Across the European Union, public services are adopting policies and practices that foster collaboration and the sharing and reuse of IT solutions, reflecting the goals set out in the Sharing and Reuse Framework. This European Commission guideline aims to improve the interoperability of public administrations’ IT systems and services, helping them save money and increase the quality of eGovernment services.
A first example shows Malta’s Ministry of Finance, Italy’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the United Kingdom’s South East Regional Organised Crime Unit implementing and testing cloud solutions to share data and services securely. The three public services have published their tools and documentation on how to build a blockchain-based infrastructure that allows decentralised and secure federation of private and public clouds.
Ministries and central-government organisations are likely to have tasks that reach beyond their own countries. But borders don’t stop cities from working together. In 2018 and 2019, the cities of Barcelona and Amsterdam will be piloting IT solutions that help citizens take an active part in making decisions and setting policy, while also letting them control and manage the data they generate.
Within Member States, public sector organisations increasingly appreciate modern IT services that let them share and reuse data and information. Bulgaria, for instance, has decided that all public services must have an electronic document workflow in place by November. 26 central government organisations including ministries, agencies and state commissions, plus 14 of the country’s 28 provinces, have anticipated the deadline and already have eDocument workflows in place. The state eGovernment agency SEGA (Държавната агенция „Електронно управление“ ДАЕУ) is providing support, recommending its own eDelivery system to those services that do not already have a solution in place.
A second example of cross-sector sharing and reuse led by central government is the RON 68.2 million (about EUR 13.4 million) 36-month “big data” project announced by Romania’s Ministry of Communications and Information Society earlier this year. The project will first make data accessible from across public sector organisations, and then improve public services and fight fraud.
The advantages of sharing and reuse are strengthened by examples involving municipalities. Last week, IT specialists and decision-makers working for municipalities all over the Netherlands got together for five days to work on “agile” proof-of-concept eGovernment solutions.
And in December, the French Association of Small Towns (L’Association des petites villes de France, APVF) was one of the main advocates for making sharing and reuse of digital resources a core principle of the country’s public sector technology roadmap. The revamped strategy, entitled “Programme de développement concerté de l’administration numérique territoriale (DCANT) 2018-2020” (programme for the joint development of digital public services, DCANT), emphasises a common, modular base of applications and building blocks to accelerate the digital transformation of public services.
The Sharing and Reuse Framework for IT Solutions provides recommendations for public services to help them overcome challenges and share and reuse common IT solutions. It is one of the policy documents underpinning the European Interoperability Framework (IEF) – the 2017 Communication from the European Commission.
The EIF is also a key part of the Tallinn Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment agreed to in October by the EU Member States and EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The declaration makes it a priority to create user-centric digital public services for citizens, and seamless cross-border public services for businesses.