Over the past decade, putting public services on-line has been a focus of huge policy and financial investments aimed at providing more joined-up service delivery. For some this is part of a transformation that is bringing about a new era of integrated digital government. For others digitalization means threats to privacy and security and a strengthening of bureaucracy. In the UK and beyond, front-line service providers and citizens have been slow to take up digital services whilst major projects have floundered. This book takes a fresh look at this vital area for public policy and practice. Informed by over ten years of original research on the 'inside' of projects to put local services on-line, the authors combine cross-disciplinary insights to provide a new social informatics perspective on digital government. Experiences in areas such as health and social care are used to illustrate the dangers of 'over-integration' when key decisions are left to system designers, as they seek to integrate information in centralized systems. The authors argue for a new 'architectural discourse' to change the way that systems are deployed, evolve, and are governed. This leads to the conclusion that increased coordination of public services in a digital ecomy is better achieved through federated rather than integrated services that recognize the infrastructural nature of information systems and the essential role of co-production in their future evolution
Professor Ian McLoughlin is Distinguished Professor of Management and Head of the Department of Management at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to this he was Director of the Newcastle University Business School at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (UK). He co-founded and directed the Newcastle Centre for Social and Business Informatics which later became University Centre for Knowledge Innovation Technology and Enterprise (KITE) - where he is now a Visiting Professor. His research interests lie in the broad area of technological and organizational change and the management of innovation. He has published widely in leading international academic journals and is author or co-author of eleven books. Dr Rob Wilson is a senior lecturer in Information Systems at Newcastle University Business School (NUBS) and Director of the University Centre for Knowledge Innovation Technology and Enterprise (KITE). He has extensive experience working on and leading public sector information system development and implementation projects. His research interests are in public service innovation and the role that information and information systems play in organizational change and inter-organizational working. He has lectured and published widely on information systems in the public sector.