ŠAVŠ/TAČR Digital Czechia in a Digital Europe
Digitalization of Public Administration and Services Jiřina Bokšová & Michal Bokša With regard to the digitalization of public administration and services, the CzechRepublic (CR) lags significantly behind other states of the EuropeanUnion (EU). Out of the total 28 Member States, the Czech Republic ranked 22nd in the category of digitalization of public administration in 2018. Furthermore, it ranked 27th out of 28 in the ranking of the use of e-services offered by public administration. Although recent years have seen a breakthrough thanks to the projects e-Identity Card and the Citizen’s Portal, the digitalization of public administration and services remains significantly undeveloped in comparison with other EU Member States. If the digitalization of public administration and services is to be successful, it must target both the end user (an individual or legal entity) and the provider (the state, government offices and bureaucracy). According to the European Union, the digitalization of the public sector can reduce the administrative costs of communication between the state and the citizen by 15% to 20%. Better access to data also enables more efficient tax collection, a more effective fight against financial fraud and the better allocation of social assistance and benefits. However, this potential is not always successfully achieved. Often even large and costly digitalization projects are not able to provide almost any added value or higher efficiency to official procedures. Similarly, newly created digitalization processes were often unable to replace the original administrative procedures, which led to the existence of two analogous and parallel systems. A prerequisite for successful digitalization of public administration is to prioritize the target user. The user interface of public services must be intuitive, easy to navigate and fully integrated across government institutions. This factor often becomes the distinguishing feature between successful and unsuccessful digitalization. One of the most common mistakes is to create digitalized processes to correspond to and accommodate public administration. Regular collection of information, for example, in the form of questionnaires and the subsequent data analysis should thus become routine, at least in the initial years after the launch of digital services. All data should be processed in an annual report that would identify which areas of digitalization are rated the worst from the end users’ points of view and need to be more user-friendly or otherwise optimized.
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