CITADEL in the Digital Government Scenario. Part III - What does Digital Government imply?

As the OECD recommends, Public Administrations:

  • “can no longer afford to separate efficiency from other societal policy objectives in the governing and managing of digital technologies”,
  • “Setting up more open approaches to policymaking and public service delivery requires governments to re-organise themselves around user expectations, needs and associated requirements, rather than their own internal logic and needs”,
  • “it is imperative that governments also understand the level of organisational maturity of the public sector in relation to project management methods and approaches, and are able to achieve appropriate levels of maturity in relation to their needs and ambitions”.

Indeed,    the OECD recommends that PAs develop and implement digital government strategies that:

  • Assure greater transparency, openness and inclusiveness,
  • encourage engagement and participation of all stakeholders (i.e., public, private and civil society) in policy making and public service design and delivery,
  • address issues of citizens’ rights, organisation and resource allocation, adoption of new rules and standards, use of communication tools and development of institutional capacities to help facilitate engagement of all age groups and population segments,
  • identify and engage non-governmental organisations, businesses or citizens to form a digital government ecosystem for the provision and use of digital services,
  • create a data-driven culture in the public sector, by:
  • developing frameworks to enable, guide, and foster access to, use and re-use of, the increasing amount of evidence, statistics and data concerning operations, processes and results to (a) increase openness and transparency, and (b) incentivise public engagement in policy making, public value creation, service design and delivery,
  • balancing the need to provide timely official data with the need to deliver trustworthy data.

To achieve these objectives the EU PAs must heavily rethink their role and way of operating moving from the traditional approach, where PAs are focused on providing services, rules and authorizations, to an approach where the PA becomes an enabling platform (https://forumpa2018.eventifpa.it/it/2018/02/22/pa-abilitante-open-governance-cosa-cambia-la-pa/) to foster and support collaboration among all stakeholders. This enabling platform must of course use ICT to support an open governance and foster synergic and effective cooperation among all the actors and improve accountability and active stakeholders’ involvement. To this end the PA has to rethink its organization, the way its employees’ skills are enhanced and upgraded, its management skills and approaches, its communication and interaction patterns, its procurement approach, its decision approach (which must be data driven) and its services. These ones must not only be heavily based on ICT, but also accessible via different channels, easily understandable and usable, but also codesigned and codeveloped so to best, and continuously, fit the needs of stakeholders and citizens.The PA enabling platform must also be characterized by supporting rapid service development and delivery, and powerful interoperability and integration features so that new ideas for greater transparency, effectiveness and efficiency can be trialled and refitted if needed.

How CITADEL fits in this scenarioCITADEL focuses on exploring and analyse enablers, barriers and impacts for an open, innovative and collaborative PA. CITADEL objective is, therefore, to support PA in becoming more able to understand, transform and improve.To this end CITADEL is developing methodologies and tools that enable PAs to:

  • assess their statuses and monitor how they evolve over time, so to provide to PAs objective elements to evaluate its strategies and efficacy,
  • design and deploy collaborative processes to revise its programmes and services and design new ones,
  • be more effective and inclusive being able to more quickly catch stakeholders needs, stimulate active participation and collaboration.

All these aspects involve the design and validation of new methodologies and the development of ICT tools that can make their use effective and methodical. CITADEL validation will take benefit from the direct involvement of PAs in the project (specifically, the City of Antwerp in Belgium, the Apulia regional government in Italy, the Latvia national government) that provide specific objectives and validation contexts.As example of ICT tools being developed and deployed in CITADEL, we mention:

  • The CITADEL Innovation Platform (CIP) which supports the management of the co-creation processes by PAs. This tool provides the possibility to create a virtual space devoted to discuss specific issues and through which a PA can interact with stakeholders (other PAs, citizens, associations, etc.), solicit ideas, positions, opinions;
  • Automation of co-creation process management using the BPMN standard and supporting technologies, so that a co-creation process life cycle could be properly managed and monitored.

As evident from these two example, CITADEL is moving to foster the PA enabling platform design and contributing to develop some of its components.