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Maine, Oregon and Utah Achieve Top Rankings in State E-Governance/Rutgers – SFSU State E-Governance Survey Ranks Maine #1

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(Newark, NJ) — A national survey of state websites has identified Maine as the top-ranked state in the performance of e-governance. The research study was conducted jointly by the E-Governance Institute, School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University in Newark, and the Department of Public Administration at San Francisco State University (SFSU).

The survey evaluated state websites in the areas of privacy, usability, content, service and citizen participation, and ranked the states nationally. Co-sponsored by the American Society for Public Administration and the Public Technology Institute, the study listed the following states among the top five in digital governance: Maine, Oregon, Utah, South Carolina and Indiana.

“The E-Governance Performance Index used for the survey is a set of benchmarks that spotlight high levels of performance and foster high expectations for improved web-based service delivery,” states Dr. Marc Holzer, Dean of the School of Public Affairs and Administration and director of the E-Governance Institute at Rutgers University in Newark. http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~egovinst/Website/researchpg.htm.

The study systematically utilizes the comprehensive Rutgers E-Governance Performance Index by classifying 98 measures into five categories: privacy, usability, content, service and citizen participation. Evaluating each state’s website to examine how citizens interact with their government online, the survey assesses the strengths and weaknesses of each state in terms of the five areas.

Maine’s website (www.maine.gov), ranked first in the categories of service and citizen participation, is a good example of government effectively engaging citizens online and providing services that increase efficiency and effectiveness. The website enables users to file taxes, apply for licenses, pay tickets and fines, apply for permits, file complaints and report crimes. Utah ranks first in the category of usability, while South Carolina and Massachusetts rank first in the categories of content and privacy, respectively.

The E-Governance Survey highlights states’ focus on privacy, usability and content, and the need for further attention in the area of service and citizen participation. More than two-thirds of all states evaluated have websites with emergency management features or alert mechanisms (severe weather, epidemics, etc.), and approximately 37 % provide disability access for the blind.

States have yet to recognize the importance of involving and supporting citizen participation online. Only 11% of all states evaluated provide online bulletin board or chat capabilities for gathering citizen input on public issues, and 10% of states evaluated provide online discussion forums. A promising finding, however, is the growing tendency among states to publish performance measurement data on their websites.

Among the regional rankings, the states in the Northeast ranked highest with an average score of 53.59. Those in the South ranked second with a score of 50.94, followed by the Midwest and West with scores of 48.36 and 48.31, respectively.

The continued study of states nationwide, with the next evaluation planned in 2010, will further provide insights into the direction and performance of e-governance throughout the United States. The Rutgers E-Governance Institute will also be conducting its fourth Global E-Governance Survey in the fall of 2009, evaluating the status of e-governance in the largest municipalities in 100 of the world’s most “wired” countries. The E-Governance Institute is a program of the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University in Newark, which U.S. News & World Report recently ranked 9th in Information and Technology among graduate programs in public affairs and administration in the United States.

ABOUT RUTGERS SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND ADMINISTRATION

Founded in 2006, the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers University in Newark is the first new school established at Rutgers University in more than 20 years. SPAA’s mission encompasses competence, diversity, knowledge and service, and the school equips future leaders and educators with the tools necessary to efficiently and effectively deliver government services. It is the only such school at a public university in New Jersey. SPAA enhances New Jersey’s capacity to develop more effective government at all levels, offering degree and non-degree programs, research and technical assistance to make government more transparent to citizens. The school’s many initiatives include a national network on performance measurement and reporting, a municipal public performance measurement system, and the development of the E-Governance Institute. For more information on SPAA, visit http://spaa.newark.rutgers.edu.

 

Marc Holzer

mholzer@rutgers.edu