Academic journal article Public Administration Research

An Analysis on the Web Portals of the Municipalities Comprising the Regional Development Bureau of Joinville (SC), Based on a Multicriteria Decisionmaking Model

Academic journal article Public Administration Research

An Analysis on the Web Portals of the Municipalities Comprising the Regional Development Bureau of Joinville (SC), Based on a Multicriteria Decisionmaking Model

Article excerpt

Abstract

The present work seeks to evaluate the level of transparency demonstrated by the online portals of city governments that make up the Regional Development Bureau -RDB- of the municipality of Joinville, in the State of Santa Catarina, Brazil, employing a mixed quali-quantitative approach to the research problem. The study being of exploratory and descriptive character, the model proposed by Nunes (2013) was used, which was developed by way of an application of the Multicriteria Decision Aid - Constructivist (MCDA-C) methodology. The results showed, in general, a low level of transparency in the web portals of the municipalities analyzed, with an average of two points. In synthesis, the comprehensive evaluation of each municipality indicated that 50% of them do not disclose that which is required by Brazilian legislation. The positive standout among the sample is the City of Joinville, which showed the highest level of transparency with 29 points; conversely, the City of Balneário Barra do Sul stood out in a negative light, with the lowest score, at -12 points. The application of the Nunes (2003) model as well as comparisons with the results of previous studies made evident several contrasts in the level of transparency of municipal web portals from different regions of the state, while also demonstrating the potential of the same for continued evaluation of the level of transparency of the web portals and its capacity for suggesting steps for enhancing them.

Keywords: public sector, transparency, municipal web portals, MCDA-C methodology

1. Introduction

In 2013, Brazil was host to a series of democratic protests. Masses of citizens took to the streets demanding better conditions of health, education, safety, and other topics of importance to the Brazilian nation. Among the latter were calls for improved usage of public funds, greater transparency and an end to corruption, which erodes the Brazilian public sector, and is considered an endemic problem within the public sector on a global level (Riley, 1988; Olowu, 1999; Zipparo, 1999; Zafarullah; Siddiquee, 2001; Davis, 2004; Pillay, 2004).

Transparency can be considered the soul of the democratic system, with a greater degree of it, as well as openness, resulting in a better ability, on part of the public, to be aware of the actions of elected officials (Kierkegaard, 2009). In the case of Brazil, the information gap that exists as a result of the lack of transparency is not an isolated problem, but rather, it has come to form part of the country's culture. These circumstances present, a cultural shift is necessary, one in which the norm will change from "the duty to inform" to "the desire to inform."

As such, transparency in public administration becomes essential to society's knowledge of activities carried out by public entities; however, beyond the mere publication of these activities, it is fundamental that the public be made aware of funds raised and expensed, given that these are collected from taxpayers. This knowledge of how tax revenues and public expenses are managed is a central part of any democracy, standing as a principle of efficient and effective public administration. The tool used by the State for the broadcast of information regarding public accounts are online web portals. In light of these considerations, the following research question emerges: "what is the level of transparency of the web portals of the municipalities making up the Regional Development Bureau of Joinville, SC, in accordance with the related requirements stated in Brazilian legislation?"

Beginning in 2003, according to Lyrio (2008), the Government of the State of Santa Catarina began a process of administrative restructuring in which the governmental structure was decentralized, allowing for greater proximity in terms of response to the needs of its citizens. Toward this end, 29 Regional Development Bureaus (henceforth, RDB) were created, with seven more added by the end of the restructuring process in 2007, yielding a total of 36 RDBs. …

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