September 2008

e-Government in Korea : An Overview

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e-GOVERNMENT BACKGROUND AND STRATEGIES

Vision and Goals

President Roh Moo-hyun showed ?rm resolve over promoting government innovation by connecting it with the implementation of e-Government in order to maximise the effects of government innovation.

“It is now necessary to improve the way the government works, and to innovate its business processes… to lead smooth transformation of government functions and organisations… Moreover, we must put our utmost efforts into achieving clear and transparent administration through e-Government. (First National Agenda meeting, April 17, 2003).

In 2003, the Special Committee on e-Government was organised under the Presidential Committee on Government Innovation and Decentralisation(PCGID) for establishing principles of e-Government promotion, and announced the e-Government Roadmap Projects upon expert review.

The e-Government Roadmap Projects present grand ambitions for achieving the national vision and goals of Korea, which include (1) the realising of a participatory democracy, (2) establishing balanced social development, (3) promoting the era of Northeast Asia, and (4) achieving a per capita income of USD 20,000. In doing so, the goals of e-Government have been set; innovating service delivery, enhancing ef?ciency and transparency and promoting democracy in administration, coinciding with the vision of achieving the “World’s Best Open e-Government”.

The phrase “World’s Best” refers to the realisation of Korea as one of the world’s most developed nations based on its recent achievements in ICT areas. “Open e-Government” refers to increasing citizens’ participation by realising transparent and responsible public administration. With special focus on “transparency”, the government opens information on government policy such as its implications and policy-making processes to the public, making citizens well informed and ensuring a balanced distribution of information among the government and citizens.

As described below in table 1-1, the e-Government projects have been evaluated on the basis of a result-oriented management model, comparing the level of e-Government in 2003 and the expected results to be achieved by 2008.

In addition to these goals, the government set target ranks for key performance indexes provided by international organisations such as the United Nations (UN), Transparency International(TI) and International Data Corporation(IDC).

HISTORY OF e-GOVERNMENT PROMOTION

e-Government Before the Roh Administration

Since 1987, Korea has made consistent efforts to achieve strategic goals set for e-Government by starting to digitise services related to matters of residence, real estate and vehicles under the National Basic Information Systems Project. The Korea Information Infrastructure (KII) Project for building an information super-highway was also launched in the 1990s, under which each ministry promoted digitisation, especially in the areas of patents, procurement, customs and national tax. In addition to this, the government selected 11 e-Government initiatives, and established common and integrated infrastructure among government agencies including single-window civil services, a comprehensive national procurement system, and a national ?nance system. The history of e-Government promotion in Korea is outlined in table 1-3.

As a result of consistent efforts, the level of informatisation reached the advanced stage in terms of its function and ministerial unit, and such areas as civil application, tax, procurement, and customs had begun to be processed electronically, with integrated online services partially provided. Nevertheless, such results not begun to be felt by citizens due to the supplier-oriented and fragmented nature of informatisation projects. Improving work processes had been underestimated in digitisation, while of?ine-based laws and customs lingered on. In addition, providing seamless one-stop service to citizens seemed to confront challenges since information-sharing among government agencies was hindered in part by a unwillingness to share, which led to little contribution to e-Government results as a tool for government innovation. Embracing more expectation for e-Government results, the government adopted e-Government as a key national agenda in 2003.

e-GOVERNMENT IN THE ROH ADMINISTratION

Upon his inauguration in 2003, President Roh prepared policy measures to further develop national informatisation and e-Government projects promoted by previous administrations. To promote government innovation in a more comprehensive and systematic way, the Presidential Committee on Government Innovation and Decentralisation (PCGID) was established to deal with such issues as e-Government, administrative reform, local decentralisation and tax reform.

In 2003, the ‘Roh Administration e-Government Vision and Principles’ was announced, followed by the ‘e-Government Roadmap’. The e-Government Roadmap is composed of four areas of innovation, 10 agendas and 31 projects as shown below in table 1-4.

IMPLEMENTATION FRAMEWORK

The Technical Committee on e-Government under the PCGID carried out the development, deliberation, and coordination of the e-Government Roadmap projects during initial stages. The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs (MOGAHA) provided administrative assistance while the National Information Society Agency (NIA) conducted project management along with technical advice. Each government agency was assigned to perform and implement plans that were designed by the Committee.

With the necessity to strengthen the authority and position of the ministry responsible constantly being raised for ef?cient and responsible e-Government implementation, the development, coordination, and management of e-Government projects has been performed by MOGAHA as the projects entered into full-scale implementation. The Special Committee on e-Government focused on advising and evaluating e-Government projects.

