Rhetoric or reality? E-Government and the reconceptualisation of service delivery in Montenegro

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In Montenegro, the citizens’ right to good administration is jeopardized due to overly complex administrative procedures and the lack of possibilities to use services in the most cost-effective manner – electronically. Although the eGovernment portal was created in 2011 and the Law on Electronic Government was adopted in 2014, there are numerous problems in the implementation of the electronic systems of service delivery. Civil servants sometimes do not accept changes in the workflow and refuse to start using the electronic systems of service delivery while many public authorities are not interested in setting up services on the eGovernment portal. Additionally, weak coordination mechanisms result in authorities’ failure to respect prescribed deadlines under the Law on Electronic Government. Whereas the budget for IT equipment and incentives for IT staff are meagre. Finally, e-services for businesses are more developed than those for citizens. The majority of e-services for citizens offer only general information and forms which can be downloaded while the digital certificate needed for completing electronic servicesrequests is too costly for the Montenegrin living standard.

In the forthcoming period, the Ministry for Information Society and Telecommunications should establish reporting mechanisms for the institutions covered by the Law while joint meetings should be organised periodically in order to track progress in fulfilling legal obligations as well as clarifying any misunderstandings regarding those obligations.In close cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior, it should provide necessary conditions for establishing one-stop-shops in accordance with the Law on the General Administrative Procedure. The Ministry of the Interior should create a catalogue of all the services provided by the Montenegrin public administration both at the national and local level, in order to make it easier to identify services which can be provided electronically and to track progress in the development of the eGovernment portal. All public administration bodies should work to make their services available at the portal at least at the level of providing information in order to make the use of services in a traditional manner easier for citizens.

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