miércoles, 3 de diciembre de 2014

The Juncker Plan and #digitalisation of public service

The modernisation of the public sector in Europe has been introduced as an objective of the European Union in the last years. The more clear signal of the importance of this objective is its inclusion as one of the five areas analysed in the European Semester. Digitalisation of the public service should the main leverage of this modernisation. This point has been highlighted by the European Council in October 2013 and by the President of the European Commission in its inaugural speech to the Parliament. The Digital Single Market Commissioner mentioned in his hearing the attention he has always given to digital government. This assertion is not void. He is the former prime minister of Estonia, one of the more digitised public services in Europe.

Nevertheless, the time of truth for all this commitments will come soon. In the next European Council to be held on December 18th one of the point that will be debate is the targets for the 300 billion euro of investment for 2015-2017 (Junker Plan). The idea for this investment is the development of projects that foster growth in Europe. The completion of the digitalisation of the European public administrations should be considered as one of this projects. According with the OECD, 62% of the public budgets is dedicated to health, education and social affairs. The digitalisation of this services would decrease de cost of serving the citizens, release resources for growth and pave the way for a more productive government. 

A critical project for the digitalisation of the public service that not always receive the needed attention is training. The public administration will be the one of the top 4 sectors in terms of ICT related employment. More than 10% of public sector workers will work in ICT related works. At the same time, the percentage of public sectors workers older than 50 are beyond 40% in some OECD countries. It is difficult to imagine that these aging workers will be able to satisfy the demand of ICT posts without receiving the proper training. Futhermore, there are growing signals that the public sector is losing the war for tech talent.

Both for ICT training and projects more resources are needed in Public Administration. In a couple of weeks we will discover up to what point are true all the commitment for the digitalisation of public services.  The Junker plan is an opportunity for our Euopean leaders  to put the money where they put their mouth.

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