PROBLEMS OF THE FUNCTIONING OF E-ADMINISTRATION IN THE SILESIAN REGION OF POLAND FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A PERSON WITH DISABILITIES.

AuthorWolniak, Radoslaw
PositionReport
  1. Introduction

    In every society there are disabled people who also have to take care of all kinds of administrative businesses in municipal offices. All public institutions, in particular municipal offices, must be adjusted to the needs of the handicapped (Garbat, 2013). An office is a place where very important issues are arranged, such as registration of residence, issuance of identity cards and passports etc., therefore these public institutions should be equipped with different facilities for the disabled so that the latter could access the office in a comfortable way, get around it and take care of all of their matters (Pradela, 2014). Clerks should undertake any necessary measures to ensure that the clients, especially the handicapped, are served at the highest possible level (Bartnicka and Mleczko, 2013).

  2. Types of disability

    Pursuant to the Law included in the Journal of Laws no. 123, item 176 as of 1997, with subsequent changes in 2002, concerning professional and social rehabilitation as well as employment of the disabled, the definition of a disabled person is as follows: 'The disabled are people whose physical, psychological or intellectual condition permanently or periodically hinders, limits or makes impossible the fulfilment of social roles, in particular limiting their abilities to perform professional work'.

    Disabled persons very often make use of services provided by public institutions, which include municipal offices. It is important that self-government units are prepared to provide services to the disabled, both the ones visiting the office in person and those using e-administration (Kazemikaitiene and Bileviciene, 2008). Handicapped persons have different degrees of disability, therefore it is essential to ensure for them the possibility of taking care of their official business in offices (Garbat, 2013). A municipal office that provides high-level services and fulfils its role should become the major goal for the management of every office (Ruso et al., 2013). The quality of services should be controlled and monitored on a regular basis; offices have to pay attention to and promptly eliminate any problems in communication between the client and the clerks (Kasprzyk, 2011). It is important that these organizations immediately react to problematic situations and remove their causes. Municipal offices are institutions which provide services for all citizens; a resident of a given town cannot move to the so-called competitors, therefore in offices, which are monopolists in this situation, the level of provided services should be evaluated on a permanent basis and problems eliminated straight away. The disabled live in every society, constituting a large group of people. The degree of disability is very different. Six types of disabilities can be distinguished (Kasprzyk, 2011):

    --Sensory impairment--disorder, damage or lack of sensory functions; such impairments include the blind, the deaf, the aurally impaired, the visually impaired and persons suffering from disorders related to hearing and sight perception).

    --Intellectual impairment, which includes mental retardation and senile dementia.

    --Social functioning impairment; this group includes disorders related to neural balance, emotional balance and mental health.

    --Communication impairment related to hindered verbal contact; disorders in this group include autism, speech impediments, stammering.

    --Motor impairment--people with motor organ dysfunction. It can be inborn or acquired. Cerebral palsy--damage to foetus brain.

    --Psycho-physical impairment caused by physical illnesses, such as: neoplasms, brain tumor, diabetes (Frankfort-Nachmias, Nachmias and DeWaard, 2014).

    The most frequent causes of disability include inborn defects (for example Down syndrome, genetic diseases). Chronic diseases account for 80% of all causes of disability; motor disability is most frequently caused by rheumatic diseases and dementia (Pradela and Zabinska, 2015). A large number of handicapped people point to sudden accidents, such as transportation injuries, accidents in a workplace as well as injuries and poisonings as the cause of their condition. All the reasons lead to a sudden loss of mobility, sensory and intellectual capacity. In 1980 World Health Organization presented an International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps (Bickenbach et al., 2012; Bogucki, 2005). According to this division, the concept of disability has been deemed as biological. The process of becoming a disabled person can be related to three dimensions: injury related to a disorder of the structure of organs, mental disorder due to an inborn defect or as a result of a sudden event (Wilinski, 2010; Toza, 2013).

    Depending on the degree of a person's disability (Table 1), the disabled make use of the services provided by a municipal office in a direct way, visiting the office, or settle administrative matters via the Internet, using the so-called e-administration for this purpose.

  3. Functioning of e-administration in municipal offices

    Development of e-administration in Poland is related to the project 'Strategy for development of information society in Poland until 2013'. This project defined the activities that needed to be undertaken in order to improve the availability and effectiveness of services provided by public administration. One of the major goals of this project was to reduce the internal circulation of paper documents. The second goal was to increase citizens' access to documents in an electronic form. All these activities were an element of a European Commission's concept which assumed that in the years 2011-2015 the functioning of e-administration and application of informative-communication technologies in public services should have been improved (Kasprzyk, 2011; Banasikowska and Stanek, 2012; Izdebski and Kulesza, 2004).

    Implementation of e-administration brings benefits for public administration institutions, such as reduced costs involved in the provision of information and services, and increased effectiveness of work performed (Batta, Sethi and Kaur, 2012). Providing online information is cheaper (Banasikowska and Stanek, 2012; Szewczyk, 2007).

    Further benefits include shorter time of service provision thanks to the possibility of completing a form online, a lower number of people visiting offices and, in consequence, smaller queues to desks, reduced expenses and employment, a lower number of complaints, as the majority of forms are completed electronically, reduced quantities of purchased office materials (Omariba Bosire and Okebiro Omari, 2015). Benefits for citizens include: better monitoring of citizen's matters, shorter time for waiting and settling a particular matter. Apart from benefits resulting from the implementation of e-administration, municipal offices also have to bear the costs of this process (Holliday and Yep, 2005). Major expenses include: purchase of computer hardware, computer service, purchase of software, system modernization, website updating, training of staff and visitors (Vrabie, 2015) as well as the implementation of effective forms of data security (Garda et al., 2015), marketing and advertising (Strejcek and Theil, 2002). Table 2 presents the benefits and costs of e-administration implementation.

    Functioning of e-administration is very important--it considerably improves the quality of citizens' living, and in the case of the disabled, it brings even greater tangible benefits. Summing up, it can be stated that universal advantages and benefits of using e-administration in public services include comfort, reduced time and geographical barriers, financial savings and a wider range of services offered (Teicher, Hughes and Dow, 2002; Decman, Stare and Klun, 2010). In European Union countries citizens' and economic units' service was introduced long time ago. In the countries where such a system is functioning there are notable savings in public administration (Ndou, 2004; Betchoo, 2016a). The quality of public office customer service is also evaluated better (Brinkerhoff and Brinkerhoff, 2002).

  4. E-administration in Poland

    E-administration has been implemented in nearly all municipal offices in the Silesian Province. Implementation of this kind of e-administration service, e-government, considerably improves the quality of living of residents who use services provided by municipal offices (Betchoo, 2016b). This is particularly important for the handicapped, irrespective of the degree of their disability. These people prefer to settle all kinds of official matters without leaving their homes, which is confirmed by survey studies. The advent of the Internet and development of communication-related technology allowed for changing the broadly understood administration from 'paper' to electronic work, which is much more comfortable and faster. Most countries in the European Union, including Poland, contact each other about official matters electronically. In Poland the situation is different, but in the majority of provinces it is average or good (Banasikowska and Stanek, 2012; Salvatore, 1998).

    Public administration in Poland is the state's plethora of instruments, consisting of relevant structures which have been created to perform particular tasks of the state. Major tasks of such bodies include undertaking actions in the following areas of life: education, culture, trade, residential housing, railway and urban transport as well as environmental protection. Public...

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