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Guest lecture

Essentially Digital Governance - Thinking ahead to public services and public management that are 'Born Digital', serving citizens who are 'Digital Natives'

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For citizens in industrialized democracies, governments are their digital presence. More and more citizens are now 'digital native', expecting to interact with government in the same way as the rest of society. Information systems processing citizen-related data and a web-based interface are increasingly the only part of government with which they interact. Zero-touch technologies such as military or police drones and automatic border control systems fuel a ‘productization of services’, allowing replacement of complex management chains, ‘digital bureau-shaping’ and a shift of control to the centre. Facing prolonged austerity, governments have already turned to ‘digital by default’ strategies to increase productivity and implement cutbacks.

The Essentially Digital Governance (EDGE) model tackles central questions of administrative design in this transformed environment. Four key 'Do' principles provide guidelines for officials evaluating their next steps towards services that are not just 'digital by default', but are instead designed from the outset and wholly for digital implementation. Three key 'Choice' principles set out the ethical implications of pervasively digital governance. E.g. what must you do to effectively inform citizens in a digital era? - sending them i incomprehensible forms in brown paper envelopes via snail mail no longer counts.


Patrick Dunleavy studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, graduating in 1973. He moved to Nuffield College, Oxford to work on his D.Phil (published as The Politics of Mass Housing in Britain, 1945-75) until 1978. He became a Junior Research Fellow at Nuffield in 1976. He moved briefly to the Open University as Lecturer in Urban Studies (1978-9) before joining LSE as a Lecturer. He was promoted successively to Reader in 1986 and Professor in 1989. Subsequently he founded LSE Public Policy Group in 1992. He became a (founding) member of the Academy of the Social Sciences in 1999.

Note: Papers, presentation slides and any other material provided by the Guest Lecturer will be made available some time after the lecture at Publications > Media & Speeches > Guest Lectures by Visiting Academics.

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Last updated: 
Wednesday, 28 August 2013