Current work has highlighted the importance of institutional theory as a useful lens to examine how public systems, policies and actors both shape and are shaped by the environment within which they exist. Technologically-driven models of adoption fail to explain public sector reactions to ICTs and a growing number of studies have advocated that successful ICT adoption needs to be institutionally-enabled. This paper seeks to explore what an institutionally-enabled process actually entails and how it can be achieved for public sector technological initiatives. The efforts of two UK local authorities to promote public engagement online demonstrate how beneficial changes can be realised when institutional mechanisms manage to: (1) balance expectations, (2) involve key actors and (3) adapt to technological capabilities. Thus, it is suggested that the institutional approach can be useful in better positioning the potential of public sector ICTs within existing structures and expectations.