Global survey analyzes the use of information and communication technologies in labour administration

Evidence discussed within the first GOVERNANCE Working Paper Series suggests that new technologies can significantly strengthen the capacity of governments to enhance compliance with labour laws and regulations. Comparing international practices in this area may present a new avenue for the ILO to provide technical cooperation and advisory services.

Analysis | 06 November 2015
The ILO undertook this study at an opportune time, as labour administrations appear to be moving to a more substantive approach to harnessing the potential of information and communication technologies (ICT) through investing in the physical provision of new tools and re-evaluating their ICT policy agendas.

However, the experiences of using ICT reported by labour ministries and their subordinates illustrate that though in some developed countries new technologies have become the taken for granted modus operandi of public administration, many developing countries are only just embarking on their first ICT-led restructuring programmes.

As shown by this ILO pilot study, there is a consensus across labour administrations on the importance of ICT. There is however still a misguided assumption of equal access to technology in all developed and developing contexts.

In the future, ICT will be an integral part of labour administration in developed countries, while developing countries are likely to be catching-up. The barriers stemming from insufficient ICT capacity of service providers and users are likely to diminish as a consequence of pertinent amendments and additions to the national curriculum.

However, financial risks are also likely to continue. Although the costs of ICT are going down, they are likely to remain high for the more advanced and elaborate technologies, depending on their scale and management. The operational costs of ICT, its maintenance, replacement and physical access barriers may also continue to pose issues.

Although governments have different policies for the use of ICT and interact differently with existing patterns of political, administrative, ideological, economic and cultural power, the experiences corralled within this paper have highlighted a number of common trends, as well as many benefits and challenges of ICT use.

This study can therefore serve as a formal briefing exercise to raise awareness and exchange comparative practices, acting as a baseline against which labour administrations can assess their own system’s infrastructure, performance and strategies adopted to achieve objectives and ultimately better understand the areas in which it is most preferable to mobilize efforts and resources.

Similarly, it can be used by the ILO as a reference point for the planning and provision of technical assistance programmes by drawing attention to the specific regions and labour administration functions where such assistance is most required.