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JURNAL Administrasi Publik

PKP2A II LAN MAKASSAR

E-Government As An Instrument To Enhance Accountability


NUR ANA SEJATI*

ABSTRACT
Kemajuan teknologi informasi dan komunikasi yang ditandai dengan ditemukannya Internet telah mengubah pola interaksi dalam masyarakat.. Transaksi yang mudah dan cepat adalah wujud nyata dari manfaat yang diperoleh konsumen setelah perusahaan-perusahaan menggunakan teknologi informasi dan komunikasi. Dalam organisasi sektor publik, pemerintah pun mulai mengembangkan e-government yang diyakini akan dapat memperbaiki pelayanan yang diberikan kepada masyarakat. Masyarakat di negara maju dapat menikmati layanan perijinan ataupun pembayaran pajak melalui system online yang dapat diakses dengan internet. Di Indonesia, hampir seluruh pemerintah daerah telah membangun website yang dapat digunakan sebagai media untuk menyampaikan informasi kepada masyarakat atas pelaksanaan kegiatan-kegiatan yang dilaksanakan oleh pemerintah. Paper berikut akan mencoba menganalisis hubungan antara penerapan e-governement dan akuntabilitas pemerintah. Selain itu, paper ini juga akan melihat factor-faktor apa saja yang dapat mendorong pemerintah untuk meningkatkan akuntabilitasnya.
Kata kunci: teknologi informasi dan komunikasi, pelayanan publik, akuntabilitas

A. Introduction The demand for more accountable government has been increasing steadily over the last three decades (Mulgan 2003, p. 2). Public organisations are deemed to be ineffective and inefficient in providing service delivery to their citizens. As a result, governments face declining public trust and growing pressure from citizens to give the public access to the government activities. As a response, many governments reform their bureaucracy and adopt New Public Management (NPM) values. Part of the reform is the adoption of web-based technology to deliver government services (Pina, Torress & Royo 2007, p. 450). In 2000,
*Auditor Ahli Pada BPKP Perwakilan Sulawesi Selatan

168 national governments have their own website (CyPRG cited in Wong & Welch 2004, p. 275). La Porte, Demchack and de Jong (2002, p. 419-420) reveal that South West Asia, Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Pacific have experienced strong growth in the number of government agencies online. Embracing web-technology, hence, is not dominated by developed countries, but also developing countries. E-government which enables on-line interaction between citizen and government are not only considered to improve efficiency for government in managing resources but also to reduce transaction cost for the citizen. The adoption

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Nur Ana Sejati of e-government can be seen from the burgeoning local government websites over the last five years. Currently, most local governments has developed their websites. To what extent e-government enhance accountability? This paper will argue that the development e-government is supposed to increase government accountability by giving more openness for the public to examine government administration. On the other hand, evidence suggests although some governments have successfully improve service delivery by developing egovernment, accountability remain unchanged. This paper will also try to explore the development of e-government in Indonesia, specifically at local government level, to examine its effect on accountability. B. T h e o r e t i c a l U n d e r p i n n i n g E government The EU defines e-government as the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in public administrations combined with organisational change and new skills in order to improve public services (European Commission 2003, p.567). Over the last decade the advancement technologies does not only change the way people interact and communicate but also the way governments deliver public services. The adoption information technology in government has begun since management information system introduced to provide reliable and timeliness information for the decision makers. In this stage the use of information technology is limited to strengthen government administration. For instance, the use of information system for preparing financial statement enables government to monitor budget realisation anytime. The internet breakthrough, then, enables government to have on-line interaction with the public. With regard to the definition of egovernment by the EU, e-government is not only limited to on-line interaction between government and the public but also how the government improve public service delivery by exploiting information and communication technology. Governments basically can reap the benefit of the adoption of e-government. Chadwick and May (2003, p. 276) maintain that e-government makes public service more efficient and reduces costs of service delivery. The adoption of e-government in the U.S, Britain, and the European Union is also motivated by the reduction of cost in response to efficiency gain (2003, p. 272). Online tax returns, benefit claims, updating personal information as well as one stop shop are more economic to fulfil online, rather than manually. The involvement of citizens in self-service admittedly cuts cost for administration done by staff. As a result, governments have more flexibility in resource-allocation result from the cost reductions. Citizens, on the other hand, obtain benefits from time-saving when they deal with public organisations. Accountability The presence of e-government enables government to recapture public trust on its administration by enhancing accountability. Mulgan (2003, p.2) defines accountability as a method to keep the public informed and held the government in

