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National Interoperability Framework of Spain

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The National Interoperability Framework (NIF) of Spain is a legal text, Royal Decree
4/2010, which develops provisions about interoperability stated in the
eGovernment Law 11/2007 and is applicable to all Public Administrations in
Spain. This legal approach embeds interoperability requirements in the legal
framework of administrative procedure and eGovernment, thus configuring an
integrated, coherent and comprehensive approach. The NIF takes into account the
European recommendations and systematically refers to the linking of the
interoperability instruments of Spain with the equivalent ones in the EU.

This Framework includes criteria and recommendations about standardization of information, formats and applications and about preservation of information to be taken into account by Public Administrations when adopting technological decisions so as to ensure interoperability. For security issues the reference is the National Security Framework.

The National Interoperability Framework pursues the creation of the necessary conditions to ensure an adequate level of organizational, semantic and technical interoperability of systems and applications used by Public Administrations that permits the exercise of rights and the fulfillment of duties through the electronic access to public services; it also pursues providing benefits in terms of effectiveness and effectiveness.

In order to create such conditions, the National Interoperability Framework introduces the common elements that have to guide the action of the Public Administrations regarding interoperability. Particularly, it introduces the following principal elements:

  • The specific principles of interoperability;
  • The dimensions of interoperability, organizational, semantic and technical, are taken into account, as they were explicitly mentioned in article 41 of Law 11/2007;
  • Common infrastructures and services are recognized to be relevant instruments that contribute to the simplification and propagation of interoperability and that facilitate multilateral interactions;
  • The concept of 'reuse' applied to applications of Public Administrations, associated information and to other objects of information, given the fact that together with 'share' and 'collaborate' is relevant for interoperability, and all of them are recognized by EU policies;
  •  The interoperability of electronic signature and electronic certificates;
  • Preservation of the electronic documents, considering the effect of time in interoperability;
  •  Finally, it is created a series of Technical Interoperability Standards and instruments for interoperability, in order to facilitate the implementation of the Framework.

The Technical Interoperability Standards describe specific aspects of a wide range of topics such as e-documents, digitisation, e-files, authentic copy and
conversion, signature policy, standards, data brokerage, data models,
e-document management, connection to the communication network of the Spanish
Public Administration, and data models for the exchange of registry entries and
declaration of conformity, all of which are necessary to guarantee the more
practical and operational aspects of interoperability between Public
Administration agencies and citizens.

Policy context

The Royal Decree 4/2010, of January 8th (Official Gazette, January 29th) regulates the National Interoperability Framework foreseen in the article 42 of the eGovernment Law 11/2007.

It has been developed with the participation of all Public Administrations (General State, Regional Local) in Spain through the Administration Bodies with competences in the field of eGovernment.

During the last three years more than a hundred experts of Public Administrations have contributed to its elaboration; together with a wide number of experts who have contributed with their opinion through the professional associations of ICT Industry.

The National Interoperability Scheme takes into account the recommendations of the European Union, the technological situation of the different public administrations, as well as existing electronic services, the use of open standards, as well as if so and, additionally, standards of use generalised by the citizens.

In terms of the recommendations coming from the European Union the following aspects have been taken into account: the European Interoperability Framework, developed by Programme IDABC, as well as other instruments and activities developed by this programme and that affect the many aspects of interoperability, such as the European Semantic Interoperability Centre (SEMIC.EU), the Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR.EU) and the European Union Public Licence (EUPL); the Decision 922/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on interoperability solutions for European public administrations (ISA); the action plans on eGovernment, regarding interoperability and related aspects particularly, in relation to the Community policy about share, reuse and collaborate'.

