The Balance of Municipal Service
Measuring the Influence of E-Governance on Local Service Delivery
The main aim of this research is to examine the influence of E-Governance, digital service delivery, on the close and personal service delivery, the One-Stop Shop. That results in the main question: What is the influence of E-Governance solutions on the One-Stop Shop concept in the municipality of Nissewaard? The municipality of Nissewaard is the research object of this article. It has a relatively high degree of low literate, unemployed and poor citizens compared to the average municipality of the Netherlands (VNG, 2018a). According to the theory these can be determinants of the Digital Divide, which are people who are not able to access internet as a whole (Van Deursen & Van Dijk, 2010). The Digital Divide is the moderating variable influencing the relation between E-Governance and the One-Stop Shop. Three interviews with professionals per concept are conducted to examine these concepts. The fourth and last main concept is the Citizen Motivations concept, which is shaped by Behavioural Intention. Through this variable the intention of citizens to adopt and use technology is explained. The UTAUT model of Venkatesh (2003) is used to examine the Citizen Motivations. A new analysis on a dataset is performed to understand the Citizen Motivations to adopt and use the E-Governance solutions. Therefore the main question is answered though a mixed methods approach. The citizens’ perspective is examined through the dataset, the municipal perspective is gained through the interviews. Three E-Governance solutions are examined. Firstly, MijnUitkering, which is used by citizens to check and alter the status of their benefits. Secondly, Snelbalie IMT, at which people apply for individual budgets to do bigger purchases. The third application is the Snelbalie Levensonderhoud, where people can apply for benefits. From the theory the expectation was that the use of the applications would be much lower than aimed for. However, the use of MijnUitkering is about 85%, where Snelbalie IMT and Snelbalie Levensonderhoud reach a use of 99%. This is due to the policy of Nissewaard, which heavily nudges citizens to make use of the applications. The E-Governance solutions are highly developed, reaching level 4 of the 5 maturity levels. Only the stage of Continuous Improvement is not yet reached, citizens are not able to chat or to give direct feedback to improve the solutions. The Telephone Information Centre (TIC) serves as the One-Stop Shop. It is not developed as a Full Stop, because the TIC currently only answers relatively simple questions. More complex calls are being put through to the experts within the departments. The Digital Divide mainly consisted out of the second level, the people who have the access, but do not have the skills to use internet (Hargittai, 2002). Age, ethnicity, employment and educational level are the determinants of the Digital Divide in Nissewaard. In the examination of the Citizen Motivations, the UTAUT model explains 59,5% of the variance in Behavioural Intention. Out of four constructs of the UTAUT model, only Social Influence and Facilitating Conditions were significant. The influence of E-Governance solutions on the One-Stop Shop in Nissewaard consists mainly of the fact that questions get increasingly complex. Customers can get an answer on relatively simple questions via the solutions. At MijnUitkering they can check their statuses for instance. People can apply digitally, which makes that they ask the follow-up question to the employees of the TIC. These employees need to be able to answer more complex questions. The total amount of questions decreases, but the conversations get longer and more complex. In this way the E-Governance solutions are changing the role of the One-Stop Shop. The influence of the Digital Divide on this relation decreases, as it is seen as a decreasing problem over time. The future will show whether the Digital Divide is replaced by another kind of Divide.