beta Discussing the Digital Government Declaration

Your ideas for the next Ministerial Declaration on digital government

by The Lisbon Council
THANKS TO ALL CONTRIBUTORS. THE OFFICIAL CONSULTATION IS CLOSED. WE ARE NOW ANALYSING THE COMMENTS TO SUBMIT TO MEMBER STATES.
This discussion space will remain open and we will keep collecting comments but do not ensure full follow-up with the member states.

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On behalf of the Estonian presidency of the EU , the Lisbon Council has prepared a set of policy proposals for the next ministerial declaration on digital government, which will shape the future EU policy in this domain.
These proposals are now shared here for you to comment and to provide input on.
The summary of your comments will be presented to the Member States as an input in the preparation of the declaration.

Do you agree with the proposals? What is missing?

We welcome innovative ideas, as much as possible backed up by evidence: the stronger the argument, the higher the possibility to be heard. The deadline for submission of your feedback is 21 JUNE 2017.

To provide your input, click on the speech balloon next to the proposal you want to comment. If you prefer, you can send us your ideas via e-mail.


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Background:
On 6 October 2017 in Tallinn, EU member states will approve a Ministerial Declaration to define future EU policy on digital government – following the 2009 Malmö declaration. In parallel to the Member States discussion, upon request of the Estonian government, the Lisbon Council is providing evidence and insight, through research, high-level events and online engagement.
All comments will be systematically analysed and presented to the Member States for discussion and validation. A report will be produced after the summer on how your comments were used and considered.



The inputs for Ministerial Declaration of EU are commissioned from EU structural funds support scheme “Raising Public Awareness about the Information Society” funded by European Regional Development Fund.

Background

Many things have changed since the Malmö declaration on e-government. The financial crisis has evolved into a prolonged period of high unemployment and sluggish growth. Populist parties are on the rise. And there has been a palpable and trackable decrease in the level of trust that citizens place in national and European institutions.sentence permalink

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This decline in trust is important. It is seriously threatening free trade, the foundations of democracy, the unity of Europe and possibly world peace.sentence permalink

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Thus the fundamental question that arises in this distinctly modern climate is: How can we re-build a climate of trust? And how can digital government help?sentence permalink

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To be fair, European countries have progressed strongly on e-government. They are providing more online services, not by simply substituting paper processes with online forms but by driving deep changes in both front office and back office. New fundamental legislation such as eIDas Regulation, PSI Directive and the New Interoperability Framework provide the legal framework for the cross-border recognition of eID, for open data and for interoperability, respectively. A set of dynamic, composable building blocks are in place for delivering cross-border services: eInvoicing, eDelivery, eSignature, eID, and eTranslation.sentence permalink

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But this progress is not enough to match the speed and size of the challenge. Citizens have not experienced the radical change that the Malmö Declaration committed to achieve by 2015. Just as an example, from 2009, citizens have become accustomed to purchasing online (grown from 36 to 55%) but much less to using online public services (from 18 to 28%). We need a new declaration to ensure strong and renewed political commitment towards an end-to-end digital government experience for all citizens.sentence permalink

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Priorities for a modern Ministerial Declaration

The declaration should be ambitious but also realistic, rooted in the startup culture, built around the notion that the key to innovation is implementation (and not just new ideas), and focused on a limited set of key principles that can improve citizens’ experience, lead to a better citizen/state relationship and generate change. We therefore propose to focus on three fundamental principles: once only, open government, identity and security, accompanied by a set of implementation measures.sentence permalink

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Once only

The “once-only” principle means that users should be able to provide data only once, and administrations should retrieve and share this data to serve the user, with full respect of data protection rules. While the principle is included in the current action plan and adopted by 18 Member State, most countries are still working to implement the necessary enablers, such as interoperable base registries and unique identifiers. Hence we propose to:sentence permalink

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Establish the once-only principle at EU level, starting from the approval of the proposed regulation on single digital gateway, and addressing legal, organisational and technological issues. Promote the cross-border implementation of the principle and mainstream the principle in the context of the Better Regulation guidelines in a similar way to what was done with the “Think Small First” principle.sentence permalink

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Ensure a digital by default approach for government services throughout the EU, allowing citizens the right to interact digitally with government. For this to happen, services have to be designed around the need of the users - using well established methodologies.sentence permalink

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Improve the alignment of base registries in the EU. Robust and interoperable registries are the cornerstone of interoperable public services and should be designed to avoid making copies of citizens' data - sharing proofs of status/eligibility without too much actual sharing of data.sentence permalink

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Gradually develop EU level standards for data interchange, possibly including unique identifiers at EU levels for basic data, in line with the European Interoperability framework 2.0.sentence permalink

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Allow citizens and enterprises to access, edit and port their data owned by public administration, and EU institutions should do the same for all EU-level databases. Citizens should also have a right to algorithmic accountability and transparency, such that citizens can understand and challenge decisions based on algorithms.sentence permalink

