Analysis

This chapter - the main body of the report - focuses on the analysis of individual projects, describing a selection of Good Practices that display innovative or transferable characteristics. It includes the aggregated thematic analysis at the INTERREG IVC programme level aimed at benchmarking the knowledge produced by the projects and their thematic content, demonstrating the added value of interregional cooperation.

3.1 Analysis of individual projects

INTERREG IVC includes a significant number of projects and participants – 204 projects involving 2274 partners – and the knowledge generated in the several projects relates mainly to capacity building, leading to the transfer of practices and policy improvements. In the projects, participating regions learn from each other and exploit the knowledge created by individual participants for the benefit of all the participants in the project.

Out of 111 projects, the INTERREG IVC identified six projects addressing E-government services, which constitute the ‘core’ of this analysis. Further details on the core projects that are part of the E-government services thematic area, including facts & figures, can be found in Annexe 1 to this report.

An initial assessment of projects proposed as core projects was performed based solely on the information listed in the INTERREG IVC database for the purpose of validating these projects as belonging to the E-government Services theme. The analysis of the INTERREG IVC Good Practices database was conducted in order to verify the thematic relevance of the selected projects. A total of 36 Good Practices was assessed (4 for PIKE, 5 for DLA, 10 for IMMODI, 1 for eCitizen II, 5 for I-SPEED, and 11 for OSEPA) – resulting in a list of questions / topics for further discussion for each Good Practice. These Good Practices are listed and briefly described in Annexe 8 of the report.

A final selection of the Core Projects and Satellite Projects for ‘E-government services’ was then performed.

The Core Projects addressed were those suggested by the Secretariat, and following a more in-depth analysis, other projects were included as Satellite projects on the list of projects addressed by the exercise. The selection of core and satellite projects was based on an analysis of Good Practices and policies. Projects DLA, eCitizen II, OSEPA, I-SPEED, PIKE and IMMODI were selected as core projects as all included Good Practices related with three or more of the following topics: Efficiency & Effectiveness, Benchmarking of services; Inclusive E-government; E-identity and E-security; E-participation, E-democracy and E-voting; E-procurement; Services for Business; Services for Citizens; Infrastructure; Interoperability; Legal Aspects; Multichannel Delivery; Open Source; Policy; Regional and Local Services; User-centric Services.

Upon analysis of the project database, other projects where identified as potential, core, or satellite: RTF, CASA, DC, DAA, e-Create, EuroPROC, and DANTE.

Table 8: E-government Services core and satellite projects

Project

Comment
DLA Common methodology for the implementation of Digital Local Agenda and its impact on regional digital policies CORE project
eCitizen II Towards citizen-centred E-government in European cities and regions CORE project
OSEPA Open Source software usage by European Public Administrations CORE project
I-SPEED Information Society Policies for Sustainable European Economic Development CORE project
PIKE Promotion Innovation and the Knowledge Economy CORE project
IMMODI Implementing Modi CORE project
RTF Regional Telemedicine Forum Satellite project
CASA Consortium for Assistive Solutions Adoption Satellite project
DC Digital Cities Satellite project
e-Create Cultural Routes Entrepreneurship and Technologies Enhancement Satellite project
EuroPROC EU Regional Cooperation for SMEs access to Public Procurement Satellite project
DAA Design led Innovations for Active Ageing Satellite project
DANTE Digital Agenda for New Tourism Approach in European Rural and Mountain Areas Satellite project

The individual core projects from the ‘E-government Services’ capitalisation theme are presented in the next sections. This description of the six projects is structured to include the main objective, general information (partners included in the consortium), focus of the project, innovative practices, lessons learnt and policy recommendations. Tailored recommendations to the projects are also included. The innovative practices identified in each project are described in detail, including its objectives, context, main results, and lessons learnt. These practices are also classified according to the E-government paradigm, target (according to the definitions in Table 1) and priority (according to Table 8). For the innovative practices deemed relevant to the E-government Services theme, an additional analysis is included in the form of ‘Project Testimonials’, related to the following questions:

  • Why should this be considered as a Good Practice?
  • What particular features make it unique?
  • How has the project contributed towards the improvement / dissemination / replication of this practice? 
  • To what extent is the Good Practice replicable? 

This analysis of the individual projects will be the basis for the aggregated analysis, developed in the next section. These six CORE projects account for 36 Good Practices, 19 of which are directly related to E-government services (53%). The most relevant of these practices will be described in next part.

Data (facts and figures) about each of these projects are presented in Annexe 2. Annexe 3 presents the same information but for the satellite projects.

  • 3.1.1 DLA – Digital Local Agenda

    • DLA project logoThe project Digital Local Agenda defines itself as a common strategy shared with citizens for the development of the Information Society, which accounts for socio-economic, cultural, and institutional factors. The digital divide in Europe is a reality, and the economic and social development of European regions is largely conditioned by the degree of implementation of the Information Society. The main objective is to improve regional policies in order to develop new activities related to the application of ICT in the provision of public services.

      "DLA is implemented by 11 partners from 11 different regions and the main overarching objective is to “improve regional policies in the field of information Society through the introduction of the Digital Local Agenda.”

      3.1.1.1 Some Good Practices from DLA

      From the pool of Good Practices and other initiatives explored, four examples of innovative approaches have been selected. These will be described next, while the remaining are summarised in Annexe 8. The following Good Practices can be presented as examples of innovative approaches:

      - CityWiki Karlsruhe (online regional information portal by citizens for tourists and businesses; makes it easier for new citizens to discover the region and the city, provides historic information for citizens),
      - Gesundheitsnetz Ostalbkreis (health web - online portal providing information on various health is-sues offering citizens an overview of health services in an remote area),
      - Online Municipal Services (innovative concept of an Internet portal for citizens),
      - Web Portal for the Municipality of Patras (advanced electronic government system, to serve citizens and businesses, offering thematic sections according to the type of visitor).

      ◊ CityWiki Karlsruhe - Germany (online regional information portal for by the citizens for tourists)

      Classification: Society-centric (paradigm); C2C (target) and User Empowerment (priority)

      The StadtWiki Karlsruhe (CitiWiki Karlsruhe) is an online information portal for the people of the region. It was initiated in 2004 by a citizen of Karlsruhe. Inspired by the ‘wisdom of crowds’ logic, the wiki is not administered by a single person or authority; rather, it allows citizens to write posts and articles and share their knowledge.

      Creating E-government services inspired by the ‘wisdom of crowds’

      The wiki also offers citizens an overview of important events and dates in the region in several languages. The main objectives of the initiative are for it to be an information portal for tourists and business people, to make it easier for new citizens to discover the region and the city, and to be a maintainer/provider of historic information for citizens.

      This initiative is applicable to other European cities/ regions as it is relatively easy to introduce and does not require permanent administrative manpower but is administered and updated by citizens and other interested users. Success relies on creating an active and interested community of users.

      Gesundheitsnetz Ostalbkreis – Germany (health web - online portal providing information on various health issues offering citizens an overview of health services in the province of Ostwürttemberg)

      Classification: Citizen-centric (paradigm), G2C (target) and User Empowerment (priority)

      Since September 2007, the internet portal www.gesundheitsnetz-ostalbkreis.de offers health-related information for citizens in the province of Ostwürttemberg (Germany). The portal was initiated by ‘Me-dia@Komm-Transfer’, a nationwide E-government contest, in which the Ostalbkreis county administration participated.

      Offering E-government services aimed at providing citizens with information on public health

      As a result of this initiative, several lessons and recommendations can be highlighted:

      - difficulty in gaining members (paying health providers), which requires intense communication efforts through various channels (email, direct mailing, etc.);
      - difficulty to compete with Google because establishing a known regional information platform is a task that requires a considerable effort (4-year-plus timeframe);
      - technology is not the challenge, but the continued promotion and dynamics of the platform.