Description of target users and groups

  • Public Administrations of Spain: managers and civil servants responsible for the planning, design, procurement, development, deployment, operation of systems for eGoverment services;
  • ICT Industry providers of Public Administrations.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The National Interoperability Framework is implemented through the Royal Decree 4/2010, of January 8th (Official Gazette, January 29th) which regulates the National Interoperability Framework foreseen in the article 42 of the eGovernment Law 11/2007, with the participation of all Public Administrations through the Administration Bodies with competences in the field of eGovernement and which join all Public Administrations national, regional and local (Highest Council of eGoverment - Consejo Superior de Administracion Electrónica, Sectorial Committee of eGovernment - Comite Sectorial de Administracion Electronica, National Commission of Local Administration - Comision Nacional de Administracion Local).

Technology solution

The following principles have been followed:

  • Interoperability as an integral quality: Interoperability shall be taken into account integrally from the conception of services and systems and throughout their life-cycle: planning, design, acquisition, construction, development, deployment publication, preservation and access or interconnection;
  • Multidimensional nature of interoperability: Interoperability shall be understood considering its organizational, semantic and technical dimensions. The interoperability chain is shown in practice in the interadministrative agreements, in the deployment of systems and services, in the determination and use of standards, in the infrastructures and basic services of public administrations and in the publication and re-use of applications of public administrations, associated documentation and of other objects of information. All this without forgetting the time dimension that has to guarantee access to the information throughout time;
  • Focus on multilateral solutions: The multilateral approach to interoperability shall be favoured so as to obtain the benefits of scale, of the application of modular architectures, and multiplatform, sharing, reuse and collaborate.

Main results, benefits and impacts

The National Interoperability Framework pursues the creation of the necessary conditions to ensure an adequate level of organizational, semantic and technical interoperability of systems and applications used by Public Administrations that permits the exercise of rights and the fulfillment of duties through the electronic access to public services; it also pursues providing benefits in terms of effectiveness and effectiveness.

The National Interoperability Framework:

  • Includes criteria and recommendations to be taken into account by Public Administrations when adopting technological decisions so as to ensure interoperability and avoid discrimination of citizens on the basis of their technological choice;
  • Introduces the common elements that will guide the activity of Public Administrations in relation to interoperability;
  • Introduces a common language that will facilitate the interaction among public administrations as well as the communication of interoperability requirements to ICT Industry.

Track record of sharing

This National Interoperability Framework has been developed with the participation of all Public Administrations in Spain and it is expected a high degree of reuse of it.

Lessons learnt

The three main lessons learnt are the following:

  1. The need to address interoperability from a completely global perspective including all aspects legal, organizational, semantic, technical, common infrastructures and services, standards and the notion of share, reuse and collaborate, as well as lessons learnt from other equivalent initiatives.
  2. The importance of taking into account the points of view and contribution of all stakeholders involved. This National Interoperability Framework has been developed with the participation of all Public Administrations in Spain. During the last three years more than a hundred experts of Public Administrations have contributed to its elaboration; together with a wide number of experts who have contributed with their opinion through the professional associations of ICT Industry. During the elaboration process it has been taken into account a wide number of references about eGovernment and interoperability coming from the European Union, other countries, standardization bodies and forums and national legislation.
  3. The importance of introducing the common elements and language of interoperability in our legal basis.

Case Info

Acronym:
ENI
Start date:
2010
Operational date:
31 December 2009

Information

Target Users or Group:
Administrative, Business (industry), Business (self-employed), Business (SME), Other
highlight:
eGovernment, ePractice, IT-Governance, National Interoperability Framework Observatory, Procurement, IT & Standards (PITS), Test Community example for Build up
Case status:
Operation
Funding source:
Public funding national
Geographic coverage:
Spain
Implementation cost:
Not applicable / Not available
Keywords:
framework, Interoperability, legal documents
Themes:
eGovernment, Infrastructure, Interoperability, Legal Aspects, Policy
Scope:
Local (city or municipality), National, Regional (sub-national)
Technology choice:
Mainly (or only) open standards
Type of service:
Not applicable / Not available
Yearly cost:
Not applicable / Not available
Return on investment:
Not applicable / Not available
Overall implementation approach:
Public administration
My languages:
Spanish
Type of initiative:
Strategic initiative