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Open government

Open government revolves around three principles: citizens’ participation in policymaking; transparency of government activity; collaboration in delivery of public services. The revised PSI directive has established the "open data by default" principle for government data, but much work is left to be done to favour reuse, interoperability and citizens' involvement. Hence we propose to:sentence permalink

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Continue the progress in opening up government data and services, moving from bulk data to standardised APIs. Besides closely monitoring the transposition of the PSI directive, there should be continuous pressure to extend its scope towards new entities and data, starting from extending the scope of Public Sector Information directive to data privately held, but of public interest, as proposed in Digital Single Market mid-term review.sentence permalink

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Improve data quality. This should not be an afterthought, but an integral part of the core activity. To be reused, data should be clean, machine readable, standard and with good metadata. Opening up data should be integrated in data management processes, not an ad hoc process. The European Commission should continue and increase its support for both implementing and assessing the progress of the EIF recommendations in this sense.sentence permalink

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Introduce a “collaboration by design” approach in e-government. Software component should be developed with clear indications on how third parties (public and private) can reuse and integrate their services, while relying on open source solutions and open standards whenever appropriate, following the principles of “reuse, publish and aggregate” mentioned in the European Interoperability Framework and by adopting co-design practices. At EU level, this approach should be pursued thoroughly in the context of digital service infrastructures, building blocks and cross-border services.sentence permalink

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Systematize practices of citizens and stakeholders engagement. A strong EU level approach is needed to ensure that experiences of citizens’ engagement are systematized and lessons are learnt. In particular, in the context of the Better Regulation framework, citizens and stakeholders engagement should be continuously improved at EU and member-state level and thoroughly evaluated.sentence permalink

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Assume global leadership. Europe should assume the global leadership in the area of open government developing a full-throated, well-articulated position – backed up by evidence and concrete legislative action. In this regard the European Commission should become more active as a champion of open government at global level and especially in the Open Government Partnership.sentence permalink

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Identity and security

Governments should provide citizens with security and privacy of transactions and data, ensuring that people and businesses can use their own national electronic identification schemes to access public services in other EU countries. Concerning data security and protection, the core question is to guarantee that citizens’ data and information possessed by the public administration is managed and stored in way that prevent manipulation. Hence we propose to:sentence permalink

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Assess and speed up the implementation at Member State level of eIDAS Regulation and anticipate the fully interoperability of European eID system ahead of the 2018 deadline. eIDs and eTS are pivotal in ensuring the access to public services regardless of the location of the user as well as to ensure secure business transactions between citizens and businesses, in the view of fully realizing the Digital Single Market.sentence permalink

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Promote the uptake of eIDAS by the private sector. eIDAS protocols and standards could be licensed freely to the private sector for broader public use, to provide a usable, effective and trustworthy identification and authentication service – able to support the needs of high-end services, like online banking and other types of e-commerce.sentence permalink

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Provide guidance to public agencies in adopting a security by design approach and risk management plans to ensure privacy and security of data stored. Technological advancements such as blockchain can allow public administrations to manage data within a secure infrastructure and to automatically share them with other agencies and departments. The final goal of ensuring privacy and security of data stored will be to allow individuals and organisations to gain direct control over all the information the government keeps about them.sentence permalink

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Implementation measures

The declaration, in order to make a difference, should include implementation measures. Hence we propose to:sentence permalink

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Ensure adequate monitoring and evaluation, including specific targets. We need more timely, granular and comparable data. But beside statistics and compound indicators, there needs to be a wider range of innovative, flexible data gathering exercises to capture ongoing developments and ensure fast learning about what works. We need open analytical approaches to deliver thought leadership for future-proof policymaking, combining scientific standards with a steady flow of “out-of-the-box” thinking.sentence permalink

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Ensure experimentation, trial and error approaches in government service delivery, as the pace of technological change is only likely to accelerate in the future. Put in place agile instruments, funding and methods to ensure experimentation and learning for all the priorities included in this document.sentence permalink

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Increase research, pilots and related funding. Launch further pilots (regional or cross-EU) and upscale existing ones for the cross-border implementation of the once-only principle for personal data.sentence permalink

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Adopt smart regulation approaches, including regtech and sandboxes in policy-making. In particular, ensure piloting of Artificial Intelligence in government, and ensure high quality of data for machine learning purposes.sentence permalink

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Open up procurement processes to new innovative players, in particular SMEs, building on examples such as the UK Digital Marketplace.sentence permalink

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Ensure adequate digital skills in government. Decision-makers must have at least a basic understanding of technology. Experiment new models of recruitment, for instance through the creation of digital teams with staff from outside government, as implemented in UK and Italy.sentence permalink

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Additional ideas

Add your input as a comment here.sentence permalink

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Thanks for your help!