New legislation set to modernize public sector services-Hayes
MEP Brian Hayes has today said that the passing of the e-Government Action plan 2016-2020 stands to greatly benefit Irish public service access, efficiency and transparency.
“In line with the goals set in an April 2016 Commission communication, the European Parliament has passed legislation which will further streamline online government services. The report which was presented for vote in plenary on Monday 15 May received my strong support and thankfully passed with ease.
“The plans predecessor which ran from 2011-2015 saw a large expansion of cross border accessibility and security with digital Government services across the EU, notably using technologies such as electronic signatures and Identification. The 2016-2020 plan intends to continue these efforts although with far more focus on benefitting citizens and businesses.
“With the new plan we will see faster and more efficient interactions with public administrations for businesses and citizens alike. Furthermore, the transparency, security and cost of such services will be positively impacted in a big way. It is clear that with the rapid advent of digitisation in all areas of life it is crucial that public services are not provided on an obsolete platform. Ultimately, the Action plan will serve to coordinate modernisation efforts and resources of public sector services EU-wide through outlining a strong series of principles.
“On accessibility, the ‘Digital by Default’ principle will be promoted whereby public sector services are offered digitally as the preferred option although the offline option will remain for the non-computer savvy. Single contact points or gateways providing all relevant information in one location will also be rolled in and the ‘Once only principle’ is hoped to avoid repetitive information requests from public services. Additionally, member states will be further encouraged to facilitate access to public sector online services through smart phones. Broadband access in rural areas is also expected to be expanded further.
“Transparency is set to be greatly improved upon by granting citizens and business greater access to control and view their data. Member states will also be encouraged to use e-Procurement in purchasing for public works which will contribute to not only the transparency of government spending but also efficiency.
“Within the guidelines of the plan, security will be taken very seriously with all branches of the plan taking measures far above the minimum requirements of data protection and privacy legislation. To achieve this, technologies such as e-Signatures, e-Identification and e-Authentication will be utilised to ensure that citizen information is secure.
“I stand very optimistic as to what this plan can achieve for Ireland and the broader EU. Irish citizens stand to see much of the tedious bureaucracy of the public sector reduced along with transparency, cost-effectiveness and a greater trust in privacy.
“The digital age is at last arriving fully to public sector services and its future is a bright one.