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e-Government in the UK vs US

My previous post got me thinking about how other countries are handling government information and/or e-Government service and comparing it to our situation. Then I started reminiscing about my recent travels to London. While I was there, I paid a visit to the Parliament Bookstore and browsed their shelf of “Daily Parliament Publications”. It made me smile to see how similar it was to the GPO Bookstore! So when I returned home, I did some investigating online to see how they handle printing of their official government publications and initiatives of e-government services they are working on.

According to the Brookings Institute study, Great Britain’s e-Government status ranks 35 out of 197 which I find hard to believe. I would’ve ranked them much higher, but then again, I’m not an expert and didn’t conduct the study. The study praises their government web portal, Direct Gov, which puts “public services all in one place” according to their logo. Their promotional video cracks me up but it makes some great points! In some ways it’s quite similar to USA.gov.

I also enjoy looking at their Parliament homepage and the online Bills and Legislation section. To learn more about Great Britain’s progress in e-Government, go to governmentontheweb.org and read the status reports by the National Audit Office. The report states that “The Office of the e-Envoy (OeE) should be more active in monitoring and reporting departments’ progress in putting services online, their take-up by the public, and the quality and use made of departments’ websites” and “Digital certificates are used by some organisations for authentication but they can be costly and time-consuming for citizens and business to obtain. The OeE should work with IT industry to ease this process”. Surprisingly, there is little mention of digital preservation of government information but there is a whole page devoted to the issue at the UK National Archive’s site.

Also, the nearest British equivalent to GPO would be the Office of Public Sector Information(formerly known as Her Majesty’s Stationary Office) and The Stationary Office Not sure if they have a depository library system like we do though…but they mention that “all local authority funded public libraries are eligible to receive a subsidy on official publications. The subsidy is given to facilitate public access to legislation, Parliamentary and Government materials”.

Anyway, I just thought that was interesting and wanted to pass the information along. Do you know of any other countries that have spectacular e-Government services? I want to check out what the German government is doing online…thank goodness Ich spreche Deutsch!

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