The new UN E-Government Survey 2012 released on March 20 ranks countries according to the “willingness and capacity of national administrations to use information and communication technologies to deliver public services”. South Korea maintains its first rank position in e-government, followed by the Netherlands, the UK, Denmark, the U.S. and France.
The report discusses in detail ongoing trends by region, presents case studies, and makes recommendations to governments. Chapter IV insists on the importance of multi-channel delivery of public services, and the need to combine newer channels (such as mobile) and more established ones, like post offices. One of the case studies presented, Italy’s Reti Amiche project, brings government services (such as the issuance of residence permits) closer to citizens by making them available through a range of networks : 5,740 post offices, tobacconists, large retailers, etc…
The report notes elsewhere that the lack of e-infrastructure continues to hinder the development of e-gov services in many developing countries. It advocates “an evolutionary rather than revolutionary approach to developing new channels”. The implicit message to Posts is: in countries where large ICT-based e-gov plans are stalled or still on the drawing board, Posts should jump in and better position themselves as a key front office of national and local governments – perhaps through low-cost services involving automated workflow management.
The UN report “E-government for the people” is available at http://www.unpan.org/egovkb/global_reports/08report.htm. Information on Poste Italiane’s involvement in Reti Amiche (in Italian) : http://www.poste.it/azienda/ufficipostali/reti_amiche.shtml