Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise

Project Items

AIM Fellowship in Excellence in Public Services: E-Government

James Cornford is one of 12 fellows appointed under the joint ESRC/EPSRC Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM) Initiative on Excellence in Public Services. His fellowship is concerned with the problems of managing the integration of services at the local level. New information and communications technologies, developed within the context of private sector services sand loosely labelled as e-business technologies, are widely seen as having a key role to play in the modernisation of public services in the UK and around the world. In particular, they are seen as a key component in respect of two central aims of modernisation: the integration of service to overcome the geographically and functionally fractured nature of public services; and, the development of more "customer focused" services, built around the needs and preferences of citizens and businesses rather than the functional needs of government.Managing the implementation of such technologies, even within the realm of private services for which they have in general been designed, has proved difficult. Implementation requires not only the configuration of the technologies but also the restructuring of business processes and working practices. There is growing evidence that their transfer to public sector, in the context of a major change programmes such as modernisation, presents even greater challenges. The range public service agencies, each with their own professions and traditions, coupled with the range of types of interaction with citizens suggests even greater complexity and challenge. This fellowship will seek to delineate and analyse the various dimensions of that challenge as well as help to construct appropriate networks of actors from public services and e-technology suppliers to develop new approaches to tackling this challenge.The empirical focus of the project is on public services at the local level. While estimates suggest that some 80% of citizen-government interaction is at the local and regional scale, academic interest has been largely focused on e-government at the national level.