Mikhail Doroshevich, Marina Sokolova
A second analysis of eGovernment in Belarus conducted by of e-Belarus.org has shown that little progress has been indicated in comparison with the previous year. The review of 2004 was based on standard ideal e-government criteria and showed that the majority of governmental agencies websites gave thematically organized content that duplicated offline information. Only 6 percent of websites presented some specific information accessible only online. 56 percent gave only minimal information making it possible to contact government officials via telephone or ordinary mail. Only 3 percent of websites made governmental bodies more accessible and 4 percent provide some online services.
The new study aimed at measuring the quality of government -to- citizen online communications within the national context (rather than to compare it with ideal standards)- including 3 major areas: access to information, engaging or representing citizens, e-services functions- on national, regional and district levels.
According to the data collected, a general profile of Belarusian e-government may be presented in the following way: national executive government body providing static (informing) and dynamic (non-interactive e-service) information about governmental structure. Regional and district institutions web-sites are very few in number though in many cases provide almost the same level of e- informing and e-participation.
55 percent of governmental websites represent national bodies, 11 percent represent regional and 34 - district administrations. 22 percent of all websites are not updated. The majority of governmental agencies websites give thematically organized content that duplicates offline information. 45 percent give only minimal information making it possible to contact government officials via telephone or ordinary mail. 34 percent of websites make governmental bodies more accessible (possibility to apply online, and/or forums, discussions or forms for complaints) and 4 percent provide some interactive online services.
Significant improvement of government agencies accessibility as compared to the 2004 survey data (3 and 34 percent respectively) is explained by two major reasons: 1) "softer criteria"; 2) growing portion of district websites. Thus it may be stated that the general situation with the accessibility has not changed significantly. On the other hand a smaller portion of websites providing only minimal information (45 percent in 2005 and 56 percent in 2004) indicates that more websites give specific information accessible only online. And the level of interactive e - services remains the same (4 percent).
The analysis shows that Internet potential is not yet used fully to bridge the gap between citizens and governmental institutions. The general trend of e-government official initiatives indicated by the study may be defined as "one way communication with some possibilities of feedback". There are no plans to develop and support financially a large-scale modernization strategy and action plan to re-engineering back-office in the interest of front-office in view of the latest technologies and greater openness and a need for new services. Meanwhile interactivity as a major characteristic of e-government can be accomplished if only the back-office of the government truly reformed and the government wants more transparency and better services for people and businesses.
Download the report for free. Download the electronic version of Belarusian government agencies online (a survey of web sites) free of charge.
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