22/12/2010 by Martin Ferguson
The Belgian EU Presidency's ‘Lift Off Towards Open Government’ Conference on December 14-16th focused on launching the ‘Citadel Statement’, which articulates the needs of local government in Europe to national and European decision makers.
Following a successful workshop at the Socitm Annual Conference 2010 in Brighton, the Flemish Government and European local government-related organisations, including Socitm, have been working to produce a pan-European 'Call to Action' - known as The Citadel Statement. The Statement will help local government deliver on the key objectives of the Malmö Ministerial Declaration. The Malmö Declaration,signed by EU Ministers on the 18 November 2009 in Malmö, Sweden, outlined a forward-looking eGovernment vision to be achieved by 2015.
On launching the Citadel Statement, Jos Creese said:
"Western societies will not be able to cope with fierce economic pressures and growing and aging populations liberated by new technologies, without new models of delivery, a smaller state andgreater personal responsibility. The Citadel Statement identifies the top things that local, national and EU decision makers can do to better support the digital enablement of these new models of service delivery."
Julia Glidden of 21c Consultancy takes up the story:
The Malmö Declaration, signed by EU Ministers on the 18 November 2009 in Malmö, Sweden, outlines a forward-looking eGovernment vision to be achieved by 2015. The key 'Malmö' objectives that EU Member States have pledged to achieve in the next five years are:
- To empower businesses and citizens through 1) eGovernment services designed around users' needs, 2) better access to information and 3) active citizen involvement in the policy making process;
- To facilitate mobility in the single market by providing seamless eGovernment services for setting up business, studying, working, residing and retiring in Europe;
- To enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of government services by reducing the administrative burden, improving the organisational processes of administrations and using ICT to improve energy efficiency in public administrations.
Initial research shows that despite numerous policy documents and 'how to' manuals on local eGovernment, nearly one year on, the 'Malmö Vision' is still not being translated down to the on-the-ground, local level. The Citadel Statement aims to address this short-coming by better understanding why local communities are finding it challenging to implement eGovernment in an innovative, cost-effective and efficient manner.
Towards that end, supporters of the Citadel Statement carried out an open, online consultation to encourage local eGovernment practitioners across Europe to help identify practical solutions to combat barriers at the local level such as bureaucratic red tape, cultural resistance and divergent privacy and data protection laws.
To create the basis for the online consultation, the Flemish eGovernment Authority joined forces with Socitm to host a one day workshop at the recent Socitm Annual Conference in Brighton. The workshop, which included the InterReg IVb project Smart Cities, gathered experts from across Europe to identify top actions that local governments need from National and EU decision-makers in order to better implement eGovernment.
Participants at the workshop agreed that to make 'Malmö' real at the local level, EU and National decision makers should take the following actions:
1) Help make public data more open across Europe by identifying five key areas where data can be reasonably be expected to be shared by 2013.
2) Facilitate interoperability for e-government services by agreeing a common semantic library for key terms by 2013.
3) Support local government e-service delivery by encouraging national and regional governments to be responsible for infrastructure issues such as cloud computing standards.
4) Make seamless e-government more achievable through the identification of five practical eServices that all local governments need to deliver by 2013.
5) Facilitate mobility by developing shared standards for the identification of people across Europe by 2013.
6) Reduce the administrative burden by 'optimising' EU and National procurement rules to better facilitate the 'build once, share many times' principle.
The declaration has been named the 'Citadel Statement' for two strategic reasons:
The word citadel is originally derived from the phrase 'citta ideale' or 'ideal
city' and stands for a fortress that is used to protect a city.
2. The launch event for the declaration is in the Ghent Citadel Park on the site of a former fortress built at the beginning of the 19th century.
Supporters of the Citadel Statement hope that the Call-to-Action becomes a 'living document' that continues to evolve in the run-up to 2015 in a manner that spurs local government to achieve better eServices for citizens.
Socitm will be incorporating the actions set out in the Citadel Statement into a draft local public services IT strategy, which will be released for consultation in the new year.