A draft strategy is investigating ways to increase online access to local government information and improve public participation in decisions.
Enhanced consultation with the public is a significant requirement of local authorities in upcoming legislation. The emphasis of the strategy document is on “access, innovation, participation and leadership”.
The document is an output of a long awareness of the need for consistent e-local government resources.
Easy access means a set of core information provided by all councils and accessible through their own website and the central government portal, a “best-practice model” for presenting and updating non-core information, and a set of templates for the standard information which all councils provide, for example, annual and district plan processes, bylaws and rating.
Options for transactional systems, online billing and secure payment systems are being formulated, and are scheduled to be completed by the end of this month.
A review of global best practice on applications will lead to establishment of a pool of applicable front- and back-office applications software, to help councils fulfil the “innovation” objective.
Templates and best-practice models are also being sought for online public consultation, to fulfil the “participation” aims.
“Leadership” embraces several ways of encouraging the local business community to think and implement e-business; these range from council-run seminars on various aspects of the topic to development of local government e-procurement systems.
The strategy is being drawn up jointly by the Association of Local Government Information Managers (ALGIM) the Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM), Local Government New Zealand and a joint body established by the first two, Local Government Online (LGOL).
It is due to reach its final form in the next few months, but some of the objectives, such as the definition of core services, are already marked in the current draft as completed.