      Online Municipal Services / Balcão de Atendimento Virtual – Portugal (Services for the citizens in the city of Porto)

      Classification: Citizen-centric (paradigm), G2B/G2C (target) and the Efficiency and effectiveness of Government and administration (priority)

      The Balcão de Atendimento Virtual (BAV) portal is an innovative concept for an internet portal. This portal offers all the information and tools needed for a citizen to interact with city hall.

      BAV portal’s information is provided in a citizen-centric view according to the needs of the users, and not in a services view as used by traditional portals. In other words, depending on the user profile, or the user needs, the information is filtered, organised, and presented in different ways.

      A portal with a citizen-centric view and not government-centric view

      BAV portal also provides full online services from forms submission to online payment or process tracking, providing convenience and saving time for citizens and businesses by avoiding travel and waiting times.

      As an innovation, the BAV also has an advanced search engine and a back office, which will become the content manager for all sites from the municipality of Porto.

      Web Portal for the Municipality of Patras – Greece (Services for the citizens and business in the city of Patras)

      Classification: Citizen-centric (paradigm), G2B/G2C (target) and effectiveness of Government and administration (priority)

      In response to modern challenges for improving public administration and citizen service, the Municipality of Patras created an advanced electronic government system designed to serve citizens and businesses, offering thematic sections tailored to the type of visitor, whether citizen or visitor, or company operating within the limits of the municipality.

      Creating an advanced electronic government system designed to serve citizens and businesses, offering tailored thematic sections

      The portal's Guide for Citizens is a typical citizen-centric approach. It is an attempt to categorise all the issues that can be served by the Municipality of Patras and all the useful information that can make every-day life a little easier. This initiative highlighted a set of important aspects related to the implementation of advanced E-government services:

      - They enhance the quality of services offered to citizens at local, regional and national level.
      - They create willingness in the citizens to participate in public local decision-making.
      - Interoperability between local and national information systems makes public services more efficient and faster. 

      PROJECT TESTIMONIALS

      Why should this be considered as a Good Practice?

      The Web Portal for the Municipality of Patras can be considered as a Good Practice because it is a typical example of a modern Electronic government system aimed at serving citizens and business on a local level. It is uses the specifications of the Greek E-government Interoperability Framework (Greek E-GIF), which is the cornerstone of the Digital Strategy 2006-2013 for the transition and adjustment of the requirements of modern times and is directly related to the objectives and direction of European policy 2010.

      What particular features make it unique?

      The way it provides citizen-oriented services that help citizens to better understand the structure of the municipality and enables them to find their way around the administration and to communicate directly with the appropriate department or contact person. This practice enhances the quality of services offered to citizens in the Municipality of Patras, creating willingness to participate in public local decision-making. Furthermore, it guarantees interoperability between local and national information systems making public services more efficient and faster.

      How has the project contributed towards the improvement / dissemination / replication of this practice?

      A study on the benefits and results of this practice, both for citizens and for stakeholders, was conducted during the project. This study demonstrates that this good practice contributes positively to achieving the following Digital Local Agenda Action Goals (see DLA manifesto):

      * E-participation (improving the quality of information; integration and interoperability; linking existing legacy systems),
      * E-inclusion (enabling local civil society groups to participate actively in decision processes), and
      * advanced municipal and local services (ensuring that all citizens can interact with public authorities through a single access point; using models of seamless services delivery that are citizen-centred).

      To what extent is the Good Practice replicable?

      This practice is replicable to other regions. Each region can use this practice as a role model and develop their own system adapted to their requirements with the aim of adopting new technologies, with a view to providing better services to citizens and businesses. The practice and results of the study were disseminated to DLA partners, aiming to deliver this knowledge to other region. Transfer has not yet occurred between regions at the time of writing.

      3.1.1.2 Lessons learnt and recommendations

      These initiatives show that citizen involvement can bootstrap and create sustainable services. Opening up data from the regions (e.g. historical data) to these initiatives is one way to create user involvement, but feedback and recognition on the citizen participation is key to long-term sustainability. Moreover, establishing known regional information platforms requires intense communication efforts through various channels and over time (4-year-plus timeframe); technology is not the challenge, but the continued promotion and continuous development of the platform is.

      The findings and lessons from this project show that, in the case of public administrations, the adoption of ICT tools in day-to-day practices brings immediate improvements: more efficiency, more productivity, and better services for citizens and businesses. However, the extent to which E-government services are developed in public authorities across Europe varies somewhat across regions.

      The DLA project should further explore the tool used for defining the Digital Local Agenda and apply this tool in the definition of robust action plans for the regions involved; based on these action plans, each region should explore the opportunities in the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020. As stated before, this tool is relevant for other regions in Europe and should be further disseminated along with the practices ‘Online Municipal Services’ and ‘Web Portal for the Municipality of Patras’. Moreover, it would be relevant for the regions involved in the DLA project to look at the practice ‘eLocal’ from the project PIKE and several practices from the project OSEPA.

  • 3.1.2 eCitizen II

    • eCitizen II project logoThe aim of the eCitizen II project is to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and best practices regarding E-Participation between the cities and regions of Europe. The main method for knowledge transfer takes the form of international joint seminars and study tours. 

      eCitizen II is implemented by 13 partners from 12 different regions and the main overarching objective of eCitizen II is “how to utilize better the developed eParticipation policies, strategies and services in accelerating the eGovernment development and improve involvement of citizens in local decision making process to provide high-quality public services”.

      3.1.2.1 Some Good Practices from eCitizen II

      From the pool of Good Practices explored, the project selected one best practice that was subject to transfer between regions according to the action plans. This good practice will be described next.

      Vas Nazor – Czech Republic (Online participation tool for Czech municipalities in Vysocina region)

      Classification: Citizen-centric (paradigm), G2C (target) and user empowerment (priority)

      The online participation tool Vas Nazor (Your Opinion) is a tool for online democracy development allowing citizens to participate online in the decision preparation process. The developed online solution provides tools for the municipality to present background and recent information about the topic, allowing citizens to register as users and give their opinion about the topic under public discussion.

      Developing online participation tools designed to involve citizens in the decision preparation process

      The online participation tool Vas Nazor has already been introduced into seven municipalities of the Vysocina region (Czech Republic), and its introduction into several additional municipalities is being considered. Vas Nazor is based on the experience of the Valma online participation tool from Tampere, Finland - www.tampere.fi/valma - and is the direct result of knowledge and experience transfer between those two partners.

      3.1.2.2 Lessons learnt and recommendations

      The main output of the project – the ‘Pan-European Online Manual of E-Participation Best Practices’ (www.eparticipation.eu) – and some of the best practices in the manual were the basis for the lessons learnt and policy recommendations resulting from the project: for example Budjetti Kone  and MyMoney show how to improve communication with citizens by using visual information. More than 80 cases are currently described in the online manual, as well as examples for different good practices and recommendations.
      This initiative, which aims to improve E-participation by providing best practices and experiences from different contexts and regions, can be classified as Citizen-centric (paradigm), G2C (target) and user empowerment (priority). From the available practices, a set of lessons were drawn:

      - First participation, then ‘e’-participation, (participation needs to be first accepted by the community).
      - Design process rules with regard to the newest communication technologies (E-participation is not only about emails, Facebook or tweets; E-participation needs to be a clear and defined process for municipal organisations and for all the stakeholders).
      - Not everybody is an E-citizen yet (we need to consider all acceptable channels and ways on how to bring citizens into one common discussion space).

      Policy recommendations address several issues that were found during the project:

      * Historical, cultural, legal backgrounds are very different (not possible to transfer E-participation practices directly, they need to be localised and adapted to local culture and needs).
      * Some national legislation requires participation, some leave it optional.
      * Some countries provide trusted online identity, a lot of countries still do not (for example, electronic identification based on the national ID card).
      * A lot of municipalities are taking up the E-participation challenge, but others are ignoring it until it is made compulsory.

