The Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy recognised that public services in Europe had embraced new technologies to varying degrees, but emphasised that more should be done, 'to modernise public administration, achieve cross-border interoperability and facilitate easy interaction with citizens'. In response to this, the Commission published the eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 in April 2016. The recently published DSM Midterm Review looks into progress made on the various initiatives, analyses their potential effect and examines emerging trends that need additional action. As such, what follows is a snapshot on these aspects with regard to the eGovernment Action Plan.
The Action Plan introduced a number of key principles (7) , such as 'digital-by-default', 'once-only' and 'cross-border by default', in order to reduce administrative burden for citizens and businesses and to facilitate mobility in the EU. It listed 20 concrete actions to achieve this.
Accelerating the take-up of eID under eIDAS has been a key element to effectively support the implementation of the 'digital-by-default' principle in the public sector as well as to enable the fully digital provision of cross-border services.
The draft Regulation on the Single Digital Gateway represents an important impetus to the digital transformation of public administrations, providing a single digital entry point, so people and companies will have easier access to high quality information, online administrative procedures and assistance services.
The Commission is supporting the large-scale implementation of the Once-Only Principle across the EU through 'The Once-Only Principle Project' (TOOP) and the Coordination and Support Action SCOOP4C. In addition, the Single Digital Gateway will also set the first step towards implementing the once-only principle in cross-border scenarios.
The new European Interoperability Framework (EIF) gives specific guidance on how to set up interoperable digital public services, while the EU catalogue of ICT standards for procurement will offer a one-stop-shop for procurers on guidelines for procurement.
The DSM Midterm Review now urges Member States to follow the ‘once only’ principle in line with legislation on the protection of personal data.
Beyond implementing the specific actions, the Action Plan also aims to be a catalyst 'to coordinate public sector modernisation efforts and resources in the field of eGovernment'. Our recent article assessed progress made in this regard one year after the Action Plan's publication.
But how are we doing overall? Are we improving business environment and quality of lives of citizens? The recently published European Digital Progress Report suggests that in 2016 more than half of the population who needed to submit forms to a public authority did it online. However, the situation is different in the various Member States and around half of the EU Member States have some eGovernment strategy in place.
The 'Digital solutions throughout a company’s lifecycle' action is expected to be adopted on schedule. This initiative shall enable companies to fulfil administrative requirements (register, file and update company documents) online and across borders, making it easier and more efficient to setting up and running a business.
As the eGovernment Action Plan provides for a dynamic and flexible approach, the DSM Midterm Review also adds a set of new actions to the Action Plan to increase its impact.
The IT platform for exchange of electronic evidence between judicial authorities will ensure secure communication for digital exchanges of requests for e-evidence and replies between EU judicial authorities under the Directive on the European Investigation Order.
The initiative on Electronic Official Control for food and plant products will pursue the digitalisation of animal and plant health certificates, Official Control documents, laboratory tests, animal identifications, tracing and tracking as well as alert management.
The Enforcement of EU agri-food legislation on internet sales and consumer information will explore potential improvements of the current control regime in order to boost consumers' confidence in e-commerce and foster consumer and food chain actors' information.
The Digital Government for Citizens Charter will provide a set of principles clarifying what Citizens may reasonably expect when interacting digitally with the public sector. The Charter will be co-created with citizens from the EU Member States and we therefore invite you to get engaged here.
Finally, part of the Urban Agenda for Europe, the Urban Digital Transition Partnership will develop concrete actions where eGovernment can transform urban governance to fit the 21st century’s needs.
The eGOV4EU platform facilitates the emergence of new ideas for action; out of the more than 30 ideas expressed by stakeholders, 4 themes were picked up for further developments. Progress on these will be published here.
And, in order to be able to measure progress, beyond the regular eGovernment benchmark reports, the eGovernment Action Plan Steering Board has agreed that the following three policy indicators should be used for eGovernment in the coming years:
To what extent users' personal data already submitted to public administrations is re-used by pre-filling forms instead of requesting it again?
Are public services needed for starting a business and for conducting regular business operations available online through Points of Single Contact or similar portals? Is the online channel the default channel of choice for those services?
What proportion of internet users needing to submit completed forms to public authorities choose to do it online?
How to get involved?
Tell us what public administrations in the EU could do better. Submit new ideas for action through this platform; explaining the issue or proposing a concrete solution that would make public services better. The next cut-off date for submitting ideas is 30/11/2017.
Join the discussion on the Digital Government for Citizens Charter and tell us what you would like to see as part of the charter.
Discuss the Orientation Paper of the Urban Digital Transition Partnership aiming to help cities in their digital transition.