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Nur Ana Sejati check. Accountability is basically intended to prevent institution from harming the public interests (2003, p. 14). Hence, holding the government accountable can prevent them from those who wield authority committing any arbitrary actions. To be accountable implies an obligation to answer for any action or inaction and to be responsible for the consequences (Cooper cited in Roberts 2002, p. 658). To meet accountability, governments have to provide information about many aspects of governance. In short openness is a prerequisite to held government accountable. Only a few studies, however, try to measure openness through websites. Openness is defined as the extent to which an organisation provides comprehensive information about all aspects of its organisations and maintains communication directly with its audience (La Porte, Demchak, De Jong 2002, p. 414). In this sense, openness requires governments to make information about their administration available publicly. Open governments also provide access to the public to participate in government. Without openness, it would be difficult for the public to monitor and evaluate government activities. Government basically can use websites as a medium to enhance accountability by making the information about resources management available and improving communication with the public. C. P u b l i c A d m i n i s t r a t i o n a n d E government in Indonesia Public Administration Reform Public administration in Indonesia has changed considerably since the last decade. The fall of the authoritarian regime in 1998, under Soeharto, has paved the way to reform bureaucracy. The decentralisation process has changed the relation between central and local government significantly. Some legislation has been promulgated to ensure that decentralisation produces better service delivery to the public. Law number 32, 2004 on Local Government gives local government considerable autonomy to manage their resources, financial, human, and natural resources. The government has also reformed its financial management to be more transparent and accountable. Law number 17, 2003 on State Finance mandates public organisation, including local government, to adopt performance-based budgeting. The new budgeting system requires local governments to prepare budget using inputs, outputs and outcomes approach so that every activity can be accounted for. Moreover, Law number 32, 2004 also obliges local government to produce budget statement, balance sheet, cash flows and accountability report. Local governments have to make the reports publicly by issuing local government regulation on financial accountability. E-Government in Indonesia Hand in hand with the reform, Indonesian government promulgated presidential instruction number 3, 2003

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Nur Ana Sejati about the policy and strategy to develop egovernment. The objectives of the development of e-government based on the regulation is to provide information and online transaction, to establish interactive communication with businesses to accelerate economic growth, to develop mechanism for the public to participate in formulating policy, and to improve transparency and efficiency in managing resources. These objectives are also represent the stages in the development of e-government respectively, preparation, maturity, well-developed and utilization. At the firs stage, e-government is developed by creating websites to provide information and communication while at the maturity stage, government institutions are expected to be able to create interactive website which enables the public to convey their ideas. Building online transaction will then be achieved at the third stage. Finally, designing software to support service delivery for government to government (G2G), government to business (G2B) and government to customers (G2C) (Soendjojo, 2005). The issuance of the regulation has encouraged public organisations to develop their websites. Not only does national government agencies develop websites, provincial as well as municipal governments also try to engage with the Internet. In 1998, Indonesia had 55 national government websites and 1 local government websites (La Porte, Demchak & De Jong 2003). Five years onwards, after the policy introduced, the number of government websites had increased considerably. Among 470 provincial and municipal governments, 224 have government websites (Depkominfo, 2004). As regards quality, evaluation of the national government websites across countries indicates that Indonesia is still left behind. Based on the evaluation conducted by UNDPEPA and ASPA in 2001, Indonesia is classified in the enhanced presence, the second stage over five in terms of web presence (Ronaghan 2002). Indonesia only achieved 1.34 as regards e-government index, below global index among United Nations (UN) countries, 1.62. This is even far below that of some developing countries, such as 2.16 for Mexico, 2.03 for Chile and 1.92 for Venezuela. The evaluation is based on three measures, infrastructure, web presence, and human capital measure. With regard to openness, Indonesian national websites also do not perform well. Evaluation done by CyPRG (La Porte, Demchak and De Jong, 2002) reveals that their interactivity and transparency component are two and six respectively. It is far below the highest rank, Denmark, with just above 6 and 13 for its interactivity and transparency. Indonesian government openness is even below other developing countries, such as Bangladesh, Argentina a n d S r i L a n ka . F u r t h e r m o r e , t h e International Budget Project (2002) assesses Indonesian Budget Index 2002 only achieved 41 percent out of possible 100 percent. This suggests that the Indonesian national government has not provided sufficient information about budget as well as other financial statements. Evaluation of local government websites, on the other hand, suggest that the implementation of e-government in