      Several barriers have to be overcome (related to language, culture, gender roles, social competences, traditions, fears and ignorance, mistrust or lack of trust of new tools and channels). One example that is illustrative of some of these findings is the transfer of a Good Practice from Valma to Vaz Nazor involving the adoption of the Valma online E-participation forum in the region of Vysocina. (This was created by the city of Tampere under the eCitizen project to enable citizens to participate in the city council decision-making process.) The transfer clearly showed what barriers exist and how they can be addressed. For example, one of the main lessons learnt is that not everyone is an ‘E-citizen’ yet, so it is important to strike the right balance between new media (internet and social media, email, etc.) and traditional media (with printed materials, information centres, etc.). These experiences show that E-government services can create a significant potential for increased citizen activity and participation in governmental processes, but also emphasise the need to make public resources accessible, thereby enabling their reuse to create real measurable benefits for the citizens.

      The eCitizen II project should explore further the online E-participation portal and disseminate this tool to other regions in Europe.

  • 3.1.3 IMMODI (IMplementing DIgital MOuntain)

    • IMMODI project logoThe main objective of IMMODI, implementing digital development in mountain areas, is to address a shared regional policy issue: the access to and development of E-government and E-health services in mountainous and rural regions and territories of the EU. Such an objective contributes to overcoming the phenomenon of isolation and to improving the living standards of citizens in mountain and rural areas.

      The overarching project objective will be to reduce the cultural and human gap that is a feature of less accessible and mountain areas, helping to reduce this divide by the dissemination and implementation of proven Good Practices for new public services and opportunities.

      IMMODI is an INTERREG IVC Capitalisation project, which brings together 10 partners from European Regions (NUTS II), representing 7 European countries (Italy, France, Spain, Bulgaria, Germany, Finland and Sweden).

      IMMODI is implemented by 10 partners from seven different regions and the main overarching objective is the “transfer of experience, knowledge and Good Practices on E-government and E-health among different European Regions with the aim of overcoming the isolation phenomenon and improving the living standards of citizens of mountain and rural areas”.

      IMMODI is focused on the transfer of E-government and E-health Good Practices into the mainstream Operational Programmes of partner regions. Seven Action Plans were developed by the participating Regions, defining the methodological, technical, and financial guidelines for the implementation of imported Good Practices. In the initial stages of these action plans, there was a close dialogue between project partners and the representatives of their managing authorities: relevant stakeholders responsible for regional programmes were strongly involved in the project through participation in technical and political workshops and other specific meetings.

      3.1.3.1 Some Good Practices from IMMODI

      From the pool of Good Practices explored (14 Good Practices in total), the project selected seven best practices that were subject to transfer between regions according to the action plans. These will be described next, while the remaining are summarised in Annexe 8.

      These best practices (5 in E-government Services and 2 in E-health) can be presented as examples of innovative approaches:

      - Augment (enables disabled people to get involved and participate in municipality topics; fosters E-inclusion and E-participation),
      - Valma (is an E-participation system enabling citizens to be involved in political decision-making),
      - Telecentres (pool services and the complementary expertise of teleworkers), public video conference spots (public service and access to public authorities to citizens in rural areas),
      - Check up care (is home health care that provides capabilities for self-management and improving regional health service systems),
      - Nurse Gudrun (increases accessibility to care services and provides effective community services), and
      - Rayuela platform (is designed to implement the lines of public action in education and improve educational resources.).

      ◊ Augment – Sweden (Services for the public in the region of Bleking)

      Classification: Citizen-centric (paradigm), G2C (target) and user empowerment (priority)

      Mobile technologies have not been widely used to improve accessibility in mountain regions. The objective of Augment is to provide location-based mobile services for interactive accessibility information and to create the possibility for the disabled to share and co-create information and knowledge about accessibility resources and barriers.

      Making it possible for people with disabilities to participate in society and making the region more accessible

      Augment started out as a research and development project between the regional university and a municipality, and, in 2010, a proof-of-concept project was initiated. Currently, it is being tested on local, regional, and national levels by a number of user-groups. The accessibility content is user-driven and relies on the active participation and interest of the users of the services. Citizens, using a mobile application for An-droid, can easily get timely and accurate information about the status of accessibility in a specific location and can also contribute by updating the information.

      Augment is developed through collaboration between academia, civil society, and public administrations. It is an example of how success can be achieved through a combination of competences, partnerships, and the importance of co-design at the local and regional levels. Sustainability in these services has to be based on user-generated content and on the active participation of citizens.

      ◊ Valma – Finland (E-participation in the region of Kainuu)

      Classification: Citizen-centric (paradigm), G2C (target) and user empowerment (priority)

      Valma functions as a digital forum enabling citizens to participate in the city council decision-making process, allowing them to express their opinion on current issues under discussion. A Local Democracy Unit was established in 2004 in Tampere and, since then, has coordinated all the city E-participation tools and initiatives including Valma. Its main objectives are to involve members of the public in the city’s decision-making processes and to improve public services.

      Approaches to involve members of the public in the city’s decision-making process.

      To make such approaches work, it is important to involve decision-makers in the forum. The electronic management of documents and their workflow is also an important aspect to take into consideration to speed up the progress of decision-making. However, active citizens who like to give opinions and who are seeking to improve their daily life are needed to make the forum a useful tool. Internet coverage is also one of the main requirements for the successful implementation of this practice.

      More than technologically sound solutions, changes in mentality are instrumental in making this practice a success, and such changes require more time: encouraging citizens to use this kind of forum can be challenging. The ‘network effect’ applies to this type of approaches: the more participants in the forum, the more relevant and significant, the feedback becomes.

      ◊ Cybercantal telecentre – France (Services for the citizens in the region of Auvergne)

      Classification: Citizen-centric (paradigm), G2C (target) and internal market (priority)

      The telecentre (Maison de Services) is a tailor-made area designed to boost the dynamism of the region by providing new job opportunities for citizens, thereby resulting in the creation of micro-enterprises, the revitalisation of the local economy, and the attraction of new workers. The telecentre targets teleworkers who are employees or self-employed, offering office space and equipment, a pooled secretarial facility, and access to meeting rooms, video-conferencing, and free training to project leaders who want to set themselves up for teleworking.

      Using telecentres to boost the local economy

      Success in these types of initiatives is linked to three main factors: the choice of a work site that offers a range of pooled services, coupling training with support as well as the availability of premises, and the setting up of an annual teleworking forum. Providing a satisfactory internet connection to the various services is mandatory but not the only requirement. Clearly stated political will and technical support are also instrumental for the success of telecentres. The main strengths of this initiative lies in the pooling of various services (teleworking, multimedia area, access to public services, etc.), its use as a training centre, a forum to raise awareness of the services available through teleworking, and the complementary expertise among teleworkers.

      PROJECT TESTIMONIES

      Why should this be considered as a Good Practice?

      The Cybercantal telecentre can be considered a good practice due to its original and innovative character, seen in the telecentre created by the Murat Community Council. It not only involves the provision of traditional services (renting of offices, shared services for secretarial support, meeting rooms, etc.), but in addition includes training sessions to help people, particularly jobseekers, to create their own businesses in this field.

      What particular features make it unique?

      The real added value of this project is the provision of training in teleworking for people who want to create their own businesses. Training allows the optimal use of resources during the training period and thereafter, since most trainees set up their businesses and are either native to Cantal or choose to stay in Cantal after their training. Thus, they become tenants of an office several days a week. Professionals based at the telecentre can also exchange skills and services.

      How has the project contributed to the improvement / dissemination / replication of this practice?

