The impact of e-Government in the UK
From the latter decades of the 20 th century, information and communication technologies (ICTs) permeated societies and the internet emerged as a mass medium across many parts of the globe. The thesis investigates the efforts of government to exploit these technologies in the delivery of public services in the UK up to 2004, under the aegis of e-govemment. This thesis critically examines the development of e-government in the UK from the 1950s. Specifically it looks at the role of ICTs in facilitating joined up or seamless government in a range of contexts. Aside from the work of a few key scholars, the relationship between e-government and joined up government had not received sustained attention within the public administration scholarly domain. The thesis aims to fill this gap, through an exploration into the history of government computing, research into the central e-governnient strategy and two case studies. The study finds both a longstanding desire to use ICTs to coordinate the delivery of services across government and a number of organisational and institutional barriers to doing so. A succession of central units used a range of tools and measures to achieve ICT-mediated joining up across government, which met with varying levels of success. The cases tudies illustrate strong variation in the institutional landscape in which e-government operated. Through historical analysis over a sustained period, the thesis offers a fuller understanding of the relationship between ICTs; and government than was offered by contemporary explorations of e-government. The thesis concludes that, whilst national technical infrastructural systems were a vialid option to e-govemment policy makers wishing to initiate joining up through ICTs, it was also possible to take other more consensual or localised routes, which could go with, rather than against, the institutional grain.