Local government: e-gnoramuses

I reckon that most of the money invested by local and regional government in providing e-services, ranging from bog-standard pages for rural councils to the more ambitious attempts seen here in Barcelona, was wasted. This is because most projects served either as a means to funnel money to new media businesses set up by the nephews of the politicians who signed the deals or because the web was seen as a fashion accessory, not a practical tool, and absolutely no thought was put into issues like updating and support.

VilaWeb tells us this morning that a group of investigators from the school of Political Sciences and Public Administration at Pompeu Fabra University has demonstrated in a study, Els ajuntaments de Catalunya a Internet. Un estudi comparat de les págines web (2000-2003), that 70% of municipalities in Catalonia don’t reply to email sent by the public (in this case requests for information re accommodation and tourism in the area). Apparently, while 62% of councils had sites in 2000, that figure has now risen to 78%. That is very bad news, because more sites mean more dashed expectations.

So what’s the solution? Take the management of projects of this nature out of the hands of local councils and comarcas (administrative districts), and buy more Microsoft solutions? Or reduce the role of local and regional government, slashing their large and wasteful involvement in the tourist industry?

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