Study: Public Sector Looks to Private Side for Restructuring

Study: Public Sector Looks to Private Side for Restructuring

By Nick Wakeman, Staff Writer

MAY 19 ? Governments are looking at electronic business technologies and partnerships with the private sector as a way to redefine government roles and responsibilities, according to a new study by KPMG of New York.

KPMG interviewed 97 national, regional and city government chief executives from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States for its study, "Managing the Public Sector - Global Challenges."

"Government leaders are at a pivotal point in determining their government's future as they make key strategic decisions on technology, responsibilities and core services," said Patricia Faulkner, leader of KPMG's Australia public sector practice. "Technology is playing a driving role in enabling governments worldwide to develop new options and facilitate coordination of agencies and private providers to make service delivery more user-friendly."

The study found that 80 percent of the respondents said their governments provide information via Web site, and 59 percent provide basic interactivity such as communicating with customers and suppliers by e-mail or tailoring information according to the Internet user's residence or postal code.

Only 39 percent process simple transactions online, 38 percent reported plans to invest in smart card technology, and 27 percent are planning to invest in e-cash technology within five years.

"State and local government leaders clearly reported a stronger commitment to technology investments and performing functions electronically than did national leaders," Faulkner said. "Arguably, this reflects a difference in mission ? with state and local governments focused on delivering services and interfacing directly with citizens, while national governments are concerned with policy and security issues."

Partnerships between the public and private sector are on the rise, the study said. "What we are now seeing are alliances or joint ventures, such as private financial initiatives that reflect a greater level of sophistication," Faulkner said.

Concerns about privacy and government data security were raised as barriers to private sector involvement, but those issues may be overcome through technology and firewalls, she said.

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