Is Digitization the Key to Better Governance?
ORG regularly advocates for governance services that are transparent and responsive to the needs and interests of citizens. The Digitization of government processes is a common recommendation made by citizens on improving everyday public services. Across the world digitization is being used to transform government operations by increasing the productivity and timeliness of public services; improving intergovernmental communication; streamlining information management and providing secure means of conducting business. With this built capacity, the government is better positioned to serve citizens and carry out its daily operations.
Arguably one of the most important benefits of digitization is its tremendous value to the citizenry. Digital processes can shorten wait times and streamline government services, like requests for important documents. It also creates pathways for the government to collect citizen feedback on service and input on decision making processes, thus becoming a tool that operationalizes citizen engagement.
Digitization paves the road for good governance as it can improve transparency, efficiency, effectiveness, and access to information. It is a process that focuses on transforming operations, data and information into digital formats that are comprehensive, user-friendly and secure. It is known to be both a great challenge and opportunity for governments across the Caribbean. Prioritizing digitization is particularly pivotal for governance in The Bahamas, as it strengthens government operations and builds collaboration and participation among citizens.
ORG’s Citizen Charter project conducted a series of surveys that gathered input from citizens on several government agencies that were pertinent to sustaining and improving Bahamian livelihoods and this recommendation was among the most recurrent of suggestions made by nearly 1,200 survey respondents. ORG’s Citizen Charter is one of many applications of digitization with the potential to improve how people interact with the government daily.
Digital tools, such as the Charter, strengthen the relationship between citizens and government and improve public trust. With a greater measure of public trust, the government and citizens can all work together to improve the quality of life, and ease of doing business for Bahamians.
Implementing digital systems is a progressive process, but there are several standards that must be factored in to ensure that it is successful. Comprehensive budgeting is the first and it ensures that the cost of all aspects of the project including technology, maintenance, personnel, training and public education are considered. A second factor is widespread stakeholder engagement and public consultation. This ensures that any system that is developed meets the needs of all parties involved, thus creating a landscape that is responsive to the needs of the Bahamian people and the public service.
All in all, a brighter future for The Bahamas will be one in which digital transformation is fully embraced as a pertinent aspect of future developments.
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