A label to put citizens at the heart of local and regional governments’ digital transformation

On 23rd of May a second workshop was organized by the European Commission aiming to co-create a label for Citizen-centric Digital Cities and Regions. It gathered more than 30 participants from regional and local administrations, academia and citizens' associations and followed the first workshop which set the foundations of our work last April.

The label will ensure the implementation of the 8 user-centricity principles agreed by all EU and EFTA countries in the Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment signed in Tallinn in October 2017 and give visibility to cities and regions that are compliant with these principles.

The participants exchanged ideas, expressed their needs regarding the services that must be offered digitally by local and regional authorities and proposed inspiring solutions in co-creation discussions. As the aim was to understand what the participants think about this initiative, two collaborative sessions took place where participants took the workshop in their hands and developed and rated service-oriented achievements that cities and regions should comply with in order to get the label. Furthermore, the participants shared their views on what can make it attractive for regional and local administrations to apply for the label.

The immediate message expressed was the support for the initiative. The participants were loud and clear: There is a real need for a label which rewards the effort of regional and local municipalities to create effective citizen-centric services.  We must turn the Tallinn Declaration into deeds!

Concrete actions such as the creation of such a label show that Europe has a tangible effect in issues that matter for citizens’ daily lives. And this gets even more important in view of the 2019 European elections. Putting citizens first is not just a slogan. We really mean it in the European Commission and we work jointly with the other European institutions to make it happen.

I want to share with you two important points that were raised during the workshop. The participants requested that the label has to be inclusive and attractive for smaller and larger cities and regions alike. It should be a sign of recognition of the efforts of all regions and municipalities and not exclude the ones with smaller resources in favour of bigger ones. That is why they were concerned about complicated gradations or levels that they had to comply with in order to get the label. The Commission will take that into account. The label must be a tool of cooperation, an incentive of growing together in full respect of diversity. To me this complies with the whole essence of the European project.

The other outcome of the discussions that I would like to share with you is that the label will succeed if it translates effectively the local and regional authorities’ achievements to the citizens. In other words, the label should speak the same language with them. If the citizens understand it and embrace it, it will trigger automatically the interest and commitment of the local and regional authorities to adopt it. This is a real bottom up approach.  

What is coming next? Now the Commission will analyse all this information and develop further the ideas that we have collected. For example, we will have to address the issue of how to organize the peer reviews according to which the label will be granted. Then at our third workshop in September, we will test the water with local and regional authorities.

I would like to thank all participants for their active contribution to the workshop!

You can have a look at the presentations of the day here.

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