Nowadays governments try to find better ways to connect with people via internet. They put government information online to allow citizen to find it easier, read it and use it. There are customized software that allow citizens to interact with the government. This is possible due to the “electronic government” concept that gives citizens the chance of accessing government information. This process of sharing information and data has the advantage of providing transparency and openness with citizens. E-government is the short name used for electronic government and represents the relations between government and its citizens, citizens and their government, and other e-government delivery models. This type of software allows citizens and not only to interact and communicate with city employees using Internet. This type of interaction permits people to use more than a simple email letter, they can use graphical user interfaces, video/audio presentations or instant messaging. E-goverment, as is called in German, allows citizens to participate and engage in the governance process. While this process there are taking place four types of activities: the government release the information on the internet, it follows the communication stage between the agency and citizens, transactions are conducted and passive citizens became active. In trying to make the transition between the passive state to the active one, the government has to inform the citizen, represent him, encourage him to vote, consult him and involve him in the governance process.
What is E-participation?
A process that is closely related to E-government is E-participation, which represents the involving of ICT in the process of government. While this process is concerned policymaking, service delivery, decision making and administration are involved. This process has a plus an enabling a deepen and broaden political participation for the citizens, with their representatives by the use of communication and information technology. E-partizipation uses as mechanisms reputation systems, electronic voting, internet petitions and transparency tools. Trough it people can get engaged in politics, society and government by using their mobile phones, computers, and other devices. They are aware about the technological surroundings and they use social networks, create blogs and participate in web journalism sites. The citizens that involve themselves in the process of government may benefit from a better political education, citizenship skills, or control over policy process. Government has also many advantages from this process, it gains legitimacy of decisions, avoids litigations costs and builds strategic alliances.
Software designed to ease the government-citizen relation
Cities that are facing one of the following challenges: integration, refugee policy, vacancy rates, childcare or other such issues, can appeal to one of the digital citizen participation agencies, such as gemeinsam-mehr-erreichen.org. This type of agency can support city halls with services and software for involving the citizens into government process and their technologies are user friendly. The software easily adapts to the needs and design of every institution. This software offers city halls the possibility of involving younger adults and teenagers. Software and services of this type, offer citizens a big portfolio of public services in a cost effective way.