Integrated Public Service Provision – The central solutions of Hungary

Published on: 13/10/2021
Discussion

                                                     Description 

How is interoperability concretely fostered in the frame of this concrete example/good practice?

Since 2014, the main objective of the Hungarian government has been to create a single digital administration space to replace existing siloed solutions and to provide more seamless eGovernment services to citizens and businesses. During the 2014-2020 financial period, all eGovernment developments financed by EU Funds via the Public Administration and Public Service Development Operational Programme (PADOP) had to comply with policy criteria set by the Ministry of Interior responsible for eGovernment and public administration ICT development. These policy criteria were widely based on the EU policy goals, including the recommendations of the EIF.

One of Hungary's good practices in implementing the EIF is the centralized ASP service for municipalities, which has been providing since January 2019 integrated back-office software for municipalities in a SaaS (Software as a Service) model, as well as a single portal for local e-services for almost all of Hungary's 3,200 local governments. The service also ensures the integration of all necessary building blocks and data exchange possibilities via the Government Service Bus. With the introduction of this service, the interoperability of the Hungarian local governments has taken a significant step forward, as the former silos almost disappeared and citizens can use a single portal to access the online services of all connected municipalities, whether it is a small, isolated village or a much larger city. 

The other main good practice of Hungary is the Customisable State Administration Portal that offers a single platform for provision of eGovernment services to all public bodies that are required to offer their services online in accordance with the E-Administration Act. This portal also has built-in features, such as eID, eAuthentication of documents, intelligent online form management, ePayment service and eDelivery; provided through the integration of centrally available building blocks. The portal enables public bodies to easily publish their online forms and provide the necessary services so that citizens can easily access them from this single, mobile optimised and accessible portal.

What are the measures put in place to ensure compliance with the EIF?

Different elements have made possible the implementation of the recommendations set by the EIF with regards to the legal, organisational, semantic and technical layers of interoperability within Hungarian public administrations. Those elements are:

  • The centrally managed base registries, enumerated in the implementing decree of the E-Administration Act, which are obliged to provide their data exchange services via the Central Government Service Bus (KKSZB) technical interoperability platform. This obligation has led to an important increase in data exchange, the 2020 figures having doubled compared to 2019.
  • The unified legal environment introduced by the E-Administration Act. This Act promotes the once-only principle and sets the most important interoperability criteria for all Hungarian public administration bodies.
  • The introduction of centrally provided building blocks (regulated electronic administrations services (SZEÜSZ) and central electronic administration services (KEÜSZ)), which have been developed according to industry standards. They contributed to a higher level of reuse of existing solutions, and to further standardisation, thus increasing interoperability.
  • The creation of platform services such as the Customisable State Administration Portal and the Municipality ASP, which contributed to abolish local government silos (all municipalities now use the same back-office) and helped further increasing all dimensions of interoperability in the local government sector of Hungary.
  • The integrated governance of public service provision, which is based on a repository of central solutions consisting of the above listed elements, as well as the National Telecommunications Backbone (NTG), the Government Data Center (KAK), the Public Application Catalogue and the Public Application Development Environment.

The interoperability principles, layers and components of the EIF conceptual model have been taken into account when establishing the Hungarian eGovernment legal framework, governance model, hardware and software infrastructure, as well as service provision.

 

What challenges emerged during the implementation of this concrete example/good practice? How did you overcome them?

Some challenges were faced by Hungary in implementing the good practices previously mentioned, among which incentivising public bodies that are still partially using their legacy solutions to deploy centrally provided building blocks and existing main eGovernment platforms to replace their old services. To tackle this challenge, several tools are available to monitor the implementation of the new solutions, such as the temporary rule of procedure of governmental decision-making and impact assessments. An authority in the Ministry of Interior is in charge of enforcing e-administration obligations on designated bodies and of enforcing and monitoring interoperability duties.

Another challenge was to replace the traditional decision-making process with a data-driven approach, since data exchange is now possible and the necessary interoperability tools are widely available. Finally, other challenges that the Hungarian government intends to address in the future are the enhancement of cross-border interoperability and greater automation.

 

Main takeaways

What are the success factors of this concrete example/good practice?

A key success factor is that security and privacy are essential to providing appropriate eGovernment services that are trusted by their users. Therefore, all developments were also in line with the relevant legal provisions set out in the Electronic Information Security Act[1] of 2013.

 

Related solution(s)

Two services can be highlighted and were detailed above: the  centrally provided Municipality ASP service and Customisable State Administration Portal. Both examples were initiatives of the Ministry of Interior.

The implementation of the Customisable State Administrational Portal has been done by NISZ National Infocommunications Service Provider Ltd, a 100% state-owned company under control of the Ministry of Interior.

The Municipality ASP has been implemented by a project consortium, including the Ministry of Interior, the Governmental Infocommunications Development Agency, the Hungarian State Treasury, and four 100% state-owned companies, NISZ Ltd, IdomSoft Ltd. KDIV Ltd. being under control of the Ministry of Interior and KincsInfo Ltd. under control of the State Treasury.

How did the solution(s) contribute to the implementation of the concrete example/good practice?

These two services almost function as platforms for interoperable service provision. Both integrate several building blocks in order to ensure a ready-to-use integrated solution for all Hungarian public administrations to make their digital public services available on a single platform, therefore increasing interoperability.

 

Relevant related websites and documentation

For further information, you could consult:

https://magyarorszag.hu/

https://e-onkormanyzat.gov.hu/

https://idomsoft.hu/en/products/kkszb/

https://idomsoft.hu/en/products/aak/

https://idomsoft.hu/en/products/aafk/

https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/collection/nifo-national-interoperability-framework-observatory/document/hungarian-kkszb-interoperability-platform

https://ec.europa.eu/isa2/hungarian-municipality-asp-good-practice-local-government-digitalisation-aligned-european_en