Digital Government – Promoting prosperity for all (event 11.10.17)

During the European Week of Regions and Cities DG CNECT organised a workshop on how digital government can promote prosperity in regions and cities. The event was very well-attended and showcased many interesting projects. 

The workshop explored how local and regional administrations can (i) facilitate businesses by simplifying administrative procedures through data sharing; (ii) create an enabling environment for new services to emerge by opening up government data and (iii) embrace innovation by working with technology start-ups. Read more about digital government for prosperity here.

We were delighted to have Kieran McCarthy, member of the Committee of the Regions, as a keynote speaker at the workshop. He highlighted the importance of building a European data economy. Broadband connection has become essential, data sources diversify, the use of machine-generated data is emerging in many fields, and with the rise of the Internet of Things these all create a web of interactions that should be exploited. He emphasised that local and regional authorities have to embrace the technological development and take advantage of the huge potential to create digital infrastructures to tailor the services.

The participants learned from a number of very interesting showcases how opening-up public sector information and modular services can foster data-driven businesses, spur job creation and enhance competitiveness, how the public sector can innovate using open data, and how administrations can buy innovative solutions from start-ups seizing the opportunity of the Gov.Tech sector to become more innovative.  

Aleksandr Cepilovs (TOOP) explained the concept of the Once-Only Principle (data should be collected and stored only once), to be tested by The Once-Only Principle Project (TOOP). Besides several benefits, the project aims at creating a better functioning Digital Single Market in the long run. Three pilot scenarios are supposed to test the CEF Building Blocks and to investigate barriers: providing cross-border eServices, updating connected company data and enabling online ship and crew certificates.

Martin S. Jensen (Danish Agency for Digitisation) brought the example of the Basic Data Programme from Denmark, which is the largest cross-government programme in the country striving to standardise data, improve its quality and make it easily accessible. Cohesion between different authorities makes the data comparable, and benefits all stakeholders, with the ultimate aim of delivering high-quality services to the citizens.

Ann Fournier (Digipolis) addressed the question of how to bring public procurement and innovation together. Matching needs is crucial to succeed: while start-ups look for customers, public authorities seek creative and fast solutions. Enabling collaboration, a fast procurement procedure has been introduced. The public sector, working with innovative start-ups, serves the benefit of all stakeholders.

Mauko Quiroga ( presented the French “government-as-a-platform” setup, which has three building blocks (reutilisation and improvement of data, state start-ups, API portal). State start-ups are special teams put together only to solve one specific problem, while the API portal allows government, businesses and citizens to work together to build more and better services. These solutions heavily rely on sharing knowledge and working together. The system is soon to be expanded to local authorities and even abroad.

The Commission presented the EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 and its dynamic nature, which allows stakeholders to introduce ideas or needs on the eGovernment4EU platform. The participants were invited to submit any ideas or need they may have. The guidance for implementing eGovernment at local and regional level was presented as well as the recently signed Tallinn Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment in which EU Member States confirm the vision and principles of the Action Plan and agree on a list of further actions.

As the workshop showed us, the transition to digital government has multiple facets. Nevertheless, collaboration and sharing best practices are of key importance in order to capitalise on already existing solutions and to fight obstacles. The ultimate aim is to create a better functioning Digital Single Market and to provide customised, user-friendly public services to European citizens and businesses.

We would also like to hear your idea. How can digital government transformation lead to growth and prosperity? What would you suggest your local, regional or national administration to do differently? What would be the real game changer? Let us know your ideas; submit your needs here until 30/11/2017.

The formal event report will be available on European Week of Regions and Cities website in December. The pictures from the workshop are already available here, and the presentations can be found here.    

eGovernment LRAs local and regional administrations digital government digital at local level.