Four strategic axes for a common goal
The Ministry for Digitalisation has set itself the goal of successfully achieving digital government. According to the OECD, digital government stands out for its more efficient, user-friendly, integrative and inclusive approach by prioritizing the following criteria:
- a digital conception of procedures;
- an administration focused on end-users, i.e. citizens (with or without specific needs) or companies;
- a government that supports co-creation and active public participation between government, companies and civil society;
- a government that is “open by default” - a nod to open data services - a principle that reinforces and is intertwined with the principle of transparency and a data-based public sector;
- proactive administrations.
The Ministry's strategic axes are in line with this approach.
1. Developing eGovernment
Based on the objectives stipulated in the government's coalition agreement, the Ministry for Digitalisation has major ambitions for the digitalisation of the State's administrations. The goal is to facilitate processes for citizens and companies by providing them with digital governmental services, which are user-friendly, innovative and accessible to all.
The Guichet.lu information portal and the secure transactional MyGuichet.lu portal act as a point of contact for all interactions between citizens, companies and administrations. MyGuichet.lu allows its users to carry out administrative procedures online and give them access to their personal data, which the State has on them.
These two portals are operated by the Government IT Centre (Centre des technologies de l’information de l’Etat or CTIE – the Ministry's technological arm –, and are based on the principles of "digital by default”, “once only”, inclusion and accessibility, openness and transparency, reliability and security, as well as interoperability and standardisation.
As part of their ongoing efforts towards digital government, the Ministry for Digitalisation and the CTIE are continuously developing new functionalities of the MyGuichet.lu platform, such as the e-tracking functionality or the GovCheck mobile application, which allows the verification of the authenticity and integrity of official government documents. Furthermore, major efforts are being made to strengthen the "mobile government" (mGovernment).
Finally, the Ministry continually and intensively cooperates with other state entities to offer new digital administrative procedures and improve the procedures, which are already available.
Promoting technological innovation
In parallel, the Ministry intends to accelerate the State’s technological innovation for the benefit of its citizens and companies through initiatives such as events, challenges or hackathons on technological innovation. This approach allows CTIE experts to work in close collaboration with external actors to develop eGovernment solutions and embodies a new governance style of technological innovation within the State.
2. Advancing administrative simplification
The government has been committed to administrative simplification for several years now and much progress has already been made. However, the simplification of administrative formalities and procedures is continually evolving. Drawing on technological advances in particular, the Ministry for Digitalisation intends to carry on the government's commitment to provide a simple and predictable framework for citizens and companies in their relations with the State.
Consequently, the Ministry for Digitalisation intends to increase the ministries and administrations’ awareness of the imperative need to facilitate relations with citizens and companies, to everyone’s benefit. Any new project, legislation, procedure or adaptation of existing ones, when deemed necessary, need to be considered, respectively reconsidered, in light of the “digital” component.
The digitalisation and simplification of state administrations must go hand in hand to reach the desired outcome and all ministries and administrations have concrete digitalisation projects on their agenda. Therefore, there is a need to consolidate and amalgamate efforts to provide Luxembourg with an exemplary administration that will contribute to its economic attractiveness. Adopting 21st century methods and technologies will enable the State to better account for the quality of public services and the administrative simplification’s outcomes.
Adopting a participatory approach
Within the administrative simplification framework the Ministry is also relying on an “open innovation” and “collaborative innovation” approach. Based on collaboration and exchange of ideas, it invites citizens to contribute and, thus, actively take part in the digital transformation process of the public services.
This participatory approach is reflected in Gov-Jams, collaborative workshops and in the development of the co-creation platform www.zesumme-vereinfachen.lu. Drawing on participants’ personal experiences, the Ministry aims to propose innovative solutions tailored to meet citizen’s needs.
In more concrete terms, the Ministry for Digitalisation intends to integrate citizens further in the design process of digital services and products, in addition to simplifying administrative procedures by incorporating tools or functionalities that are designed to cater the citizens’ needs. The goal is to make users’ lives easier by taking into account their needs and desires in their everyday lives and interactions with state administrations.
3. Promoting digital inclusion
One of the Ministry's main areas of focus concerns digital inclusion, the process of making digital technology accessible to all individuals and providing them with the necessary digital skills to additionally leverage their social and economic inclusion. This mission reflects the government's commitment to include all citizens in the digital transformation of our society and, in turn, counteract the threat of an eventual digital divide.
The digital divide represents the gap in opportunities for access to ICTs and the use of the Internet. Individuals may face some form of digital divide. Digital inclusion constitutes the efforts to bridge a possible digital divide by empowering all users to make good use of online services, all whilst developing their digital skills. The objective is to ensure that certain population groups (the elderly, people with disabilities, people without the necessary skills or people with limited financial resources) do not become victims of a digital divide in the context of the digitalisation of public (e.g. dematerialisation in the field of social security) and private (e.g. banking) administrative procedures, as well as the digitalisation of our society and world of work.
The task is to make digital technology an opportunity for everybody, a key to individual and collective socio-economic transformation, by enabling access to tools, skills and employment opportunities for every citizen in Luxembourg.
As Marc Hansen, Deputy Minister for Digitalisation, regularly points out, "digital technology can in no way be reserved for the wealthy, for an elitist class; nor for more connected age groups". The goal is to identify the needs and wishes of those who do not want or cannot fully go digital, such as some senior citizens, people without Internet access, people without the necessary digital skills or tools, or simply those who do not wish to use digital services and products. In this case, administrative procedures need to continue to be available, without any disadvantage, through analogue means.
4. Ensuring data governance
The Ministry aims to harness the full potential of data for citizens and public services by developing and adopting solutions to move towards a data-driven public sector, i.e. a public service that uses data to better serve citizens and businesses.
At national and international level, there is a growing need for digital government services to exchange data or documents and interact with other services. What's more, the complexity and interdependence between services is also constantly increasing. These developments are creating an increasingly urgent need to achieve and maintain a very high level of interoperability at all levels. This is also in order to be able to meet the growing legitimate expectations at political level and on the part of citizens and businesses.
In this context, the Ministry for Digitalisation has submitted the National Interoperability Framework (NIF) to the Government Council. This aims to provide a general framework that should enable and facilitate a higher level of interoperability for public sector bodies in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg that fall within its scope. The Government Council has tasked the Ministry for Digitalisation with its implementation. To this end, the Ministry has set up a National Committee for Interoperability (CNI), made up of representatives from the various sectors concerned, and seven sectoral committees for interoperability (CSI).
In addition, the digital transformation of society is being achieved and accelerated by the adoption of new technologies. The Ministry for Digitalisation intends to encourage digitalisation and innovation in the public sector by promoting technologies such as big data, blockchain, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, data anonymisation, and many others.
The aim is to draw attention to new emerging solutions and to present the technologies to ministries and government departments in order to trigger reflection on the problems that can be solved using these solutions. This can be done through calls for projects, the formation of consortia to respond to calls for European projects or research projects with research centres in Luxembourg. We also need to look at the legal framework and make any necessary adjustments to encourage digitalisation and innovation.
Lastly, the obligation introduced for economic operators to send their invoices electronically to the State as part of public procurement and concession contracts is also part of the Ministry's strategy. By making electronic invoicing compulsory, the government intends to create the initial conditions that will facilitate and make a complete digitalisation more efficient and extend the automation of the processes for checking, validating and paying invoices at the level of public sector bodies. The result will be shorter payment times and more systematic digitisation and automation of public procurement, which will directly increase efficiency and reduce the administrative burden for businesses.