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Assessment of ICT implications of EU legislation 

When is this action of interest to you?

You work in the legislative department of a public administration, drafting legislation that is likely to result in the development of new or an update of existing information systems. You would like to ensure the feasibility of the IT requirements you are drafting into the legislation and to build a solid basis for the estimation of costs and duration of implementation.

You work in the IT department of a public administration and will be charged with the technical implementation of upcoming EU or national legislation. You would like to ensure that the required system completion date and allocated budget are realistic. You are responsible for the delivery of a system that communicates well with the internal and external IT environment and does not create any problems. By using the ICT implication assessment method together with your counterparts in the legislative/business department, you can ensure that all of these concerns are addressed.

What is this action about?

The implementation of most new EU legislation requires the support of IT systems, e.g. for the exchange of information between competent authorities across borders or for the direct delivery of online public services to businesses and citizens.

The ICT implications of legislation therefore need to be taken into account as early as possible in the legislation drafting process. An early consideration of ICT implications can help ensure timely implementation, cutting costs, and balancing the requirements of the legislation and the available / chosen ICT solutions, while avoiding the creation of new e-barriers and supporting the functioning of the Internal Market. Early involvement of IT specialists can also ensure that existing systems and components are identified and reused as much as possible to cut down costs and development time, and promote system interoperability.

The ICT implication assessment method developed under the ISA predecessor programme – IDABC – addresses the abovementioned concerns and supports timely, efficient and effective implementation of the new legislation. The method aims to provide policymakers and IT specialists with guidance for assessment of ICT implications, both at EU level and Member States level.

What are the objectives?

  • testing the ICT implication assessment method on real-life cases;
  • offering the refined method to all Commission services drafting new legislation.

What are the benefits?

  • Facilitating implementation of legislation through optimal support of ICT. Identifying ICT needs upfront increases chances for reuse of already existing components.
  • European Commission
  • Providing possibility to analyse ICT implications of EU legislation for implementation at national / regional levels at early stage. Higher probability that legislation will reach goals and within timeline foreseen.
  • Member States’ public administrations

What is our approach?

Project phases:

  • pilot phase 2010-2011: The pilot projects will be implemented by the Commission’s Informatics Directorate-General (DG DIGIT) with the support of a contractor. Assessments will be offered to expert groups of policymakers, lawyers and ICT specialists of two or three European Commission DGs that are currently drafting legislation. A facilitator will guide the expert group through the assessment process by using the tools and checklists that have been developed to analyse the ICT implications of legislation in a structured way;
  • refining phase: The method will be further refined in the light of the experience during the pilots;
  • roll-out phase 2011-2015: The third phase of the ICT implication assessment method to all participating DGs. Training and support will be provided to ensure that the assessment becomes an integral part of the impact assessment process in the European Commission. During the roll-out, the goal is to train one expert group per DG "on the job" so that in the future DGs can run assessments themselves.

Case Study - What’s going on in Europe?

Some Member States have developed their own measures to assess the ICT implications of their national legislation. We have analysed these and used them as inspiration for the development of the European version.

The Dutch ICT Implementation Test

The Dutch ICT Implementation Test has been developed at the request of municipalities. It is a method to assess the consequences of the implementation of new policy or legislation for the design of information processes, as well as for the organisation and its staff. The method is based on a checklist which is discussed in a number of expert meetings. The test has in the meantime also been adopted by some other organisations, the most important of which is KING (The Quality Institute of Dutch Municipalities).

Benefits obtained

  • Less errors because people with practical experience in IT support the ones that draft the legislation.
  • Less complaints because all important parties are involved.
  • Smooth implementation of the legislation since obstacles are removed before the rollout and the executive organisations are prepared.

Challenges faced during the implementation phase

Despite the results of the tests performed, the central government initially seemed to be reserved about applying this test. By now, interest is growing and there is greater awareness about the importance of the test. Another complication was that our team couldn’t offer to do the test for free. Therefore we needed to convince the concerned units to pay us for the assessment, which was an extra barrier.

Cost of development of the test : Approximately EUR 60 000

Amount of time needed for the development : Approximately 8 months

Have you reused existing software/ tools/ building blocks? If yes, which ones?

Yes, we were inspired by Concept Viability, developed by Intellect (UK).

Any recommendations for other public administrations that would like to implement your measure?

  • Make an analysis of how well the questions from our checklist would fit in your country. To do so, you need to know the implementation requirements of your national legislation.
  • Think about the process: how do you want to carry out the tests? We had good experiences with expert meetings.
  • Start convincing your hierarchy at an early stage. The introduction of the ICT test is a process of change. Personal communication is very important.
  • Who will pay for the test? Take this into consideration.
  • Last but not least, involve the target groups: in the Netherlands these are the municipalities, provinces, water boards and autonomous administrative authorities.

Contact : Nanja Appel; Stichting ICTU (developing and implementing ICT solutions for Dutch public administrations), NL;

Project core data
  • Project start/finish:
    Q3/2010 to Q4/2015
  • Parties involved: European Commission (DG Informatics)
  • ISA contribution: EUR 1 750 000

Contact the Programme Manager - ISA Action 30100

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