The challenge with social media will be how to safe-guard confidential information while still maintaining a meaningful two-way dialogue between the government and its citizens, according to Chong Kok Keong, senior vice president, CEO's Office, CrimsonLogic. Chong shares with Computerworld Singapore how e-government is evolving in Singapore.
1) How would you rate the overall e-government in Singapore?
Singapore is one of the most advanced governments embracing e-government and has topped the Waseda University World e-Government Ranking for three years in a row from 2009-2011. This ranking measures the use of Government 2.0, and government interest in green ICT issues, cloud computing and virtualisation.
With the announcement of the eGov 2015 Master Plan, Singapore has taken steps to address the changing landscape of technology, increasing popularity of social media, growing number of technology savvy citizens, and the constant push for better collaboration.
The plan is for the organisation to be transformed into a 'collaborative government that co-creates and connects' with its people. It will also focus on three strategic thrusts - to co-create, connect and catalyse.
The enablement of 'co-creation' initiatives through mGov and data.gov.sg, allows for the active participation from both citizens and business users to create new e-services in collaboration with the government. Continuing on its next phase of the mGov programme, the government is now looking towards providing an even more enhanced mobile experience.
The 'connect' initiative provides the platform to engage citizens through social media, while the 'catalyst' initiative focuses on the collaboration within and outside the government, which leads to more partnerships with the private sectors to drive innovation, much like a Public-Private-Partnership model.
Looking ahead, Singapore continues to push the technology barrier with innovative solutions that will predict and anticipate the needs of citizens. An 'anticipatory government' can push government services to go the extra mile by profiling the needs of citizens and bringing the engagement experience to a new level.
2) People are saying the most mature model for e-government is where citizens have multi-directional dialogues with government agencies, and they receive relevant unique data based on their profiles. How relevant is such a model to Singapore's government and citizens?
The e-government engagement model is constantly evolving. It really depends on the maturity of the country, the IT infrastructure and how tech savvy its citizens are.
As for Singapore, the citizens are generally tech savvy, well-travelled and expect a more customised approach to services. A one-size fits all approach/model is not going to enhance government-to-citizen engagement. Agencies need to have a wide overview of the different citizen profiles in order to manage change policies and efficient delivery of e-government services.
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