Rutgers-San Francisco State University Municipal E-Governance Survey Ranks Seattle #1
Seattle, St. Paul, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C. Achieve Top Rankings in Municipal E-Governance Survey
A national survey of city websites has identified Seattle as the top-ranked city in the performance of municipal e-governance. The research study was conducted jointly by the E-Governance Institute, School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University Newark, and the Department of Public Administration at San Francisco State University. The survey evaluated municipal websites in the areas of privacy, usability, content, service, and citizen participation, and ranked the cities nationally. Co-sponsored by the Public Technology Institute, the study listed the following cities among the top five in digital governance: Seattle, St. Paul, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C.
“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 municipal service delivery,” states Dr. Marc Holzer, Dean of the School of Public Affairs and Administration and Executive Director of the E-Governance Institute at Rutgers University in Newark.
“Seattle’s website is a great example of how government attracts civic engagement,” adds Dr. Alan Shark, executive director and chief executive officer of the Public Technology Institute. “The site motivates citizens to participate and the input from the community helps government to improve its performance and serve citizens and visitors better.”
Based on the evaluation, the 10 highest-ranking cities in the Rutgers E-Governance Survey:
The study systematically utilizes the comprehensive Rutgers E-Governance Performance Index by classifying 104 measures into five categories: privacy, usability, service, content, and citizen participation. Evaluating each municipality’s website to examine how citizens interact with their government online, the survey highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each municipality in terms of the five areas and then ranks the municipalities within each category and on an overall basis.
Seattle has been ranked first overall in the category of citizen participation. The Seattle’s website http://www.seattle.gov/ is a prime example of government effectively engaging citizens online a subscription option is available for citizens to learn about recent events. Citizens can choose to follow the news of the mayor, the council, the police department, and so on. Phone numbers and email addresses of government departments and public officials are presented on the website for the public to submit comments, report concerns, and request information or services. Their comments and requests can also be tracked by citizens to clearly know their status. All these efforts make participation more effective and efficient. Seattle was also ranked in the top 10 in privacy, usability, and content.
The e-governance study highlights municipalities’ focus on usability and content, and the need for further attention in the area of privacy, services and citizen participation. About 47% of cities have targeted audience links to enable visitors to conveniently locate the information they need, and approximately 13% provide disability access for the blind. Cities have yet to recognize the importance of involving and supporting citizen participation online. Only 22% of municipalities provide an online discussion forum for the public to discuss issues of concern and about 39% provide a mechanism allowing comments or feedback through online forms to individual departments/agencies.
Among the regional rankings, the cities in the Midwest ranked highest with an average score of 52.10. Those in the West ranked second with a score of 45.04, followed by the South and Northeast with scores of 44.49 and 40.25, respectively. The Midwestern cities also ranked the highest on average, in all five categories.
Average Score of Cities by Region
The continued study of municipalities nationwide will further provide insight in the direction and performance of e-governance throughout the United States. The Rutgers E-Governance Institute also conducts its Global E-Governance Survey, 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 4th in Information and Technology among graduate programs in public affairs and administration in the United States.
Visit the E-Governance website at http://spaa.newark.rutgers.edu/home/ncpp/institutes/e-governance-institute.html to access the U.S. Municipalities E-Governance Survey (2010-11) as well as the latest reports, articles, and publications on the best practices of e-governance around the world.
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The School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers-Newark educates and motivates students to choose careers in public service and administration through its innovative and comprehensive undergraduate, Master of Public Administration (MPA), Executive MPA, PhD, and professional and graduate certificate programs. The school’s faculty generates knowledge and best practices in public service and administration, and collaborates with public and nonprofit sector organizations and professionals throughout the U.S. and the world. Guided by the principles of knowledge, competence, diversity, and service – with an emphasis on public service values and competencies for effective performance – SPAA promotes accountability, transparency, and performance in the public and nonprofit sectors.
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