      The good practice has been shared with all the IMMODI partners, and two of them decided to import this good practice. The good practice has been exported to the Provincial Council of Badajoz, Extremadura region, Spain and to the Blekinge region, Sweden. The region of Badajoz decided to import this practice in order to implement the ‘Autonomous Organisation for Equality and Local Development’ of Badajoz, given its high impact on social services and policies in rural areas with mountains and low population.

      To what extent is the Good Practice replicable?

      Transferring this experience to another region or country is easy, but care has to be taken to ensure the inclusion of training activities in the specialisation chosen, since one of the key success factors identified was the need to couple training with support as well as the availability of premises.

      Point Visio Public – France (Services for the citizens in the region of Auvergne)

      Classification: Citizen-centric (paradigm), G2C (target) and the Efficiency and effectiveness of Governments and administration (priority).

      The PVP is a virtual public-services reception counter set up in a public place with high-speed Internet access. Thanks to the video-conferencing terminal, users can communicate with public-service officials, and exchange documents by means of a printer and a scanner. Its main goal is to bring public services closer to the public; not to replace existing public services, but to offer services where there are none or where there is poor provision. 

      Bringing public services closer to the public.

      The main objectives of this initiative are therefore to offer equal access to public services, to offer easier access to services without increasing resources and to make it easier for people to get in touch with public services by encouraging a close geographical relationship.

      The success of such an initiative rests on political backing, awareness, the right fit between service supply and demand, partnerships set up by the regional public authorities, and its integration into a national strategy for the development of digital use. Requirements for successful implementation include a satisfactory Internet connection (minimum ADSL connection rated at 1024 / 256 kbps), a help desk for daily support of the whole PVP community, and the constant development of the service.

      ◊ Check-up care – Sweden (home health care providing capabilities for self-management and improving regional health service systems in the region of Blekinge)

      Classification: Government-centric (paradigm), G2C (target) and user empowerment (priority)

      When it comes to routine checks, there is a more effective solution than the traditional one, i.e. where the patient has to go to the care institution and spend time in the waiting room. This new solution is to make it possible for the patients themselves to perform certain medical tests in their own home or at the care centre.

      The main goal of this initiative is to provide a solution for easy-access, adaptable, and independent nursing/medical service at a distance.

      Initiative designed to save time for nurses and patients

      One solution found which makes frequent check-ups possible and follow-ups easier is called Check Up Care. The system includes a bag containing measuring devices to check blood pressure, ECG, pulse, weight, blood sugar, heart rate, oxygen saturation, PEF, FEV1, Warfarin, etc.

      The patients self-check their values at home, and the information is sent wirelessly from the measuring device to an access point on the network, and then via internet to the central hospital. The information is then available for health care professionals for evaluation and analysis. When necessary, the patient is contacted and called for a check-up at the hospital.Requirements for the successful implementation of the practice include gaining support from the local health administration and selecting measuring instruments that best match the needs of the region.

      ◊ Nurse Gudrun – Sweden (increases accessibility to care services and provides effective community services in the region of Blekinge)

      Classification: Government-centric (paradigm), G2E/G2C (target) and user empowerment (priority)

      Blekinge County Council is setting up a lab for the testing of IT solutions in real-life nursing and care environments. The tools and technology are developed here prior to being made available for use, and re-search related to nursing and care is conducted. The project wants to find and influence the factors and circumstances that contribute to positive health development.

      Boosting communication through IT and TV support.

      The Virtual Health Plaza is a supportive environment where information on health issues and inspiration to improve health can be found. A Virtual Health Plaza improves dialogue on health between the user and the medical services. Issues and factors that affect health are discussed here. Local anchorage is important, as it also offers the possibility to book appointments for consultations and other activities. Co-ordinated patient-care planning through video conferences is used to create a new meeting place, and a new tool for increased accessibility and thus of a higher quality through Video Talks. With the Care Channel, the care recipient can, via the TV or the computer at home, contact the health and medical services and other care services. Net-Based Learning demonstrates how digital technology can provide competence development to personnel and residents by supplementing net-based consultation, education, and supervision.

      Nurse Gudrun´s Full-Scale Lab is being developed through the joint cooperation of academia, public ad-ministration, and civil society. This is an example of a successful combination of competences and partnerships with the aim of reducing obstacles in communication between patients and care-giving organisations. The sustainability of such initiatives like Nurse Gudrun´s is based on user-generated content and is designed for continuous development.

      ◊ Rayuela Platform – Spain (Services for the public in the region of Estremadura)

      Classification: Government-centric (paradigm), G2E/G2C (target) and the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Governments and administration (priority)

      Under the IMMODI project, the ‘Rayuela Platform’ has been identified as an innovative approach. The ‘Rayuela Platform’ is an educational platform that concentrates all the services related to education in the Estremadura region (Spain): academic and administrative; organisational; technical; and education and social services. Currently this platform has more than 4 000 registered users.

      Improving and developing public services in the education system through the use of new technologies?

      This platform is part of a regional strategy to mitigate the low density of the population with an investment in educational ICT. The pre-requisites for its implementation are mostly technical (ICT-enabled classrooms, broadband connections, etc.) and skills-related (support team, training of the teachers, etc.).

      3.1.3.2 Lessons and recommendations

      Based on these experiences, a set of critical factors responsible for creating difficulties in the transfer and adoption of best practices were identified and became the focus for future policy recommendations: different legislative systems and territorial contexts; different public service provision systems; and difficulty in creating the necessary involvement and political commitment from decision-makers.

      Moreover, these experiences were also very helpful in understanding how to overcome the market failure scenario typical of mountainous, low-density populated areas, and how to provide essential and innovative services to areas and communities that would otherwise never have been attractive for commercial ICT companies. This can only be achieved through the active participation of all local and regional stakeholders.

      The IMMODI project should further explore their practices with regard to the provision of administrative and health services in remote locations and seek to promote and integrate their practices in other relevant initiatives. One interesting initiative that would be relevant to explore is the ‘Future Internet PPP ’, which presents several opportunities for future development.

  • 3.1.4 I-SPEED – Information Society Policies for sustainable European Economic Development

    • I-SPEED project logoThe project I-SPEED has collected Good Practices from the I-SPEED partnership and from other regions and cities in Europe, which, in different ways, demonstrate how ICT can be used to foster competitiveness and sustainability in the tourism sector as a means to ensuring the quality of life and making regions and cities more attractive for both visitors and inhabitants.

      I-SPEED is implemented by ten partners from ten different regions, and the main overarching objective is to “rais[e] awareness among policymakers about the potential of the Information Society to improve public services and foster the growth and competitiveness of the European Tourism Economy.”

      3.1.4.1 Some Good Practices from I-SPEED

      From the pool of Good Practices and other initiatives explored, seven examples of innovative approaches were subject to transfer between regions. These will be described next, while the remaining are summarised in Annexe 8. These Best Practices (four in ICT and cultural heritage tourism and three in E-government Services) were the basis for the lessons learned and policy recommendations resulting from the project: Domus Romane, Appia Antica, Chopin 2010, Venice>connected, Free Italia Wi-Fi (I-SPEED spin off), and Leaping Stiles.

      ◊ Domus Romane - Italy (city of Rome)

      Classification: Government-centric (paradigm), G2C (target) and internal market (priority)

      This practice, from the Province of Rome (Italy), uses multimedia tours and 3D technologies to create a better understanding and ‘perception’ of archaeological sites. The location is in the very centre of Rome, where an underground archaeological site (in the foundations of the renaissance palace, Palazzo Valentini, which hosts the offices of Provincia di Roma) from the ancient roman period has been transformed into a museum for advanced technology. This multi-media museum offers a 3D experience in two luxurious underground Roman houses and- thermal baths. The multi-media system includes the lighting, film, and image projection.

      Creating a new form of cultural experience using technology to enrich archaeological areas.

      The replication of such a large-scale initiative is not easy, due to the financial, technical, and cultural re-sources needed. It can be partially replicable in the way it enables cultural heritage sites to increase their appeal thanks to ICT and multi-media features.

