By developing technologies in partnership with those responsible for meeting them carefully consider the data that is needed, how this is collected, and how it will be used to avoid creating unnecessary paperwork for frontline staff.
Every Ministry for ICT has set itself the goal of successfully achieving digital government. According to the OECD, the digital government stands out for its more efficient, user-friendly, integrative, and inclusive approach by prioritizing the following criteria:
- A digital conception of procedures;
- An administration focused on end-users, i.e. citizens (with or without specific needs) or companies;
- A government that supports co-creation and active public participation between government, companies, and civil society;
- A government that is “open by default” – a nod to open data services – a principle that reinforces and is intertwined with the principle of transparency and a data-based public sector;
- Proactive administrations.
- The Ministry’s strategic axes are in line with this approach.
Every Ministry for ICT in any Government has set major ambitions for the digitalization of the State’s administrations. The goal is to facilitate processes for citizens and companies by providing them with digital governmental services, which are user-friendly, innovative, and accessible to all.
The information portal and the secure transactional portal act as a point of contact for all interactions between citizens, companies, and administrations. The portal allows its users to carry out administrative procedures online and give them access to their personal data, which the State has on them.
These portals would be operated by the Government ICT body and are based on the principles of “digital by default”, “once only”, inclusion and accessibility, openness and transparency, reliability and security, as well as interoperability and standardization.
As part of their ongoing efforts towards the digital government, the Ministry for ICT would continuously develop new functionalities of the platform, such as the e-tracking functionality or the GovCheck mobile application, which allows the verification of the authenticity and integrity of official government documents. Furthermore, major efforts would be made to strengthen the “mobile government” (mGovernment).
Finally, the Ministry continually and intensively cooperates with other state entities to offer new digital administrative procedures and improve the procedures, which are already available.
Most governments have embarked on a journey of advancing administrative reform and simplification for several years now and much progress has already been made. However, the simplification of administrative formalities and procedures is continually evolving. Drawing on technological advances, in particular, the Ministry for ICT continue to carry on the government’s commitment to providing a simple and predictable framework for citizens and companies in their relations with the State.
Consequently, the Ministry for ICT intends to increase the ministries and administrations’ awareness of the imperative need to facilitate relations with citizens and companies, to everyone’s benefit. Any new project, legislation, procedure, or adaptation of existing ones, when deemed necessary, needs to be considered, respectively reconsidered, in light of the “digital” component.
The digitalization and simplification of state administrations must go hand in hand to reach the desired outcome and all ministries and administrations have concrete digitalization projects on their agenda. Therefore, there is a need to consolidate and amalgamate efforts to provide an exemplary administration that will contribute to its economic attractiveness. Adopting 21st-century methods and technologies will enable every State to better account for the quality of public services and the administrative simplification’s outcomes.
Promoting digital inclusion
One of the Ministry’s main areas of focus concerns digital inclusion, the process of making digital technology accessible to all individuals and providing them with the necessary digital skills to additionally leverage their social and economic inclusion. This mission reflects the government’s commitment to include all citizens in the digital transformation of our society and, in turn, counteract the threat of an eventual digital divide.
The digital divide represents the gap in opportunities for access to ICTs and the use of the Internet. Individuals may face some form of digital divide. Digital inclusion constitutes the efforts to bridge a possible digital divide by empowering all users to make good use of online services, all whilst developing their digital skills. The objective is to ensure that certain population groups (the elderly, people with disabilities, people without the necessary skills or people with limited financial resources) do not become victims of a digital divide in the context of the digitalization of the public (e.g. dematerialization in the field of social security) and private (e.g. banking) administrative procedures, as well as the digitalization of our society and world of work.
The task is to make digital technology an opportunity for everybody, a key to individual and collective socio-economic transformation, by enabling access to tools, skills, and employment opportunities for every citizen.
As always stated, digital technology can in no way be reserved for the wealthy, for an elitist class; nor for more connected age groups”. The goal is to identify the needs and wishes of those who do not want or cannot fully go digital, such as some senior citizens, people without Internet access, people without the necessary digital skills or tools, or simply those who do not wish to use digital services and products. In this case, administrative procedures need to continue to be available, without any disadvantage, through analogue means.
The adoption of new technologies accompanies and accelerates the digital transformation of our society. Every Ministry for ICT needs to boost digitalization and innovation in the public sector by promoting technologies such as big data, blockchain, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, data anonymization, and many others.
The aim is to draw attention to new and emerging solutions and to present the technologies to government agencies to discuss the solutions’ applicability to solve problems. This can be achieved through calls for projects, as was the case for the field of artificial intelligence, by forming consortia to respond to world calls for projects (e.g. blockchain) or through research projects in cooperation with research centers.
The legal framework must also be examined and adapted, when deemed necessary, to encourage digitalization and innovation in the field of new technologies.
Every Ministry for ICT also needs to promote these new technologies among the public sector employees in order to prepare them for the digital transformation that is well underway in the various administrations. This can take the form of training courses provided by GovNet.
Fundamental changes in technology mean that the public sector must evolve and adapt to move towards a “Data-Driven Public Sector”, as described by the OECD i.e. a public service that uses data to better serve its citizens and companies.