Transforming Public Sector Through e-Governance: A Case Study of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Article)
Keywords:Accessibility in Service Delivery, E-Government, Efficiency, Information and Communication Technology-ICTs, Transparency
Under the motto, ‘Technology is Our New Ideology,’ Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s two-time elected Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) provincial government is undertaking several key governance reforms for digitising service delivery in various government departments. Taking the two key departments of education and health as case studies, this research investigates how service delivery is impacted through digitisation, what influences are generated on organisational culture, and in what manner it affects citizens’ trust in the provincial government. It attempts to do so from the perspective of public service providers, i.e., the bureaucracy, and end users, i.e., the public (school and college students and hospital patients). The study employs both qualitative and quantitative methods to reach its findings. The findings of the study suggest that significant digital interventions were made by the provincial government in both the education and health sectors; the Covid 19 emergency provided a big push for the digitalisation of government services. These interventions are driven by first, the desire to generate policies based on evidence-based data and second, to optimise the efficiency, transparency, and accessibility of public services. The findings of the study suggest that the ICT-induced impacts on service delivery have from a service provider’s perception induced greater efficiency, transparency, and accessibility; however, from the end user’s perspective, significant constraints remain. The absence of a critical thinking approach behind technology introduction has led to the underperformance of various ICT initiatives. Additionally, there is a propensity of significant groups being left out, either due to the nonavailability of resources, such as computers, and the internet, or lack of digital skills and awareness among the end users. The digitisation measures are also steered towards greater government control and less public participation in policymaking, making it as Chadwick and May (2003) suggest a model of managerial government. The findings also suggest that ICT-induced transformations in the bureaucracy’s organisational culture have led to veiled resistance and scepticism of the ICT-introduced reforms from the service provider’s end.