      ◊ Appia Antica – Italy (city of Rome)

      Classification: Government-centric (paradigm), G2C (target) and internal market (priority)

      The Province of Rome initiated a project to develop a mobile application allowing visitors of Appia Antica Regional Park in Rome to receive additional historical and visual information about points of interest within the park via smartphones. The application provides 3D models of ancient buildings, audio-guides, and rich mobile webpages.

      Enhancing traditional tourist experiences through the use of state of the art ICT technologies

      The practice depends on visitors being able to access the Internet (via smartphones) during the visit, which means that high cost Internet access (notably for visitors from abroad) represents the primary barrier to its use.

      ◊ Chopin’s year 2010 – Poland (City of Warsaw)

      Classification: Government-centric (paradigm), G2C (target) and internal market (priority)

      The project was initiated by the Mayor of Warsaw in 2008, when the Committee Chopin 2010 was set up in order to organise programmes for the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The main objective of this initiative was to raise the quality of life for citizens of Warsaw and to make Chopin a part of their identity and heritage. The initiative was supported by a wide range of partnerships, and the aim was to not only promote the city internationally, but also to provide culture to the citizens beyond the celebration of Chopin 2010.

      Using ICT tools to reach new audiences, to brand and to promote a city.

      This practice has demonstrated how regions/cities can use a wide range of multi-media tools to improve both the identity of a region/citizens and promote a region or city.

      ◊ // venice > connected – Italy (City of Venice)

      Classification: Government-centric (paradigm), G2C (target) and internal market (priority)

      //venice>connected is the official source for Venice travel planning information and Venice tourism, where a tourist can book and buy, online and at reduced fees, the main tourist services provided by the City of Venice. The City of Venice welcomes millions of tourists every year and, consequently, the number of visitors has reached an unsustainable level. The massive negative impacts upon the environment, culture, and residents’ quality of living haven given rise to calls for a more sustainable development of tourism: //venice>connected is a project by the City of Venice for promoting sustainable tourism planning and development in Venice.

      Ensuring sustainability in tourism and quality of life for citizens.

      This initiative is a good example of a Good Practice in the category of ‘Destination Monitoring and Management’ and how ICT can be used to promote sustainable tourism planning and development.

      PROJECT TESTIMONIALS

      Why should this be considered as a Good Practice?

      //venice>connected is a good practice because it is an easy and simple way for managing tourism flows, for example, by offering tourists the possibility to book and buy, online, the different services available with discounts and advantages.

      What particular features make it unique?

      //venice>connected provides tourists with information on how to respect the cultural and natural heritage of Venice; it helps to educate visitors before their arrival, gives guidance on do’s and don'ts and offers tips on sustainable travel.

      How has the project contributed to the improvement / dissemination / replication of this practice?

      The practice has been studied and discussed in several meetings. This has provided the opportunity to analyse the platform and the different services available. Thanks to the suggestions received, it was decided to change the style of the communication used and to try selling different products.

      To what extent is the Good Practice replicable?

      The platform //venice>connected is developed using free software: Drupal, which does not need any particular skills to operate. The main issue is the implementation of the platform, which requires the cooperation and coordination between the public and private bodies.

      ◊ Free Italia Wi-Fi (I-SPEED spin off)

      Classification: infrastructure (paradigm), G2C (target) and pre-conditions for developing E-government (priority)

      The goal of this initiative is to promote collaboration between public administrations in order to develop free wireless networks within the areas covered by individual administrations as well as to federalize the area networks within a single national Wi-Fi infrastructure. ‘Free Italia Wi-Fi’ is the first federalised national Wi-Fi network in which the networks dialogue with each other, enabling users of one system to log-on to any of the other participating networks.

      Overcoming geographical restrictions by offering free public Wi-Fi.

      The open exchange of information and knowledge between administrations can greatly facilitate and enhance the services that they offer individually and collectively, significantly reducing costs and maximizing economies of scale through the use of networks and shared and open systems.

      ◊ Leaping Stiles – Wales (region of Powys)

      Classification: Government-centric (paradigm), G2C (target) and internal market (priority)

      The pilot Leaping Stiles project was developed under the Tourism Growth Area initiative. The project utilised the principles of Integrated Quality Management to improve and enhance the quality of the tourism offer available in Central Powys. The Leaping Stiles walking website project focused on the area’s most natural and unique tourism product, selecting a series of 35 walking routes to provide visitors and local people with a high-quality walking experience. All the routes have been graded to allow choice of difficulty, length, and accessibility.

      Increasing competitiveness by improving and enhancing the quality of the tourism product available.

      The Leaping Stiles Walking website can be considered as a resource for visitors, local communities, and individual residents. Barriers encountered to the roll-out of the service include ensuring staff access to social networks during work hours and inadequate staff capacity needed to create the required content.

      PROJECT TESTIMONIALS

      Why should this be considered as a Good Practice?

      This practice is easy to put in place and can demonstrate results.  It has increased awareness of Mid-Wales as a destination for walking.

      What particular features make it unique?

      The involvement of local communities in both the development and marketing of new walking trails in Powys. The combination of services for both visitors (promoting walking paths) and for citizens (promoting healthy living by walking).

      How has the project contributed to the improvement / dissemination / replication of this practice?

      There has been some interest from partner regions. As an example, Hedmark County Council invited Powys County Council to talk about this practice and their E-marketing strategy for tourism in November 2012. However, transfer has not yet occurred between regions (at the time of writing).

      To what extent is the Good Practice replicable?

      This is a very easy practice to transfer to other regions/cities. However, specialised technical and human resources are needed. Internet access is also necessary.

      3.1.4.2 Lessons and recommendations

      The main outputs of the project were ‘A Digital Agenda for Tourism’ and ‘Good Practice Guide’ .The lessons learnt and policy recommendations include:

      - Create a strong base (for ICT service development both in terms of infrastructure and ICT skills);
      - Promote free Wi-Fi access; Think growth (ICT tools should be developed taking account of inter-connectability; transferability and scalability);
      - Division of labour (maximise the capabilities of public and private contribution);
      - Establish clear public-private partnership agreements (public administrations developing ICT projects should establish relationships between public and private stakeholders);
      - Attain buy-in from the outset (public and private partnerships should be established at the beginning);
      - Be open to technology (use technologies that can be easily improved upon and further developed);
      - Go open source;
      - Facilitate access for mobile applications;
      - Reach specific groups; and
      - Invest in staff to ensure continuity.

      Policy recommendations that could be useful for other EU regions seeking to improve the effectiveness of their tourism policies through the use ICT, which are part of the report ‘A Digital Agenda for Tourism’, were prepared by the I-SPEED political representatives:

      * Cultural heritage and ICT for tourism (Culture and tourism players should cooperate to define a common ICT-based strategy);

      * ICT for the coordination and management of contents and services (It is important to support ICT development for regional tourism products, improve internal organisation and implement Open Data programmes, and create coordinated Public services for tourists and citizens);

      * Training on the ICT use for a better tourism economy (create training programmes for citizens and workers);

      * Broadband for tourism (guarantee broadband connectivity coverage);

      * Integrated approaches for the development of the Tourism Economy (Cooperation between the public and private sector and between different stakeholders from the tourism sector to build a joint, integrated system of multi-source information); and

      * Research into new technologies for Tourism.

      As one of its main results, the I-SPEED project produced a document entitled ‘A Digital Agenda for Tourism’ which should be disseminated to other regions in Europe given the innovative and interesting practices presented to address the ‘internal market’ priority in the E-government action plan. The project should also make an effort to extend these practices in order to address other priorities, such as the ‘Efficiency and effectiveness of Governments and Administrations’, or for example, by looking at the results from the DLA project.

