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The public sectorand internet essay

The use of the Internet in the public sector has become a top choice in communicating with other agencies, departments, and private organizations.The U.S. government has been a major player in the creation of the Internet for the last decade.The federal government is responsible for the first Internet (ARPAnet) which was produced in the late 1960′s. By the 1990′s the Internet was changing the way how people conduct their everyday work duties.For instance, the public sector is now using the Internet to post job openings, newsletters about certain agencies and any other value-added information pertaining or concerning the public.The Internet has allowed the public sector to grow as in terms of how effective and efficient they have become because of the Internet.Many teachers are using the Internet to find topics for their students. An example, teachers in economics could research the various states to find their local tax practices and compare them with the state their in.This example shows how the teacher can find the information without calling long distance and or writing a letter of request to the various states for the information. Because of the Internet the teacher can retrieve the information quickly without all the waiting.

The Internet plays another major role for the public sector and that is communication. The communication link can be across cities, states, and countries. One article talked about how several individuals start make up groups that have similar interest and chat on-line about various topics. One of the groups is the “Electronic Hallway” this allows any public administrator and/or professors from various disciplines to share their teaching methods, cases and ideas with one another without being physically together. This “Electronic Hallway” also, provides advice on teaching and government practices freely. A very well know journal is now available on the Internet, Administration and Management: An Interactive Journal. This interactive journal allows reader feedback on-line and provides information for all who are interested in Public Administration. The public sector has utilized the Internet by providing web resources for just about every agency in government and them some. The following are just some of the different web resources available to the public via Internet.

General public administration web resources

• Public Administration and Public Policy Sties

Government public administration web resources

• Bills, Congressional Testimony, GAO, Reports
• Federal Budget Simulation Game
• Supreme Court Decisions
• Fedworld Information Network
• Government Links via Yahoo
• U.S. Congress Guide
Health Care Reform
• Health Care Liability Alliance
Crime
• Bureau of Justice Statistics
• Prison Legal News
• Sources for Statistics
Public Administration Schools
• Public Administration Undergraduate and Graduate Programs
• National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and
Administration

All of the above resources are available on the Internet for the public to view. Which I feel the public will more likely visit these sites then go to the Supreme Court or Bureau of Justice Statistics office to pick up or read the information. The public sector is allowing the public access to a lot of material that has been denied to them in the past. The public sector is realizing that this day and age is known as the information age and the more information you can provide the people feel you are not hiding or being secretive about what the government is doing.

The next topic I would like to discuss is the challenges and issues that public managers face in this information era. With the use of the Internet public organizations have found new and creative ways of reaching the users of government services. The increase of information technology has provided another environment from which the government organizations can function. John Bertot best describes this new era by the organizations can achieve their goals/objectives through the strategic use of Information technology; reengineer, organizational practices to better meet the needs of services users both internal and external and collaborate and share systems development activities, experiences, and management practices with other public organizations and governments.

There are several types of electronic/digital government services and policy implications dissemination, virtual government, interactive services, public relations, and mandate fulfillment. Dissemination deals with government information and resources such as legislation, documents, codes, announcements, etc. An example is supreme court decisions. Virtual government is a government that “never sleeps” and provides users with 24 -hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week access to their government agency services. An example would be public library on-line catalogs. Interactive services is where users can actually apply for government-based functions electronically. An example would be financial aid for college students. You can apply on-line and receive your confirmation on-line and that is followed up by paper documents mailed to your home. Public relations is based on agency/organization activities on various topic areas, such as
American civil liberties union; national organization of physicians who care, etc. Mandate fulfillment is also important, because mandating that agencies have at least a web site then, they can at least reach some of their users by suppling the users with helpful information. Not all agencies have the virtual interaction but they can provide some useful information the users feel that they have been helped in some way.

Public managers are affected by the Internet because not only do they have to manage the physical facility they also have to manage the virtual one also. So many feel that the public manager has more work to do since the introduction of the Internet. I feel that the Internet actually helps by eliminating the endless phone calls and questions. The users can just look on the web site for the information and print it off if they need to and ask their questions on line and the person can respond in a short period of time instead of being expected to answer the question on the spot.

Records management is also, a concern for the public sector with dealing with the Internet. If the agency is going to provide reports on the web then they also have to provide the data from which they report was generated. So the organization must make sure of the integrity of the data in the report. The public sector also does bench marking from the Internet to show which communities (i.e., government, education, nonprofit, etc.) are used more frequently then others, and what entrance points the users are using to locate the public site.

Public funded Universities and Colleges are also affected by Internet usage. Many potential students surf the net for a potential school and if they do come to a university’s site and it is poorly done then that student is immediately turned off. If the school has a neat, exciting, professional web site then the student will consider it as a possibility. Many students are not able to visit the campus physically so many public funded higher education schools are putting a lot of emphasize on their website so that the student can feel like they are on campus. Many universities are providing virtual maps of the campus so the student can tour that way. Many are providing tours of three dimensional dormitory tours so the student can actually see how much space they will have and what the room actually looks like, which helps them to decide what can fit in the limited space. Public schools are also providing on-line registration, buying textbooks, transcripts, etc. so that the student can take care of all the necessary paper work before stepping a foot on campus. Many higher education students are no longer traditional students, but are students who also have a full time job, family and live in another city. So the Internet can be a very powerful tool for attracting students and retaining students.

In conclusion, the Internet can be an invaluable resource for those in the public administration field. The Internet offers government organizations unprecedented service provision capabilities, which it lacked in the traditional way. Government via Internet allows the organizations to reach a lot more people this way. The Internet has not only affected the world but the way we do business, a user is more likely to receive better service on the Internet then physically going to the organization for that service.

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