E-gov survey results support OMB’s objectives

E-gov survey results support OMB’s objectives

The public is in favor of the government expanding its Web site services but wants agencies to do it slowly and get it right the first time, according to an e-government study by the Council for Excellence in Government.

The results, released yesterday, fit with what the Office of Management and Budget is working toward with 24 approved e-government strategies, according to one senior administration official.

Mark Forman, OMB associate director for e-government and IT, said the poll provides important insights into how citizens want the government to modernize.

“Citizens want the government to be ‘click and mortar’,” he said. “But this is not the way we operate right now. Moving to that model is at the heart of the e-gov initiatives. These findings vindicate our focus.”

Forman said that he passed a copy of the report to every e-gov portfolio and project managers and is making sure the objectives of each project are in line with the data from the poll. Previous poll data also was used when OMB was putting together the Quicksilver task force plans.

The poll, conducted last November by Coldwater Corp. of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Peter D. Hart Research Associates Inc. of Washington, surveyed 961 adults and 400 federal, state and local government officials to gauge the use of and opinions about e-gov.

The survey found 81 percent of respondents said protecting the public’s health and safety should be the top priority for investment in e-gov. Respondents also gave defense and national security high priority.

Privacy and information security were big issues among respondents, especially when it came to terrorism, the study found. Fifty-seven percent said they would be willing to give up a little privacy so law enforcement is better able to track down terrorists.

Respondents also expressed concern about hackers breaking into government computers and identity theft. The poll, sponsored by Electronic Data Systems Corp., found 69 percent of the respondents were extremely concerned about identity theft and 64 percent about hackers.

“Most Americans have high expectations for e-gov, especially after Sept. 11,” said Patricia McGinnis, council president and chief executive officer. “The government must be smarter, more accountable and more collaborative than in the past.”

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