BUDGET

The budget for informatisation in 2006 is USD 3.4 billion, of which, approximately USD 917 million (26.7%) will be invested into e-Government implementation and USD 9.5 million (2.8%) into narrowing the digital divide. The budget will be allocated, prioritising the areas that would achieve substantial results such as time saving for work processing, reduction in paper-based documents and savings in administrative and social costs.

As shown in table 1-6, the budget for e-Government Roadmap projects in 2006, integrated and managed by MOGAHA, is approximately USD 276 million – 30.1% of the entire e-Government budget. During the period from 2003 to 2007, total budget of USD 981 million is expected to be allocated into e-Government implementation.

Since 2005, the e-Government budget was transferred from the ICT promotion fund to the general account, and the budget for each Roadmap project is executed by the National Information Society Agency after being coordinated by MOGAHA and deliberated by a deliberation committee.

GLOBAL EVALUATION AND GLOBAL COOPERATION ON e-GOVERNMENT

Global Evaluation on e-Government

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) has compiled the e-Readiness Index and e-Participation Index on e-Government since 2003 that are recognised as some of the world’s most authoritative indices in terms of e-Government evaluation.

Korea ranked ?fth in the e-Readiness Index for two consecutive years, 2004 and 2005, which is a signi? cant achievement after being 13th in 2003. In terms of web-level, Korea ranked third, climbing one notch from fourth after being highly evaluated in e-Commerce and integrated processing. Korea’s ICT infrastructure index climbed from 12th to 9th. As for the human resources index, Korea came in 12th with a ranking of 0.97 point. Korea’s e-Government achieved 80 percent of utilisation at stage V, ‘networked presence’, with 90 percent at stage IV, ‘transactional presence’, which has been evaluated under the  category of ‘Service Delivery by Stages’ in the UN Global e-Government Readiness Report. Nevertheless, further service functions need to be developed in such areas as e-Commerce, e-Payment for credit card users, and feedback for e-Discussion and participation in policy-making.

For better evaluation of e-Government, the indicators used by the UN could be incorporated into websites run by Korean government agencies, along with the expanding of global cooperation and PR activities. These activities also include releasing e-Government newsletters to introduce performance and good practices, and enhancing the English versions of websites.

GLOBAL COOPERATION ON e-GOVERNMENT

International organisations such as the OECD and UN host various international events related to e-Government, recognising it as a signi?cant tool for better citizen service delivery and ef?cient administration. The Korean government has and will continue to actively participate in these events. Re?ecting this international trend, the Global Cooperation Of?ce was newly organised directly under the Of?ce of the Vice Minister in November 2005. Since its launch, Korea hosted four different conferences, inviting e-Government experts from international organisations such as the UN and ASEAN. These international activities will offer opportunities for Korea to introduce its e-Government to the world. Korea will establish and carry out PR planning, so that Korea’s  e-Government activities and its status can be well known to the world.

 GLOBAL COOPERATION ON e-GOVERNMENT

International organisations such as the OECD and UN has and will continue to actively participate in these events. experts from international organisations such as the UN and ASEAN. These international activities will offer opportunities Index on e-Government since 2003 that are recognised as Korea ranked ?fth in the e-Readiness Index for two consecutive years, 2004 and 2005, which is a signi? cant level, Korea ranked third, climbing one notch from fourth processing. Korea’s ICT infrastructure index climbed from 12th to 9th. As for the human resources index, Korea came Korea’s e-Government achieved 80 percent of utilisation at stage V, ‘networked presence’, with 90 percent at stage IV, ‘transactional presence’, which has been evaluated under the functions need to be developed in such areas as e-Commerce, e-Payment for credit card users, and feedback for e-Discussion Korean government agencies, along with the expanding of include releasing e-Government newsletters to introduce host various international events related to e-Government, recognising it as a signi?cant tool for better citizen service delivery and ef?cient administration.

The Korean government Re?ecting this international trend, the Global Cooperation Of?ce was newly organised directly under the Of?ce of the Vice Minister in November 2005. Since its launch, Korea hosted four different conferences, inviting e-Government for Korea to introduce its e-Government to the world.

