Under the slogan “Smart Government & Smart Society”, the Global e-Government Forum 2013, hosted by the Ministry of Security and Public Administration (MOSPA), and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and organized by the National Information Society Agency (NIA), will be held on October 22 through 23 at KINTEX Ilsan, Korea. The Korea IT Times interviews Park Chan-woo, the First Vice Minister of Security and Public Administration who expresses the master plan for the smart government, smart society and ‘government 3.0’ through openness, sharing, communication and collaboration.
Q. Could you tell us about the significance of holding the Global e-Government Forum (GeGF)?
A. By fully embracing e-government, South Korea has thus far succeeded in enhancing administrative efficiency and transparency and making a breakthrough in improving civil services. As a result, numerous nations and various circles around the world have continually requested South Korea to share its e-government know-how and experiences with the rest of the world. Accordingly, South Korea, as the e-government leader that came out on top for two consecutive years in the United Nations’ E-government Survey, had come up with the idea of holding an international e-government forum that provides policy makers from various nations and international institutions with networking opportunities to share the values of e-government and strengthen cooperation systems. Against this backdrop, the 1st GeGF was held in South Korea last year.
Q. What makes this year’s GeGF different from last year’s?
A. This time, the GeGF 2013 is focused on introducing to attendees “Government 3.0,” the South Korean government’s new governance paradigm based on e-government. And we have linked the GeGF 2013 with another international event in an effort to nurture the GeGF into an overarching international forum.
First of all, the GeGF 2013 is divided into four sessions – i.e. openness, sharing, communication and collaboration (the four key values of Government 3.0) - in order to help participants to learn about each nation’s implementation strategy and best practices. In addition, the GeGF 2013 is co-located with the International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV), an international e-governance conference series organized by the United Nations University, in a bid to maximize synergetic gains from the GeGF’s collaboration with academia, as well with governments and international organizations around the world.
Q. Then, the realization of “Government 3.0,” designed to take South Korea’s e-government to the next level, cannot go unmentioned. Could you tell us about what Government 3.0 is and detailed action plans for it?
A. Simply put, Government 3.0 means an all-out paradigm shift that changes the way the government works from a government-centered manner to a people-centered, site-oriented one." Still, major economies, including the US and Australia, have followed through with either an “open government” directive or “Government 2.0 (two-way communication between the government and the people).” Thus, the S. Korean government’s push for Government 3.0, an upgraded version of "Government 2.0," can somewhat sound unfamiliar.
Specifically speaking, the Park Geun-hye administration has called for a paradigm shift in governance – namely, a shift to Government 3.0 - to offer the people government services tailored to their specific needs by making public as much administrative information as possible and breaking down communication barriers between different ministries. The Park Geun-hye administration has set its sights on drawing up a roadmap to carry out the key tasks of Government 3.0 and building an implementation system as well as legal and institutional foundations.
On June 19, the South Korean government held Government 3.0 Vision Declaration Ceremony to better inform the public of the government’s detailed plans for Government 3.0. As of now, the S. Korean government is making preparations for the building of relevant systems and legislative enactment. Next year, South Koreans will directly enjoy the fruits of the government’s push for Government 3.0.
Furthermore, the S. Korean government will review the results of the government-wide implementation of Government 3.0 on a quarterly basis and use the results as a yardstick by which the central government assesses the performance of each ministry and municipality. The S. Korean government will make sure Government 3.0 takes root in all corners of governance at the earliest date through education, PR activities and the promotion of the best practices.
Q. What could you tell us about the results so far since the S. Korean government started to push ahead with Government 3.0?
A. It has been over 100 days since the Government 3.0 Vision Declaration Ceremony held on June 19. The Public Data Act came into force and Act on the Disclosure of Information by Public Institution has been revised. And the central government and municipalities have thrashed out and implemented their own action plans for Government 3.0. Those plans have been gradually producing tangible results.
At a cabinet meeting held on September 17, the results of the Korean government’s endeavors for enhancing transparency in government through the opening and sharing of information was announced. Cabinet members will be briefed in phases on the results of the government’s efforts to improve “government service delivery” and “government capabilities.”
As of the end of August, 211,510 public servants (or 30.8% of the nation’s entire public servants of 620,801 - except teachers and those working at constitutional institutions) from central government agencies and municipalities have received education on Government 3.0. Since the Government 3.0 Vision Declaration Ceremony, 1,092 pieces of information, most of which is closely related to the lives of the public, have been made public in a voluntary manner.
Major voluntary information disclosures have taken place in education, food safety and medicine. In the education sector, data on how much the parents of preschools, who were enrolled at 8,559 preschools, actually paid to the preschools were made public by the Ministry of Education in August. Previously, data had been offered without separating how much parents paid from how much the government bore.
However, information on how much parents actually paid and detailed expenditure statements of after-school programs are now made readily available. In the food safety area, the results of radiation tests on Japanese food imports have been disclosed by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) on a daily basis since September. Previously, the names of food items tested for radiation levels were made public once a week. Now, the names of food items, information on COI (country of origin), production dates and test results are disclosed on a daily basis.
On the medical front, comparative information on medical expenditures on uninsured medical services (e.g. MRI) have been disclosed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare since September. Previously, only six uninsured medical service items were disclosed. An additional four uninsured medical service items, including MRI, have been put on the voluntary disclosure list. Complete enumeration surveys on each institution’s information disclosure plan have showed that the number of data disclosures will increase 33% from the current 47,334 to 62,988.
Q. What are the limitations of the current e-government system that we need to address for the successful implementation of Government 3.0?
A. Putting forward Government 3.0 as a new governance paradigm, the S. Korean government has been keen on turning itself into a transparent, capable purveyor of government services that cherishes openness, sharing, communication and collaboration. E-government is the very foundation and the most effective tool for the realization of Government 3.0. As you mentioned, the realization of Government 3.0 requires making an improvement in the current e-government system. First of all, a paradigm shift in e-government is needed for the complete disclosure of public data and easy access by anyone to public data.
Second, online services that allow the public to participate in policy making processes should be revitalized to boost transparency in governance through the public’s robust participation in policy making processes. Third, a full-scale embrace of cloud computing and big data technology is needed to create an environment where different government agencies seamlessly communicate with one another and where scientific administration finds its feet. Fourth, the consolidation and interconnection of e-government systems should kick into high gear to expedite inter-ministerial cooperation in administration.
Fifth, e-government services should be further sophisticated to furnish individual citizens with services tailored to their specific needs. Lastly, by taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies such as mobile devices, spatial information and u-IT, the government has to persistently find out and offer new kinds of “intelligent” administrative services.