As public administrations in Europe are becoming more and more digitalised, there is a risk of older people being excluded from public services. This is because they do not always have access to the internet or may not be familiar with new technologies. The EU-funded Mobile Age project will help them to make full use of the public services to which they are entitled. This is being done by working in collaboration with senior citizens who are helping to develop new accessible, mobile and open government services.
The project is creating user-friendly applications for elderly people that will make administrative tasks easier, as well as encouraging active ageing projects in their communities. Thanks to this project, the applications will allow elderly people to participate in open government: online access to public services and information using open data.
As part of the co-creation process, Mobile Age researchers are working with older people to find out to which public services they would like access, what kind of mobile applications they would prefer to use, and what their accessibility and mobility requirements are. The project recognises that many older people may not use the latest devices, and may prefer a website to an app, for example. Applications are developed using an Open Senior Citizen Public Service Engagement Platform.
The project is currently running four pilot initiatives: in South Lakeland (UK), Bremen (Germany), Zaragoza (Spain), and the region of Central Macedonia (Greece). So far it has created a digital city guide with information on cultural facilities and meetings, and advice. It also provides information for the more active older person, such as walking routes and paths, benches, toilets, sports and exercise activities. Apps will be developed to provide health advice on staying independent and fit for longer with the help of different public services. A best practice guide to using co-creation to develop open public services is also being planned.
Mobile Age in brief
- Total budget: EUR 3 010 000 (EU contribution: EUR 2 923 993.75)
- Duration: 02/2016-01/2019
- Countries involved: United Kingdom (coordinator), Belgium, Germany, Greece, Norway, Spain
Key figures in the European Union
- In 2017, 19.4% of the EU’s population was aged 65 or over.
- 45% of people aged 65-74 years in the EU used the internet at least once a week in 2016.
- In 2016 16% of people aged 65-74 in the EU used online social networks.
The European Commission’s eGovernment Action Plan for 2016-2020 aims to ensure that public administrations and public institutions in the EU are open, efficient and inclusive and provide borderless, personalised, secure, user-friendly, end-to-end digital public services to all citizens and businesses by 2020. Borderless, digital public services will make it easier to travel and work across borders, provide information that is accessible to everyone, including elderly and disabled people, meet data protection and privacy standards, and reduce the number of contact points and requests for information.
To fund this, the European Commission’s proposed new Digital Europe Programme allocates EUR 1.3 billion of funding to broaden the use of digital technologies across the EU, including the digitisation of public administrations and services.