Most E-Government research has focused on citizens’ self-service over the web. However in complex life situation, personal advice is still needed. Advice is needed in situations, where the citizen is unable to make his/her information or service needs explicit and thus cannot search for solutions on his/ her own. We use the scenarios like the pregnant woman or a new-in-town citizen to analyze the current situation and to propose requirements for an IT-based solution. The analysis is based on mystery callings, mystery shopping episodes and workshops with citizens and advisors from the public administration offices. Requirements include the set-up of true one-step advisory services, the integration of information from different public sources with other information from the Internet, the implementation of advisory processes and their support by appropriate IT.
In collaboration with the German city of Mannheim we have developed and tested a citizens' advisory system. Using this system, public advisors systematically guides a new-in-town citizens through the demand analysis and then seeks solutions.
The objective this advisory service are:
- to provide the services currently needed by citizens
- to enable the citizen to act independently for most actions necessary in her life situation
- to empower front office employees in public administrations to become skilled advisors and provide this improved services
User tests with real advisors and citizens in this life situation indicate that both the citizens and the advisors see significant benefits in this approach. We therefore will continue this research and test other citizens scenario, e.g. in the social area or with new citizens in collaboration with cities in Germany and Switzerland.
Current partners in this research are Prof. Dr. Schenk from the Hochschule für Finanzen und öffentliche Verwaltung Ludwigsburg and the city of Mannheim. For further information on the project process, consult our publication page.
Current research interests
We strive to build IT-artifacts that empower advisors and clients in their advisory encounter by establishing shared information spaces that are collaboratively explored. We believe that such an approach is valuable to both the customer (enabling active engagement in the process) and the advisor (providing sophisticated patterns and technical support for advisory).
We base our research on the premise that the low and varying satisfaction of customers with today's citizens’ advisory services is caused by not appropriately trained service personnel: the lack of advisory related vocational education results in fluctuating service quality (depending on the individual advisor).
In our current research on such advisory processes (and how to support them), we focus on the following aspects:
Designing IT-artifacts for empowering public employees to provide improved advisory services to (new-in-town-)citizens.
Intentional design of advisory support that is tailored to, first, the customer and her needs, and, second, the advisors and their capabilities.
Cooperation and Interaction
Configuration of the advisory process and its goals.adaptable to the specific customer's needs)
Higher level of customer inclusion, leading to joint responsibility and stronger commitment to the resluts.
Shared Information Spaces
Promoting the creation of shared material; Advisor's information accessible for the customer
Integration of different governmental and public information sources.