government-to-citizen (G2C): services offered from the government to its citizens electronically, including all relations of information, communication, exchange and participation between governmental authorities or offices and the public (Meier, 2012).
2. Government-to-business (G2B): governmental services directed at companies and organisations. This involves the government selling products to businesses, as well as purchasing from them. (Meier, 2012).
3. Government-to-government (G2G): e-government initiatives aiming at enabling government agencies to more efficiently work together and provide one-stop service to citizens and businesses (Meier, 2012).
Using the categories above, we will discuss the e-government offerings of four countries: Australia, the United States of America, Singapore and the United Kingdom. According to various e-government evaluation frameworks (Wong, 2000; Layne & Lee 2001; United Nations Report 2010; Irani, Al-Sebie & Elliman 2006) a synergy of government efforts and a complete horizontal and vertical implementation of e-commerce offerings is key to the measured ‘success’ of e-governments, which evolves from the base of a simple information provision website. A fully developed form of e-government entails a fully interactive and transactional portal, utilising social networking and mobile functionings such as apps (stage 7, as per Wong 2000, see Appendix 1).
2. Australia’s e-government offering
ICT plays a critical role in delivering and transforming the operations of government in Australia - a country who has been making rapid progress in e- government offerings (Lee, Tan, Trimi 2005, p. 104). It receives reasonably positive ratings on e-government and ICT development in various international measures (Gauld, Goldfinch & Horsburgh, 2010). The Australian government has employed apps in many of its department’s offerings, and citizens can connect with members of parliament via social medias (although the functions of social media in performing government services is still limited). This would place Australia at Level 6 and looking towards Level 7, in terms of Wong’s 7 stages of e-government (2000).
2.1. Government to Citizen initiatives
A report by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) demonstrated that satisfaction and use of e-government services have both continually grown since 2000 (2008). The australia.gov.au website is a an integrated services and information portal, containing information across departmental divides. MyGov takes this further, providing citizens the opportunity to use one login to access services such as Medicare, Centrelink, Disability Care and the eHealth Records System. Other capabilities coming soon to MyGov include access to myGov mobile apps; more myGov member services and one inbox for member service messages.
Centrelink’s online services allow citizens to apply for benefits and report earnings online, lessening lines and congestion at Centrelink