  • 3.1.5 OSEPA – Open Source Software Usage by European Public Administration

    • OSEPA project logoThe OSEPA project is dedicated to exchanging experiences with a view to identifying and analysing Good Practices. The main planned results of the project are to exchange knowledge and experiences on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) usage by European Public Administrations; gather, review, exchange, transfer best practices about FOSS uptake and related policies.

      The main activities of the project are related to conducting a survey of current FOSS usage in consortium countries and in some EU non-consortium countries (reaching at least 20 countries), and a requirements analysis and guidelines on software procurement policies of European Public Administrations.

      The results  a Good Practice Guide on FOSS uptake among European Public Administrations ( and  evi-dence helping  and experts to shape their own policies), and analysis and recommendations on European  and practices on FOSS ( a policy overview that the dynamics, the potential the inhibitors and the policy obstacles related to FOSS adoption).

      3.1.5.1 Some Good Practices from OSEPA

      From the pool of Good Practices explored (34 in total, involving FOSS – Free and Open Source Software), the project selected three best practices that are being considered for transfer between partner regions. These will be described next, while the remaining are summarised in Annexe 8.

      These Best Practices were selected as examples of innovative approaches:

      - Geographic Information System (GIS) Schoten (PostGIS database to store information with geographic content),
      - Open source document management system for the public administration based on the national legal requirements (electronic documents delivery system via data boxes for communication between public administration and citizens),
      - Zimbra: Next-generation email, calendar, and collaboration server (solution for messaging and collaboration in public administration).

      ◊ Geographic Information Systems – Belgium (city of Schoten)

      Classification: Government-centric (paradigm), G2E (target) and efficiency and effectiveness of Government and administration (priority)

      In 2006, the City of Schoten took the decision to adopt a GIS Manager in order to set up a GIS system for the whole of the municipality of Schoten. The implementation of the GIS system stemmed from the need to organise and administer the available geographic data within a common system. The criteria for selecting between the available solutions included the cost of implementation and maintenance for the next five years, the quality, the interoperability, the capacity for knowledge transfer, and level of previous experience with OSS.

      Viewing, querying and editing geographic data in a GIS-Viewer on a client computer

      The aforementioned OSS components run on a server with Linux CentOS as its operating system. All vector data are stored in a PostGIS database. Raster data are stored in files on the geoserver. The only (partially) proprietary software used was GIM WebGIS. The source code of the OSS components used was not modified, and the GPL (General Public License) license was granted for the implementation of the GIS system. The GIS system implemented by the City of Schoten is now up and running, and the perspective for forthcoming years is for the system to be enhanced, expanded or replicated.This initiative resulted in the improvement of performance and effectiveness of the organisation, and in an optimisation of organisational processes. Moreover, the advantages of an OSS approach are strategic independence from vendor lock-in, a strengthening of data security and an increase in software interoperability.

      ◊ Untangle: a powerful suite for Internet management applications – Cyprus (city of Strovolos)

      Classification: Government-centric (paradigm), G2E (target) and pre-conditions for developing E-government (priority)

      In October 2009, the municipality of Strovolos was looking for an internet content filter solution with the least possible cost in order to enhance the productivity of the municipality’s staff by minimising the time spent on internet and to improve the system security. After one person month of studying the alternative solutions and a half person month spent implementing the Untangle application, the IT department of the municipality could finally benefit from the features of Untangle: web-filter, virus-blocker, spam-blocker, ad-blocker etc.

      Implementing a FOSS suite for Internet management applications

      The only open-source component used for the installation of the software package of Untangle was a Linux server, and no proprietary software component was used.

      This initiative resulted in the improvement of performance and effectiveness of the organisation, and a reduction in procurement/ licensing costs. Moreover, the advantages of an OSS approach include strategic independence from vendor lock-in, and increased system security. The Untangle application is now up and running and the perspective for forthcoming years is for the system to be enhanced, expanded, or replicated.

      PROJECT TESTIMONIES

      Why should this be considered as a Good Practice?

      Untangle can be considered a good practice as it only uses Open Source Software. The Municipality of Strovolos found a solution for an internet content filter solution with the least possible cost in order to enhance the productivity of the municipality’s staff and also to strengthen system security.

      What particular features make it unique?

      The use of open source software (linux) as an infrastructure for the installation and customisation of Untangle software.

      How has the project contributed to the improvement / dissemination / replication of this practice?

      The Good Practice was presented during a study visit in the aim to offer the consortium partners the opportunity to access the know-how (processes, solutions, approaches, etc.) already adopted by partners more experienced using FOSS. The Good Practice was made known through the project website and disseminated in the project workshops. Transfer has not yet occurred between regions, at the time of writing.

      To what extent is the Good Practice replicable?

      This good practice is replicable to other regions but requires technical knowledge on OSS, and the acquirement of operational and technical knowledge is expected to influence debates on relevant policies.

      ◊ Use of Zimbra – Spain (region of Extremadura)

      Classification: Government-centric (paradigm), G2E (target) and pre-conditions for developing E-government (priority)

      In January 2009, the Foundation for the Development of Science and Technology in Extremadura studied the potential adoption of a Zimbra server, and six months later the decision was taken: Zimbra would be installed in the public administration. Zimbra is a collaboration server that provides organisations with greater overall flexibility and simplicity including integrated email, contacts, calendaring, sharing and document management plus mobility and desktop synchronization to users on any computer.

      The Zimbra collaboration suite is the only application suite used that bundles and installs, as part of the installation process, various other third party and open source software. After the entry in production of this platform, there was a significant improvement in performance and effectiveness of the organisation, a reduction in procurement/ licensing costs, and a reduction in the need for technical support. Moreover, there has been a wide spread promotion of open source software throughout the organisation. At the Foundation for the Development of Science and Technology in Extremadura, they will continue to use the Zimbra server and the perspective for forthcoming years is for it to be enhanced, expanded, or replicated.

      3.1.5.2 Lessons and recommendations

      The lessons learnt from these experiences show that FOSS is a cost-effective and easy-to-adopt approach. However, based on these experiences, a set of critical factors responsible for creating difficulties were identified and are the subject of future policy recommendations: knowledge of FOSS is mandatory; FOSS adoption needs strong and sustainable technical support (internal and external to the organisation); deployment should be balanced along with commercial Software solutions (involvement with local companies is recommended).

      The OSEPA project identified a considerable amount of relevant practices that can help to address the ‘pre-conditions for developing E-government’ priority that should be further disseminated and transferred to other regions. However, it would be important to focus on ways to address one of the barriers to successful E-government implementation – ‘Competencies and skills’ – which currently hinders the application of FOSS in the implementation of E-government services.

  • 3.1.6 PIKE – Promoting Innovation and the Knowledge Economy

    • PIKE project logoThe aim of the PIKE project  is to improve regional and local Innovation & Knowledge Economy policies through the exchange, sharing and transfer of E-government and Wireless Broadband Good Practices, and through the integration of these Good Practices into the Convergence and Regional Competitiveness and Employment policies of all the participating regions.

      From previous experience, some of the partners were already aware and had first-hand experience of other region’s Good Practices, and it became apparent that they would be very interested in transferring some of the shared Good Practices to their own regions. It was felt that an ideal mechanism for implementing them would be within the framework of an INTERREG IVC Capitalisation project, with a view to developing an Action Plan to be integrated into the regional Operation Programmes.

      PIKE is implemented by ten partners from ten different regions and the main overarching objective is to “improve Innovation & Knowledge Economy Policies through the transfer of Good Practices and their integration into the mainstream Structural Funds programmes”.

      3.1.6.1 Some Good Practices from PIKE

      The participating regions developed an Action Plan to transfer the Good Practices. The four Good Practices were selected as innovative approaches. These Good Practices were the basis for the lessons learnt and policy recommendations:

      - Wireless Cities (infrastructure support for E-government services, E-Tourism and E-Learning),
      - Integrated Aid System (E-government Services for farmers),
      - Online Planning System (building/planning public consultation),
      - eLocal (shared service centre for 100 municipalities in the region).

