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Empowering Citizens to TrAnsform European PubLic Administrations

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CITADEL (Empowering Citizens to TrAnsform European PubLic Administrations)

Reporting period: 2017-10-01 to 2019-09-30

CITADEL action is focused on transforming the public sector to make more efficient, inclusive and citizen-centric digital public services. For years, the public sector has invested a large amount of money in digitizing the public services. Yet, they remain unused or are used very little. Why? How can this situation be improved? The CITADEL project aims at providing some answers to these questions. The CITADEL approach revolves around two strands: “Understand to transform” and “Co-create to transform”, supported by ICT tools and methodologies.

“Understand to transform” has a twofold goal. Firstly, it seeks to comprehend what is the reason that is keeping citizens from not using digital public services (e.g. lack of skills, fear of making a mistake, …) and also to analyse what is the opinion of the citizens about the digital services that they have used. For this, three ICT tools have been developed: 1) the Intelligent Service Discovery that seeks to personalize the portal of the public administration (PA) for that citizen while ensuring its privacy, and complying with the GDPR, 2) the User Assessment that allows a citizen to evaluate a digital public service through a simple star-rated system and through comments that are later on analysed by means of sentiment analysis, and 3) a KPI report generator that provides insights on how certain indicators are behaving. Secondly, it seeks to understand the willingness of civil servants to take part in participatory processes with citizens, the level of trust of citizens in the public institutions, and what is the eGovernment maturity of the public administration in various dimensions: technology, people, organization & legal. The result of this maturity model is a set of recommendations.

Once the diagnosis has been performed with the previous tools, “Co-create to transform” starts. To this end, CITADEL has developed a customizable methodology taking into consideration aspects such as the complexity of the service, time available, budget and so on. This customization is supported by a tool. For the generation of ideas, the Innovation platform has been developed.

These results have been validated in:
a) VARAM: Latvian ministry in charge of e-services. The use case had a threefold goal: 1) to improve the service delivery channels, which has allowed them to understand better the gaps, bottlenecks and misconceptions, as well as their users, and get in direct contact with their users to get insights about more aspects rather than just usability, such as strategy, 2) to change VARAM Public Service Department processes and mindset in what respects citizen engagement, resulting in a better understanding of what user involvement means, and 3) to improve other institutions’ knowledge and toolsets.
b) Regione di Puglia: focused on three topics: 1) civil servant awareness and their willingness to collaborate with citizens, 2) capacity building by analysing the current gaps in the civil servants and 3) public servants and citizen involvement through co-creation and e-participation, and by listening to the stakeholders.
c) City of Antwerp: 1) civil servant awareness to collaborate with citizens and 2) co-creation activities to change their e-service ‘life event’. In this case, what it was initially as a re-design of their e-desk service, resulted in a complete redefinition of the content structure of antwerpen.be and required a sustained user-oriented content strategy.
d) DUCs: The Urban districts of commerce in Italy are a special level of PAs with the objective to enhance the commercial, touristic and cultural attractiveness of cities. In this case, 5 DUCs used the innovation platform for the design of their executive plans.
e) Smart Working: the security toolkit, based on encryption and blockchain, was validated to ensure the smart working hours of public servants in the city of Bari.
The results are:
- Recommendations and guidelines: (DIGIMAT) Assessment on the maturity of a PA with respect to the provision of Digital Services and recommendations to improve the level
- Information monitoring service: Enables PAs to publish data in a reusable format; to convert data to Linked Data, and to calculate KPIs using the Linked Data which facilitates the extraction of relevant conclusions.
- Methodology for the co-creation of digital public services, that can be customizable taking into account six parameters. This customization is based on rules created with the knowledge obtained in the SLRs performed. Supported by a tool that guides in each step of the way.
- Discovery service: Manage the digital public service discovery. The discovered services are the most suitable ones for a concrete citizen based on the information available in each moment from him/her
- Assessment services: Provide the means to assess a used service, answering an evaluation questionnaire, and analyse the assessment of the different services providing a sentiment analysis of the comments.
- Security toolkit: Provides advanced authentication and authorization features and DLT for the CITADEL ecosystem and anonymization and encryption functionalities to preserve sensitive and confidential data in the information flows
- Ecosystem: Entry point for the ICT enablers.
- Innovation Platform: Virtual space where people can collaborate proposing ideas and expressing their appreciation about them.
- Analysis of user-exit and non-take-up of digital public services
- Study on public officials’ willingness to engage with citizens, complemented with empirical vignette studies into public officials’ willingness to engage with citizens in administrative decision-making
- A multi-level analysis of trust of citizens in PAs from open data sources

The source code of the ICT enablers is open.

Several PAs have shown interest in some of the CITADEL results.
Innovation:
- The holistic approach followed to understand the user-exit and non-take up, analyzing the citizens’ attitude, the willingness of public servants to engage with citizens in administrative decision-making, the maturity of public administrations, and the knowledge of public servants in regard to privacy.
- Co-creation methodology and the rules for the personalization of the methodology
- Inclusion of the social and technical aspects in the eGovernment Maturity Model (DIGIMAT), co-creation methodology and KPI report generator.
- Fully functional ICT enablers, evaluated and implemented by the use cases.
- Legal vademecum for PAs.
- Studies on the trust of citizens in PAs and on the willingness of public officials to engage with citizens.

Societal Impacts:
- The digital transformation of a PA is a multi-disciplinary approach, that cannot be solely based on technological aspects, but also needs to take into consideration people (including willingness to engage with citizens, organization (e.g. digital skills, capacity building) and legal implications (e.g. knowledge of privacy and other regulations)).
- Governments can understand better their users, their needs and overall opinion of the services provided. This can lead to a redesign of the process & service or even the strategy which is expected to result in an increase of use of the digital public service.
- Through co-creation sessions, citizens & other stakeholders can be involved in the (re-)definition of a public service, which can also have broader implications than just a barely re-design of the user interface, becoming more user-centric.
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