Cities are essentially a collection of human, social, economic and cultural networks and are settings in which a sense of belonging and togetherness can be fostered and in which the public processes that support social cohesiveness and development can be optimized and made more efficient and efficacious. Towards this end, increased attention should be given to assessing the online presence of local government in cities. A logical starting point is assessing the role of cities as service providers and examining city portals as the key mechanism for e-government in such contexts.
Local Online Service Index (LOSI), a multi-criteria index that captures e-government development at the local level, by assessing information and services provided by local governments through official websites, has been designed by UNU-EGOV and UNDESA. The burgeoning interest in e-Government development, combined with the growing number of requests for inclusion and representation in the local e-government survey, led the study organizers to establish the LOSI Network. The Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and the United Nations University Operating Unit on Policy Driven Electronic Governance (UNU-EGOV), have established LOSI Network. LOSI Network includes national representative entities that are willing to apply LOSI instrument in their national context, assessing municipalities’ portals. This initiative is expected to help in assessing a much larger number of portals bringing:
- Broader coverage and representation of the status/maturity of local e-government
- A more comprehensive and complete portrait of local e-government worldwide, with the larger survey sample allowing more accurate insights, more consistent analysis, and the opportunity to better identify the challenges, difficulties and opportunities cities have in common (and where there is divergence)
- The opportunity to engage in broader evidence-based analysis of the online presence of local governments worldwide, with increased capacity for productive comparisons and the ability to identify areas in need of improvement
- The establishment of a network of experts and practitioners that can share good practices and lessons learned.
LOSI Network already includes Brazil, Jordan and Palestine.