      ◊ Wireless Cities – England (infrastructure support for E-government services, E-tourism and E-learning in Derby City)

      Classification: infrastructure (paradigm), G2E/G2B/G2C (target) and pre-conditions for developing E-government (priority)

      The Wireless City project is an initiative by a consortium of partners including the University of Ulster (UU) Magee, North West Regional College, Derry City Council and ERNACT. It was a major initiative aimed at stimulating the creation of a market for broadband services within the learning, government, and visitor/tourism sectors in the Derry City Council area. The project was based upon the exploitation of the rapidly maturing wireless/mobile networking sector and end-user access device technologies.

      Creating a market for broadband services within the learning, government, and visitor/tourism sectors

      The main results of such an initiative have been to transform the region into a high profile wireless centre of excellence, to enhance the technological knowledge base of local business and to increase tourist activity and economic benefit through a publicly owned wireless network around the historic regions.

      The implementation of the infrastructure resulted in an increase in council business carried out electronically and frontline staff using Wi-Fi devices to access councils’ back-office functions. This has provided environmental efficiencies (through paperless meetings) and cost savings in terms of staff time. For the business, there was a boost in the uptake of new wireless and location-based services among the city’s business community, which also led to an improvement in the community access to broadband services. Visitors and tourism services also benefited from the production of digitised cultural and heritage content and a virtual tour for use by visitors, citizens, and schools.

      ◊ Integrated Aid System – Spain (E-government Services for farmers in the region of Cantabria)

      Classification: Government-centric (paradigm), G2B (target) and internal market (priority)

      IAS allows the management of aid relating to the Common Agriculture Policy in the regional government of Cantabria. Funding applications can be submitted and validated interactively over the Internet, verifying the accredited information while, at the same time, facilitating the subsequent inspection, control, and payment; therefore, totally eliminating the manual exchange of data.

      Using Integrated Aid Systems for E-administration.

      It incorporates open-source solutions, 3G communications and GIS and GPS tools to improve the quality of the management, control, and payment of applications dedicated to developing the rural environment. It is necessary to highlight the instrumental role played by the regional offices, unions, collectives, farming associations and other collaborating stakeholders that have supported this initiative by forming a network of offices and collaborators that have acted as support and motivation for the project in the rural environment.

      Implementing new technologies in the rural world is a major challenge that requires behavioural changes from citizens and public employees. Support and guidance are required to guarantee its success.

      ◊ Online Planning System – Ireland (building/planning public consultation in Donegal County)

      Classification: Government-centric (paradigm), G2B/G2C (target) and efficiency and effectiveness of Government and administration (priority)

      The Donegal County Council E-planning system is designed to provide a comprehensive online information source to the public on all aspects of the public planning process. The E-planning system provides facilities to view all contents of planning files over the Internet.

      The Donegal Online Spatial Planning supports the Planning & Economic Development function of the Council. It consists of a number of core elements, including a database, document imaging, mapping, useful citizen-centred information contained in Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and is supported by an underlying ICT infrastructure.

      Implementing an E-planning system for public planning and local development.

      The initial system focused on the processing of applications and demonstrating transparency in the associated decision-making process. Focus then shifted from the resulting positive experience and the gathering detailed level of information over a period of time towards the development of a portal. This portal integrates information on planning legislation, the County Development Plan, local area plans and associated policies as well as contact details. A self-service pre-planning inquiry facility has recently been added.

      The cost of running the system is offset by the improved productivity of the Planning Department and invaluable improvement in customer service coupled with the creation of a transparent planning process. This initiative has brought financial savings as a result of the reduced staff time allocated to dealing with customer contacts.

      ◊ eLocal – Spain (shared service centre for 100 municipalities in the region of Cantabria)

      Classification: Government-centric (paradigm), G2B/G2C (target) and the efficiency and effectiveness of Government and administration (priority)

      E-Local was introduced in Cantabria (Spain) in August 2006. It is part of the regional Governance Plan and was launched by both public and private partners. eLocal is not an isolated initiative; it forms part of the Government of Cantabria’s 2004-2007 Governance Plan, which includes actions designed to modernise diverse areas of the public administration and adapt them to social, economic and technological changes. It also has the backing of the Spanish state government’s Ministry of Public Administrations. The eLocal services model has two different sections: services for local corporations and services for citizens, professionals, companies, and legal entities.

      Boosting E-government services growth in rural areas.

      The eLocal initiative serves as a model for the implementation of E-government in local government. The services and applications are being developed in response to the particular needs of local authorities in the context of Cantabria. However, the methodology used and the concept of a shared services centre that serves to implement the modernization of local councils are transferable.

      This initiative shows that by modernising public administrations applying E-government in rural areas, measures for new businesses that increase economic growth in unfavourable regions can be maximised, thus allowing the administration to act as a boost and stimulate the economy.

      3.1.6.2 Lessons and recommendations

      The main output of the project, achieved through the transfer of these practices between regions, was the improvement of nine regional action plans and ten local/regional policies. 

      Main lessons from this project are:

      - Implanting new technologies in rural areas constitutes a great challenge. It necessitates cultural changes in the mentality of citizens and public employees; support and guidance are required to guarantee its success.
      - The introduction and promotion of the use of services developed require aid lines, training in the use of new technologies and incentives that encourage the use of services.
      - The transformation from the traditional systems based on an exchange of information on paper to a new automated system reduces the number of employees dedicated to processing tasks, creating opportunities for added value tasks.
      - The modernisation of public administrations applying E-government in rural areas maximises the effects of the measures for new businesses that increase economic growth in unfavourable regions, allowing the administration to act as a boost and stimulate the economy.

      It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel; different local contexts; challenging mainstreaming process.

      Several policy recommendations were also made:

      * The importance of a well-detailed Good practices transfer plan;
      * Early involvement of decision/policymakers;
      * Development of a permanent mechanism for transferring regional development GP into main-stream SF.

      The PIKE project should further disseminate its practices, which were very well defined and described. These practices should be transferable to other regions in Europe given their clear added value to address both the internal market’ and the ‘Efficiency and effectiveness of Governments and Administrations’ priorities. For example, the Integrated Aid System would be extremely useful to all rural regions across Europe.

3.2 Aggregated thematic analysis

The analysis of the individual core projects allowed for a more in-depth assessment. The rationale behind the analysis was to obtain information on practices, lessons learnt and policy recommendations (from a thematic point of view), and on the classification of the practices (taxonomy). The results of this classification are presented in Annexe 8. Clustering of this classification according to E-government paradigm (infrastructure; Government centric; Citizen centric; or Society centric) and target (G2E – Government to Employee; G2B – Government to Business; G2C – Government to Citizen; or C2C – Citizen to Citizen) gives the results depicted in the Figure 5.

Figure 5: Clustering of the good practices

Clustering of good practices

If we also consider the number of regions involved in each good practice, some of the good practices were transferred to other regions, this same clustering gives different results (Figure 6) but the focus is still the same:

  • Most practices are clustered in the ‘Government-centric’ and ‘G2C’ quadrant.
  • However, when we consider the number of regions involved, there is also a clustering in ‘Citizen-centric’ and ‘C2C’, which indicates that the regions involved in these projects follow the current trends in the development of E-government services .
Figure 6: Clustering of the Good Practices (number of regions involved)

Clustering of good practices by regions

Considering the bi-dimensional taxonomy classification (paradigm vs. target) and E-government action plan priorities, the six CORE projects included in the ‘E-government services’ thematic exercise cover all the identified paradigms, targets and priorities, but with different foci.

Figure 7 clearly shows how the different stages of service development (paradigm) are addressed by the different projects. There is still a major focus on services related to government and citizen-centric services, but some practices are already addressing society-centric services.

