Future of the eGovernment Action Plan
CLARITY - Open eGovernment Services

Future of the eGovernment Action Plan

by ivonne   |   20 Nov, 2017


In the slipstream of the "Digital Transformations" event on the 24th of October we spoke to Andrea Halmos, policy officer at DG Connect about the future of the eGovernment Action Plan and the best practices she is seeing. Earlier in the day she presented about the enablers for the digital government transformation and the recent developments that have been influencing the field.
* Can you tell us something about the priorities in the eGovernment Action plan for the coming year(s)?
There are some very interesting developments happening in the past couple of weeks. On the 6th of October the EC EU and EFTA ministers responsible for eGovernment  signed the Tallinn Declaration, speeding up the implementation of eGovernment practices and paying special attention to openness and transparency. The Declaration calls on the acceleration of governments' digital transformation in line with the principles of the eGovernment Action Plan and is a further impetus for the roll-out of eIDAS, implementation of the once-only principle and re-use of the Digital Service Infrastructure building blocks. Of particular importance are the 'User-centricity principles' in the Annex of the Declaration. The Council Conclusions of 19/10/2017 gave another stimulus by calling the implementation f the Tallinn Declaration and by considering the digital transformation of government an important element to successfully build a Digital Europe. Also a new study is being conducted on the Future of Government, using the policy labs as a way to create an open space for discussion on the big questions we need to be asking. Another important development is a study on interoperability of API's and open data, making sure that it becomes easier to re-use and scale between cities and countries.
* What role is Futurium playing - what input do you still need and from whom?
Futurium can be a powerful instrument to get your ideas across to the Member State representatives in the field of eGovernment. It has been difficult to overcome the distance to what citizens want. Perhaps associations and interest groups could help further in this. But we also want to bring in views of local administrations before the deadline end of November. Their input can have real impact on the implementation of eGovernment at all levels of government. All input will be put in an information package and presented to the Member State group in January. We will keep all contributors updated through the Futurium website, so they can clearly see how their ideas are picked up.
* Can you elaborate on best practices that you are seeing?
The best practices are abundant. Examples that stand out are the State Startup method being used in France. They open up a space within government itself where eGovernment minded civil servants can create tools and applications themselves using the open government infrastructure. They get 6 months to 'experiment', bringing in help where necessary. Also the city of Antwerp is showing that it is possible to be innovative with procurement within the current procurement rules. By trying to have a modular approach to procurement and early on bringing in smaller companies to discuss the options and involve their ideas they open up the field also to start-ups. We also see a lot of interesting thing happening with Participatory Budgeting. In Portugal 30% of the cities involve citizens in their city budgets this way. And the EMPATIA project is currently leveraging this in a very nice way. Lastly we should keep a lookout for the project TOOP. They are very ambitious, leading the way in the practical implementation of the Once Only principle for businesses across Member States.
* Which area in Open Government still needs the most work?
A challenge is the conflict that can exist when opening up data leads to businesses and applications emerging going against the policy you are trying to implement. For instance apps giving route information, while a cities is trying to solve congestion problems. Also  more needs to be done for civil servants to really expand their skills in the way that is necessary for eGovernment to grow. Even for For something as specific like eProcurement or tax officers, there is little some  skill building available, but for generic jobs in the civil service it is more difficult. Let alone for a more abstract skill like co-creation. The OPSI (OECD/EC) project is currently focussing on this topic, as we see a real need there.
* How can the Open Government community in Europe best collaborate?
A concept like policy labs is a powerful tool that can help bring the eGovernment community together to see how to take the next steps. They could also help and spread the user-centricity principles, so local administrations across the EU could adhere to them. It makes it easier to share progress and makes efforts visible. Ways to incentivize civil servants is also important, creating a safe space to innovate, for instance a percentage of time you can dedicate to eGovernment innovation.


The CLARITY project brings together stakeholder networks across Europe into an engaged and mobilised community that supports innovation in open eGovernment applications. If you are interested in contributing to the future vision of open eGovernment in Europe and in helping to bring it to life, we invite you to join the cause. Please sign up for our newsletter below and stay informed of opportunities to participate, interact and collaborate with other people in our network.

The CLARITY project is a two-year project, funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 framework. Grant Agreement number: 693881

Project Coordinator: Rachel Finn, Trilateral Research Ltd

Project Manager: Tally Hatzakis, Trilateral Research Ltd, tally.hatzakis@trilateralresearch.com

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