Korea will establish and carry out PR planning, so that Korea’s  e-Government activities and its status can be well known to the world.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR e-GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENT

The paradigm for government has shifted from control and management to ef?ciency, transparency and participation through innovation, and the government’s function and citizens’ role in the society has changed. Taken together, the future direction for e-Government needs to be considered and re?ned, based on government innovation undertaken by the Roh administration. The relationship between governments and citizens would be changed into that of partners, rather than a supplier-bene?ciary relationship, and the government’s role also into a coordinator, rather than a governor. For this purpose, the government of the future requires four different factors: digitisation, responsiveness, ? exibility and governance. Digitisation can be facilitated by the use of new technologies. Responsiveness means continuously seeking innovation performance, responding to rapid changes, and ?exibility refers to accelerating and adapting to change. Finally governance contains the changes in the government’s role from a governor to a coordinator.

The future e-Government is being developed towards seamless and consolidated services, based on the e-Government projects that have been promoted so far. In addition, a new master plan for e-Democracy where citizens can actively participate in policy-making and execution would also be necessary.

The new e-Government strategies will be taken into account from various perspectives, especially in terms of strategy, e-Government services, citizens’ e-Participation and strengthened infrastructure for
e-Government.

In terms of the strategic side of e-Government, it ? rst should continuously evolve and develop, and its new value created. Service innovation and participation expansion, being the vision and goals of the Roh administration, should evolve and develop with trends over time, and administrative ef?ciency and increased transparency should be maintained as to achieve substantial performance. Second, e-Government and administrative innovation should be interconnected by a framework. Aiming at providing all government information and services via the Internet, electronic services should be developed in a wide range of areas including education, employment, medical care, government procurement, business service, social security, and tax; and a close relationship between e-Government strategies and innovation is needed. Third, a performance evaluation system and feedback system on e-Government should be prepared. Goals should be clearly de?ned together with continuous motivation, and it is very important to establish and carry out systems that can maximise investment performance in connection with budget.

In terms of e-Government services, it is necessary, ?rst, to step up accessibility to information. Using the customisable service functions of portals, users should be able to individualise government information and services as they wish, thereby achieving enhanced service convenience. Second, administrative work and the horizontal and vertical connection of e-Government systems should be consolidated. The services of each ministry must undergo process innovation from providing services on a 1:1 relationship to seamless and integrated services on a 1:n relationship, enabling continuous and batch processing. Moreover, in order to establish services that citizens and businesses want, it is required to prepare consolidation principles and standards from a service perspective based on the government business reference model. More speci?c forms of business processes to provide integrated services will then be drawn up based on such principles and standards.

In terms of strengthening citizen participation in e-Government, the expansion of online participation is required ?rst. By actively and comprehensively disclosing various forms of information, which have been partially disclosed so far, all administrative information on policy-making should be open electronically, and transparent administrative services developed that can gain public understanding and validity.

Second, it is required that citizen-oriented e-Governance be established. By establishing an electronic path through which citizens and citizen groups can participate with responsibility and authority as partners on the same level as the government in policy-making procedures, e-Democracy should be achieved to actively guarantee public participation. Also, a foundation should be built for e-Governance, privacy protection, expansion of online participation in all the policy-making procedures, and improvement of electronic information welfare rights guaranteeing service quality.

In terms of strengthening e-Government infrastructure, a government-wide information resource management system should be the ? rst precedent. Since it is necessary to promote strategies that strengthen the interconnection between innovation and informatisation, the advancement of e-Government requires active implementation of inter-ministerial policies such as diversifying policy information, expanding the sharing of administrative databases, and constructing and operating a knowledge management system. Second, new information technologies such as ubiquitous technology should be utilised. e-Government should now actively transform to a mobile-based M-Government, which is adaptable to various mobile environmental changes, and to a TV-based T-Gov, which provides e-Government services to homes via TV. In addition to developing these technologies, it is also necessary to close the digital divide and thoroughly attend to issues on fostering security.

Third, information security should be taken into consideration. In order to achieve an all-time accessible ubiquitous environment, infrastructure should be ?rst established with information security being taken into account. As the scale of informatisation and the government’s dependence on informatised processes increase, it is urgent to seek measures to enhance business process continuity through prioritising security in information systems and informatisation infrastructure.

Fourth, it is necessary to strengthen the e-Government implementation framework. This is required to expand and institutionalise participation from leading private businesses for guiding e-Government projects and contribute to the growth of the domestic IT industry. Facilitating outsourcing in project implementation and management as well as developing diverse and active cooperative models with private businesses, which have expertise and capacity, would provide the best opportunities to enhance national strength in the era of digital convergence.

In the end, the future e-Government will greatly enhance the reliability and transparency of the government, based on more ef?cient administration and improved service capacity for citizens. The people will be able to encounter an e-Government through which they can use government services and even participate in policy-making via diverse media anytime and anywhere.

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