Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Structuring government systems - public services

There are many initiatives for creating an infrastructure for government organizations. Basically, these initiatives should cover two issues, namely customer effectiveness and process efficiency. Customers, citizens and companies, should get the services they require and processes should support those services in a proper way.
A number of national (Dutch) and international (EU) projects considers modeling of public services according to the laws they have to support. This is basically a correct assumption, because one of the tasks (or the only task) of government organizations is to execute one or more laws and possibly local regulation. However, there are some aspects lacking, namely:
  • A law is a (legal) model of restriction with respect to behavior of citizens and companies. An IT system should not model a law, but the underlying system on which the restrictions of the law are modeled.
  • Derivation of public services from laws gives an ideal input-output model of that public service. In practice, the behavior of citizens, companies and government organizations is more dynamic. These behavioral aspects should be considered, described and published when implementing public services.
  • Technically, public services and their input-output can be specified in many ways. It is advised to specify them as ontology with open standard, that can (automatically) be transformed into technical representations. Separation of functionality and technical representation should be the guiding principle.
Of course, there is more to it to implement this approach to public services, e.g. case management. We will discuss those aspects another time.

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