Community Office: Development of Information & Communication Tech (CODICT)

Published on: 08/04/2008

CODICT proposes to create a 'Community Office' prototype, which not only provides people with access to knowledge, education and training in one building, but also acts as a single access point to all public services, to encourage social cohesion, the acceptance and diffusion of innovation and the development of local communities, with the objective of empowering individuals to participate more fully in the creation of the Knowledge Society in 2010. The term 'people at risk of exclusion' does not only apply to the elderly and people with physical and cognitive disabilities and the socially disadvantaged, but to the broader concept of any individual lacking digital competence or access to digital information. The proposal is based on solutions focused on the inclusion of the individual in society, rather than concentrating simply on people with special needs. The object is to respond to the requirements of any European citizen suffering from the effects of the digital divide. Solutions will be offered which culminate in the publication of definitions 'guidelines' – or 'best-practice procedures' – based on user requirements, accessibility and usability studies related to the management, application and presentation of information and therefore knowledge.

Policy Context

CODICT offers a paradigm which provides the Information Society with an ethical strategy or system of values, whose objective is designed not only to improve the quality of life of the citizen, but also to preserve the democratic character and the cultural ties of a community, in a climate where the integrity of knowledge is paramount and focused on overcoming the particular problems of the neighbourhood, in order for the community in question to achieve the status of a 'global village', thus empowering the individual and the local community to take more active roles in building European science and technology policy. This approach will have a dual effect of firstly meeting the needs, concerns and aspirations of the general public, set against the creation of a society in which knowledge is shared, taught and valued as an essential source of personal and collective development; and secondly – to reduce the expense of the application and transmission of information and data for the public authorities, whose statutory duty it is to provide the services upon which the public relies. The initiative thus assists in the creation of an ethical knowledge-base aimed at the individual and the local community in which the citizen lives, designed to encourage effective knowledge-sharing based on the development of the functions and applications of a Community Office, which are designed to act as a portal for the cross-fertilisation of data between academia, research, industry, government and the general public, thus creating a citizen-centred approach without national boundaries, in keeping with the ERA.

Description of target users and groups

The advantage from the point of view of individuals is to have ease of access to information and knowledge, education and training and proactive government services in one centralised building, where they will have the assistance of qualified staff to enable them to overcome the difficulties created by information and communication technology in terms of the 'digital divide'. The Community Office will form a single, centralised focal point or 'one-stop-shop' eGovernment service which offers access to local, regional and national public services to support the sustainable socio-economic development of their neighbourhood.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

Stage One (2009-2011) in the development of CODICT, concern ethics or 'moral principles of conduct' which are researched and developed in order to promote the Community Office Concept as a proactive public information delivery system, in support of European science and technology policy, with special attention being given to communication and information technology. Stage Two of the CODICT initiative concerns the physical provision of a prototype Community Office unit envisaged as a separate project, ideally financed by FP7, commercial enterprise, national government – or a combination of all three (PPP) – in a major European city as a stand-alone, custom-built facility on two floors, with underground and parking amenities, the Alpha and Delta functions on the ground floor, and the Beta / Gamma and Epsilon functions on an upper floor, with access to all departments by lift. Particular attention will be given to facilities for the elderly, people with physical and cognitive disabilities, the socially disadvantaged and any individual lacking digital competence or access to digital information. Stage Three will concentrate on the provision of Community Office functions and applications directly into the home of the individual citizen.

Technology solution

COMMUNITY OFFICE FUNCTIONS ALPHA – The dissemination of information to the public The development of the 'MASTERNODE' or knowledge function of the Community Office based on the presentation of all data in the public domain retained in websites, libraries, Information Centres, local, regional, national, European and international agencies. BETA / GAMMA – The education and training of the public in the application and use of technology with emphasis placed on new and emerging systems The Beta group-training facility will offer training for personal and business use. The Gamma individual-training facility will offer access to eLearning schemes based on personal contact which give the citizen the confidence to progress from a group-learning environment to tailor-made education based on one-to-one tuition. DELTA – The sustainable development of local communities Local Agenda 21 / Action 21 formulae are proposed, to link an eBusiness enabling environment to the economic stability of a neighbourhood. EPSILON – The provision of proactive government information infrastructures based on Interoperable Delivery of European eGovernment Services and 'Transformational Government' Access to 'tGovernment' data systems and on-line public services, with attention being focused on the provision of proactive Public Services for Citizens and Businesses.

Technology choice: Standards-based technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

There are two major factors in developing the impact of the project: The first major factor is CODICT itself, allied to the application of the principles behind 'transformational government' - which makes it possible to centralise all public services in a single venue - in order to develop the role of the Community Office as a trusted community-based intermediary, to engage digitally excluded people and support them to become confident citizens and self-sufficient users of ICT, closely linked to effective measures that support the sustainable development of the local community in which they live. Secondly, CODICT seeks to impact on (a) the individual and (b) the local community in which the individual lives, by centralising local access to knowledge, information, education, training and community development in one location, plus the centralisation of all public services under the same roof, to the joint advantage of both the individual and the local community. This approach will culminate in the provision of definitions - 'guidelines' or 'best-practice procedures' concerning the dissemination of data, based on user requirements, accessibility and usability studies related to the management, application and presentation of information and knowledge. A further impact will be to increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of public services, both for local authorities and national governments. The overall major impact of the development of the CODICT initiative is seen to be as a key driver to support of the dissemination of knowledge in accordance with the aim of the Commission to make Europe the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based society in the world with the foundation of the ERA.. The socio-economic impact thus contributes to the technical impact which is materialized in the designing and usage at a national level of a Community Office model of collaboration, for use throughout Europe. Project CODICT will make a major contribution in providing services and systems based on the initiative, which not only affect the quality of life of the individual and provide systemic solutions for independent living, but will also facilitate the social inclusion of marginalised young people (Accessible and Inclusive ICT), set against a background of supporting the socio-economic sustainable development of the local community in which the citizen lives, not only in the United Kingdom, but throughout Europe and internationally as a 'Network of the Future'. See also: The European Research Area: New Perspectives' Green Paper COM(2007) 161 final (SEC(2007)412)

Return on investment

Return on investment: Larger than €10,000,000

Lessons learnt

Constantly update information on ICT and ESTP in view of emerging technology Keep abreast of EU Framework Programme developments Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.

Scope: International, Local (city or municipality), National, Regional (sub-national)