eGovernment: delivering innovative public services for citizens and businesses
The digital transformation of government will benefit citizens and businesses, save administrations money and create a new marketplace for public service applications. EU-funded projects have helped to overcome obstacles and provide the building blocks for administrations to deliver new digital services across departments and across borders.
While the technology to achieve smarter, joined-up administrative e-services is there, public administrations have often faced numerous obstacles, including budget constraints, legal, procedural and technical interoperability problems between services and administrations (as well as between countries) and access to technical know-how. These issues have limited the roll-out of digital Public Services.
This is something that the European Commission is determined to address. As outlined in its EU eGovernment Action Plan for 2016-2020, the digital transformation of government is a key element of building the Digital Single Market.
Developing an ICT-enabled public sector has been recognised as a societal challenge by Horizon 2020, the EU framework programme for research and innovation.
Cloud computing – which is about sharing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices handle each individual application – has the capacity to transform and improve public services while making them more cost effective. A number of eGovernment projects have been launched based on the cloud of public services concept, some of which are highlighted in this Results Pack. These include CLOUDOPTING, which has developed a platform to help administrations access a range of cloud-based applications, and STORM CLOUDS, which has helped public authorities shift their services to a cloud-based paradigm.
In addition, a number of coordinated Large Scale Pilot projects funded by the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) have been rolled out. These pilots aimed to pilot first and then deploy the results with the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF, including key digital) building blocks that public administrations can (re)use to design and develop new e-services that might make moving, say, to other Member States or tendering for contracts across borders much simpler.
This Results Pack highlights the successes of two of these Large Scale Pilot projects. The first is the ambitious EUR 27 million e-SENS project, which is just nearing completion. This project has built upon the success of previous projects (such as ePSOS, STORK, PEPPOL and SPOCS) to deliver a basic online infrastructure that can be used across a range of public services. The second is e-CODEX, a secure cloud-based e-delivery system that allows judicial services to handle and exchange information on civil, commercial and even criminal matters.
All of these projects have fundamentally been based on collaboration, transparency and participation of national authorities in Member States, with the aim of taking public administrations out of their silos and making it easier for them to connect and engage with citizens, businesses and other public services across Europe. Citizens and businesses stand will benefit from more personalised public services, while new commercial opportunities will also be opened up by the creation of an eGovernment services/applications marketplace.
The Commission has been investing in projects in the domain of public administration services for a decade, in order to accelerate modernisation in administration. Seamless cross-border and digital public services contribute to competitiveness and make the EU a more attractive place to invest and live in.