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Nur Ana Sejati some local government go beyond standard. Following the President Instruction number 3, 2003, the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) has formulated some guidance to develop local government websites. The guidance constitutes the infrastructure requirements as well as the content of the web. Evaluation on the local governments websites conducted by MIC suggests that the development of egovernments is still in the first stage, namely preparation (Soendjojo, 2003). However, MIC also suggests that several local governments websites are more interactive while others do not seems to consider that websites could improve service delivery, as represented by their websites (Depkominfo 2004). The evaluation conducted by the MIC is done by considering the function, quality, layout and innovation. Sragen District is the example of innovative local government which paved the way to generate the benefits from the adoption of e-government. The development of e-government in the local government began with the development of local area network which was built to integrate information system in the local government agencies in 2003. Currently, 20 subdistricts and 208 villages have been connected with the network. The use of information and technology in this districts can also be seen from the service delivered to the public. While the public in other districts takes some days to process identity card (ID), citizens in Sragen only needs five minutes to process their ID card. The simplicity in dealing public services can be find when to public processes permits. The effects of the use of ICTs in public services on the economy in the district is that the number of investment increase significantly. The simplicity and the low cost charged for processing some permits are conducive in encouraging people to set up businesses. This inescapably contribute to accelerate economic activities which then increase the economic growth. C. D o e s e - g o v e r n m e n t e n h a n c e accountability? The development of e-government of Indonesia seems to be focused on improving service delivery rather than increasing accountability. The development of e-government varies across local governments in Indonesia. Most local governments has tried to adopt management information system to provide timeliness and accurate information to change manual system, such as for preparing financial statement and payroll. Evaluation on e-government conducted by Warta Ekonomi suggests that the best performer, has adopt e-procurement, use online system in tax payment and identity card, and evoting (Maulidin, 2009). Nevertheless, most local governments in Indonesia have not tried to enhance accountability by e-government. Examining local governments websites suggests that most local governments tend to use websites as a media to inform the public about their activities. Only a few local governments provide information about budget and some documents, such as financial reports on their websites. The prerequisite to hold government accountable is the availability of information about resource management. In this sense web-openness which represents how

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Nur Ana Sejati governments allow the public to access information about government administration have not been addressed. Hence, the development of e-government is not likely to have clear relationship with the increase in accountability. Factors Influencing Accountability The adoption of ICTs may enhance accountability but it is not the driving factors for local governments to do so. Income, education, civil society and the presence of freedom of information act are factors influencing accountability. Existing literatures have proposed income, government expenditure, education, democracy, culture, and economic openness as factors explaining openness (La Porte, Demchak, De Jong 2002; Wong & Welch, 2001, 2004). However, among those factors, only income, economic openness and civil service system are statistically significantly associated with openness. The level of national income is seen to be the factor affecting website openness. National income provides supply and demand mechanism in the quality of e-government. Governments will be able to afford advance technologies as well as infrastructure, such as electricity and telecommunication, to support their administration. Realizing the benefits of e-government, government will be motivated to enhance the quality of their websites. Chadwick and May (2003) argue that e-government will enhance service delivery because it increases speed of delivery as well as reduces costs. As a result, governments are able to provide service delivery in more efficient and effective way. In the demand side, the higher the level of households' income the more likely they demand for better governments. Rich households are able to access the internet from their house. Moreover, they also have more time and capacity to be involved in monitoring the government. In contrast, low income households tend to devote their income to survive. Education is supposed to motivate citizens to demand open government. Education facilitates people to obtain more information so that they realize their citizenry by involving in monitoring government activities. Verba (2003) argues that education fosters activity through its effect on skills, resources, information, values, networks, and more. Education provides skills to use advanced technology, such as the internet, so that citizens are able to have transaction with governments online. Therefore, it is expected that the higher the level of education, the higher the demand for open government. An o th er facto rs influ en cin g accountability is the presence of civil society. Putnam (cited in Claibourn & Martin 2007, p. 1993) shows that the existence of social capital, norms, trusts and networking, has a strong relationship with the responsiveness of government on Italian regional government. The successful i n s t i t u t i o n a l p e r fo r m a n c e i n t h e government is due to the mutual interrelationship between government and civil society (Putnam cited in Field 2000, p. 30). Voluntary association encourages citizens to discuss relevant issues which help improve their political awareness (Schaltegger & Toggler, 2007, p.199). Study on the impact of social capital on political activity in Latin America also finds that

