Conferences and workshops on government digitisation inherently manifest the recommendations and guidelines of the European Commission’s Sharing and Reuse Framework for IT Solutions; to spur public sector innovation and foster collaboration, the EC encourages all civil servants to get actively involved in the use of information and communication technologies.
With its key recommendations and supporting measures, the Sharing and Reuse Framework for IT Solutions aims to remove the barriers that prevent public services from reusing already available IT solutions. Examples of such barriers include public services being unaware that others are sharing their solutions or working on similar solutions. Sometimes, public services simply lack the precise terminology needed to locate common IT solutions or building blocks.
The EC recommends that software solutions are developed with support for multiple European languages, and to optimise software for reuse by others. Other suggestions include the use of common standards and open technical specifications, and making source code and all other necessary components publicly available.
These and the other recommendations condensed in the EC’s policy paper are recurrent topics at many conferences and workshops on public sector ICT. Promoting collaboration between the public sector and businesses, scientists and citizens to shape the digital transformation is, for example, the core goal of Germany’s annual ‘Digital Gipfel’ organised annually by the federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
This year, Digital Gipfel will take place in Nürnberg on 2 and 3 December. One of the conference’s seven themes addresses European and worldwide digital plans, including organising principles for the digital economy. Here, participants can expect a discussion of fundamental and cross-cutting digitalisation topics.
Likewise, in Italy, this year’s ForumPA conference – which took place in Rome from 22 to 24 May – was all about digital transformation. Sharing and reuse of ICT solutions featured in several of the workshops, for example promoting the use and reuse of Italy’s new eID system, SPID, or the city of Rome’s presentation of its IT strategy on the use of open source solutions.
On top of that, one of the ForumPA workshops focused on the European Interoperability Framework (EIF), a policy that is part of an official communication from the European Commission issued in March. The IEF leverages the Sharing and Reuse Framework for IT Solutions.
Next to these large-scale conferences, there are many workshops that intuitively bring into focus the recommendations and support measures covered by the framework. Take for example the series of workshops on APIs – application programming interfaces – organised by the UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS) in Birmingham (October) and Shipley (17 May). “The more consistent we make our APIs across government, the easier they will be for development teams to maintain and consume. With more ease comes lower development costs and complexity,” GDS writes.