Figure 7: E-government Services CORE projects by paradigm

E-government services by paradigm

When only the service’s target is considered, the conclusions are similar (Figure 8): most projects’ Good Practices focus on G2B and G2C, but some practices are already related to C2C.

Figure 8: E-government Services CORE projects by target

E-government services by target

As described in section 2.3, the European E-government action plan identifies a set of priorities and actions aimed at promoting the transition to a new generation of open, flexible, and collaborative E-government services at all levels (regional, national, and European) that will empower citizens and business. The set of Good Practices from the six core projects in the E-government theme address all these priorities and actions (Figure 9).

Figure 9: E-government Services CORE projects by priority

E-government services by priority

These findings were initially discussed and validated with experts from the projects, during the thematic workshop held in Brussels in October 2012, which also included a set of interactive exercises during which interesting practices and policies available within the partner regions could be discussed with the participants and selected representatives from the six core projects. Details on the workshop, interactive exercises and results are available in the Annexe 5.

Analysis of the information collected and of the discussions with the projects clearly shows that the current focus of the E-government services projects is on Government to Citizen (G2C) relationships with various degrees of maturity (paradigm). From the analysis, it was also possible to ascertain the common features, challenges, and success factors among the projects:

  • Free Wi-Fi access contributes significantly to the development and sustainability of accessible and successful ICT projects/services.
  • It is important to have strong infrastructure and ICT skills in relevant groups, including citizens.
  • Innovation in the use of new technologies, new business models and high-quality products should be promoted in cooperation with local SMEs.
  • Public administrations should provide qualitative content and open data that can be used by private operators to provide services.
  • Public sector should focus on the provision of valid, high-quality information; and facilitate access for mobile applications.

This analysis will be completed by focusing on a set of questions proposed by the INTERREG IVC programme:

  1. What are the common features, challenges, difficulties, and successes among the projects?
  2. Do these projects have similar Good Practices in common and what are these Good Practices? Are they easily transferable to other regions? Should they be further disseminated?
  3. Did the partner regions find different solutions to the same issue?
  4. Does one region have a particularly interesting or innovative practice or policy identified which would merit being made available to other regions in Europe?
  5. Has a project achieved a particular interesting result, policy, or practice that could be useful for the other projects or local/regional authorities?
  6. Do the participating regions identify core pre-requisites for the successful implementation of regional policy?
  7. Are there synergies among the concerned projects and initiatives undertaken in other EU programmes?
  8. Based on the findings of the analysis, can specific recommendations be made to individual projects which may not be aware of important practices/ policies or which may be less advanced and experienced than other projects?
  9. Which broad key policy messages can be drawn for policymakers at regional, national, and European levels?

Although the six projects have different objectives and focus (in paradigm, target, and priority addressed) they all share common features and identify similar challenges. All projects indicate the infrastructure, the digital divide, and the competencies and skills to the major challenges (refer to Table 5 for a description of these barriers/challenges) to be overcome when implementing E-government services.

All projects present innovative practices in the successful implementation of isolated E-government services, but fail to address integrated approaches to the provision of E-government services.

In conclusion, while the projects in the theme E-government services identify and address the major barriers to the successful implementation of E-government, they do this from an isolated perspective.

The six projects present several similar approaches to address the priorities identified in the E-government action plan. For example:

  • IMMODI and DLA have similar approaches to address the priority user empowerment (Check-up care and CityWiki Karlsruhe) targeting services designed around the users and the collaborative production of services.
  • DLA an PIKE have similar approaches to address the priority efficiency and effectiveness of Governments and administration (Online Municipal services and eLocal) targeting the improvement of organisational processes, the reduction of the administrative burden and the improvement of transparency. OSEPA also presents several initiatives targeting this priority but focusing on partial solutions.
  • PIKE and I-SPEED have similar approaches to address the priority pre-conditions for developing E-government (Wireless cities and Free Italia Wi-Fi) focusing on the free and interoperable provision of Internet access (major barrier and key enabler to successful implementation of E-government).

Within the six projects, there are innovative alternative solutions to address the same priority or barrier. For example:

  • IMMODI and PIKE address the internal market priority with different approaches (Cybercantal tele-centre and Integrated Aids System) but both aim to provide seamless services for business and personal mobility.

In section 3.1 several innovative practices have been identified and, when deemed relevant, described in further detail by giving reasons as to why it is a good practice, identifying the features that make it unique and exploring to what extent it is replicable. These are, for example:

  • The Web Portal for the Municipality of Patras, an innovative practice that presents an advanced electronic government system designed to serve citizens and businesses, offering thematic sections.
  • Cybercantal telecentre, an innovative practice that demonstrates how the local economy can be boosted through a telecentre.
  • Point Visio Public, an innovative practice that illustrates how public services can be brought closer to the public.
  • // venice > connected, an innovative practice focusing on combining sustainability in tourism with quality of life for citizens.
  • Leaping Stiles, an innovative practice that is able to increase competitiveness by improving and enhancing the quality of the tourism product made available by a region.
  • eLocal, an innovative practice that demonstrates how E-government services can be an important tool to boost growth in rural areas.
  • Untangle, an innovative practice that demonstrates how FOSS solutions can be used to boost efficiency and efficacy of services.

This list is not exhaustive, and other innovative and interesting practices have been analysed and listed in the previous sections. These practices and related policies identified to address the barriers to successful implementation of E-government services, given their interest to other regions, merit being made available to other regions in Europe.

Project DLA and eCitizen II have two interesting results that could prove to be very useful to other regions and projects with regard to E-government services.

In the project DLA, besides the collection, dissemination, and transfer of Good Practices amongst participating regions, there was also an important effort to develop a tool that could be useful to policymakers when defining their Digital Local Agenda. The ‘DLA Self Evaluation Tool’  available in the project website is a very interesting resource that should be shared with all regions that are planning to deploy or improve their E-government services.

In the project eCitizen II, the main result is a methodology, illustrated in a set of examples of use to help regions wishing to implement E-participation. This resource is available online  and should be disseminated to all regions planning to promote user empowerment and the involvement of citizens in the policy-making process.

All six projects identified similar pre-requisites for the successful implementation of E-government services, which are the conditions required to overcome the main barriers for the successful implementation of E-government as described in Table 1, namely legal and regulatory, budgetary, infrastructure, different ‘digital’ realities (digital divide), and competencies & skills. Moreover, in several practices, cultural and historical barriers have also been identified.

Projects under INTERREG IVC fulfil the important function of spreading knowledge and policy approaches to a large number of regions. The six INTERREG IVC projects that were considered in this exercise have tremendous synergies with on-going projects and initiatives in other EU programmes, in particular with regard to having access to State-of-the-art research results from FP7 and later from Horizon 2020, and capacity building and demonstration projects under the ICT Policy Support Programme.

As an example, all six projects could benefit from the developments in CIP large-scale pilot actions regarding electronic identity (STORK) and interoperability of health solutions (epSOS). Consideration of these developments, for example including results from STORK in all initiatives that include user-identification, would make the practices easier to integrate and to transfer between different regions in Europe. At the same time, requirements and cases from these six projects into the CIP large scale pilots would be an important contribution towards the definition of cross border E-government services.

Considering these recommendations, it would be relevant for all projects to be aware of other projects and initiatives currently running at the European level, namely the large-scale pilot actions under the CIP pro-gramme, and to exploit possible synergies with these initiatives, as stated previously. Moreover, these projects should now be looking into opportunities for the regions involved in these projects in the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 that has been proposed by the Commission, in which one of the components is the ‘Connecting Europe Facility’ (CEF). While the whole CEF package totals around €50 billion for transport, energy and telecommunication networks, it includes more than €9 billion to support investment in high-speed broadband networks (€7 billion) and pan-European digital services (€2 billion). The experience and knowledge developed by these regions places them in an excellent position to benefit from these opportunities.

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