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Nur Ana Sejati organization involvement encourages citizens to be more politically active (Klesner, 2007). The citizens do not only actively participate in voting, but also scrutinizing and monitoring government activities. To facilitate involvement, the public need more information about government activities. In response, considering the demand from civil society, governments will be encouraged to be more interactive to the public. Akkerman, Hajer and Grin (2004, p. 84) also maintain that governments have an incentive to provide interactive policy-making to the public. The growing awareness of declining political trust will motivate governments to make information available publicly. This suggests that the higher the level of social capital is expected to have higher level of government openness. Apart from social capital, the presence of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) may determine the level of openness. FOIA inescapably force governments to provide information due to the legal binding. Failure to comply with the legal system will put them in trouble due to some penalties imposed. The enactment of FOIA in the United States obliges the government to publish reports, rules and orders and citizens have broad rights to ask the information (Peritt & Rustad 2000, p. 404). In Indonesia, the government has enacted law number 14, 2008 about Public Information. The law is effective two years after it has been issued. This indicates that governments institutions have to be aware of increasing accountability by making some information available to the public. The act oblige government institutions to provide budget and some reports which enable the public to scrutinize government administration. The presence of the act should be the strong driving factors to encourage government to enhance accountability. E. Conclusion To sum up, ICTs has encouraged governments to improve public service delivery. Citizens in developed countries are benefited from on-line transaction when they process tax or other services. The reduction of cost in service delivery as well as effectiveness in service delivery has encouraged the governments to developed high quality e-government. The adoption of e-government is not only dominated by developed countries but also their counterparts in developing countries. In Indonesia, most local governments has also developed e-government in order to provide better service delivery. Nevertheless, the governments have not use e-government as media to enhance accountability. The presence of governments websites allows them to give the public more access to their administration. Most information available in the webs are news related to their activities rather than budget and some reports which enables the public to examine resource allocation and its accountability. This suggests that the development of egovernment does not instantly increase accountability. E-government provides a media for the government to be more transparent. Yet, the driving forces to enhance accountability are income, education, the presence of civil society and FOIA. Civil society represents citizens which actively participate in

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Nur Ana Sejati monitoring and evaluating government administration. The involvement of individuals in voluntary association provides them with better information as well as awareness of the incumbents. Government, on the other hand, will respond to attentive citizens by providing what they need. Besides, increasing legitimacy from the public this also can improve the decision in providing better service delivery. Meanwhile FOIA will become a driving force for the government to provide access information for the public. The presence of penalties imposed in the legal system inevitably force governments to comply with the law.

REFERENCES
Akkerman, T, Hajer, M & Grin, J 2004, The interactive state: Democratisation from above? Political Studies, vol. 52, p. 82-95 Chadwick, A & May, C 2003, Interaction between state and citizens in the age of internet: egovernment in the United States, Britain and the European Union, Governance: an International Journal of Policy, Administration and Institutions, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 271-300 Claibourn, M & Martin, P 2007, The third face of social capital: How membership in voluntary associations improves policy accountability, Political Research Quarterly, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 1922001. Depkominfo see Departemen Komunikasi dan Informasi Departement Komunikasi dan Informasi 2004, Kondisi situs web pemerintah daerah (The Department of Communication and Information 2004, the condition of local government websites) International Budget Porject 2006, More public information needed to hold governments to accounts, Open Budget Innitiative. Klesner, J 2007, Social capital and political participation in Latin America: Evidence from Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Peru, Latin American Reseach Review, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 2-32 La Porte, M, Demchak, C & Friis, C 2001, Webbing governance: Global trends across nationallevel public agencies, Communications of the ACM, vol. 44, pp. 6367 La Porte, T, Demchack, C & De Jong 2002, Democracy and bureaucracy in the age of the web: Empirical findings and theoretical speculations, Administration and Society, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 411-446.

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Mauliddin, 2009, Kabupaten Jembrana sebagai 'Best of the Best' Warta Ekonomi E-Government Award 2009, www.wartaekonomi.com Mulgan, R 2003, Holding power to account, Basingstoke, Palgrave, Macmillan Pina, V, Torres, L & Royo, S 2007, Are ICTs improving transparency and accountability in the EU regional and local governments? An empirical study, Public Administration, vol. 85, no. 2, pp. 449-472. Putnam, R. (1993). Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press Ronaghan, S 2002, Benchmarking e-government: A global perspective, UNDPEPA & ASPA, New York Schaltegger, C & Torgler, B 2007, Government accountability and fiscal discipline: A panel analysis using Swiss data, Journal of Public Economics, vol 9, pp. 117-140. Soendjojo, H 2005, Implementasi E-Government Sejumlah Pemerintah Daerah, Prosiding Konferensi Nasional Teknologi Informasi dan Komunikasi Indonesia, ITB 3-5 Mei 2005. Verba, S 2003, Would the dream of political equality turn out to be a night mare? Perspective on Politics, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 663-680. Wong, W & Welch, E 2004, Does E-Government promote accountability? A comparative analysis of website openness and government accountability, An International Journal of Policy, Administration and Institution, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 275-297.

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