Good Governance for Digital Policies: How to Get the Most Out of ICT: The Case of Spains Plan Avanza

Good Governance For Digital Policies
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Good Governance for Digital Policies: How to Get the Most Out of ICT. The Case of Spain's Plan Avanza. Plan Avanza, Spain's national Information Society strategy, has created a It identifies areas on which Spain should continue to work: Using Plan Avanza as a case study, this study highlights the. Data, policy advice and research on Spain including economy, education, How to Get the Most Out of ICT – the Case of Spain's Plan Avanza.

Although a big effort has been made in order to extend GSM coverage to 1. In it was Additionally, Spain had around ICT researchers full-time equivalents in From a governance perspective, the strategy finds itself in a critical transitory state, having to balance remaining convergence issues with some new and more progressive policy challenges. To address this issue, strategic policy design, prioritisation and sequencing will be more important than ever. The following chapter addresses some of the governance factors which have been successful thus far in policy design, as well as areas the Plan could potentially improve to meet these emerging challenges.

Applying a governance perspective to the analysis of Plan Avanza can offer valuable insight into how the Plan, and other information society IS strategies, can overcome important challenges to improve their performance and contribute greater public value. The following two chapters adopt this focus, examining the major governance mechanisms Plan Avanza utilises throughout policy design and implementation to ensure that its objectives manifest into results.

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Chapter two in particular looks at how improvements in policy design can help create a conducive environment for the Plan to function effectively, the benefits of which can be reaped subsequently during implementation- and ultimately- by society. Information society strategies are complex endeavours requiring careful consideration during the planning and designing phase. As objectives implicate different economic sectors, different end-users, and different tiers of government, frameworks need to be put in place to ensure that the expectations of all stakeholders are taken into account and that the strategy is coherent with individual sectoral policies and other national strategies.

The sequencing and prioritisation of objectives is also important to ensure that resources are channelled most appropriately to achieve results. An operating model must be established that mirrors the complexity and fast-paced nature of technological programmes. Specifically, Plan Avanza has stressed the importance of the following factors during policy design: Putting these mechanisms in place was certainly not without its challenges, and undoubtedly there is scope for improvement for Plan Avanza in each of these areas. However, as we will see in this Chapter, efforts dedicated to laying a solid groundwork for the Plan during policy design have proven fruitful and contributed to strengthening the capacity of the Plan to achieve its objectives.

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Strong leadership for a clear and consolidated IS vision 4. The wide scope and complexity of information society strategies calls for strong co-ordination and collaboration across policies, and clear guidance along implementation. In the area of e-government, for example another cross-cutting policy area, many OECD countries have found that sustained leadership is important at all levels of the e-government cycle for improving speed, efficiency and consistency.

The centralisation of responsibilities within an individual government entity was a contrast to previous approaches which distributed IS obligations amongst different ministries, and which depended on the coordination of inter-ministerial committees. While this new approach has been particularly decisive in the case of Spain, other OECD member countries have chosen different approaches depending on their own administrative and policy contexts see Box 2.

In its leadership role, the SSTIS has simplified the liaising process with stakeholders and regional governments, as there is now one main interlocutor. For instance, rather than different ministries having to coordinate with each other as well as individually with regional and local governments, the SSTIS performs this coordinative role. In this way, the process of setting objectives, priorities and determining distribution of resources has also been streamlined.

Lastly, strong leadership has ensured that the Plan speaks with once single voice, avoiding possible ambiguities. As a result, over the past years, the political and public consciousness regarding the importance of ICTs has increased.

Different leadership models in IS strategies Policy-makers of IS strategies in other OECD countries have chosen different approaches depending on their particular country contexts. While some countries have chosen to centralise leadership, other countries have opted for more decentralised approaches.

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There are advantages and disadvantages to each: To ensure a better coordination of information society strategy, some countries have set inter-ministerial committees or advisory bodies in charge of providing guidance and co-ordinating implementation. In Finland, the Ubiquitous Information Society Board is managed by a high-level advisory board of about 40 members from other ministries and civil society. The board draws on the expertise of six working groups, who provide policy advice on different issues.

The main responsibilities of the board are to design the action plan, coordinate implementation 44 j amongst the different ministries, and conduct a yearly evaluation. In Britain, the Digital Britain 45 Strategy proposes joint-ministerial responsibility for the new action plan. Conversely, countries such as Portugal and Greece have adopted models similar to Spain, designating responsibilities for their strategies. One main challenge that arises as a result of centralising leadership of the Plan is maintaining highlevel coordination with other ministries in policy design to ensure ownership of results and that actions are aligned to other sectoral policies.

Indeed, in order to create synergies between Plan Avanza and other relevant policy agendas e. Consultation for greater consensus 8.

How To Get The Most Out Of ICT - The Case Of Spain's Plan Avanza

Information society strategies can greatly benefit from bottom-up input to ensure that policy objectives and priorities match the needs of direct beneficiaries and take into account the perspectives of different stakeholders. Indeed, an inclusive and participatory process is particularly important for IS strategies given the wide variety of actors and interests involved. Additionally, greater consensus over objectives can facilitate co-operation and help increase the amount of resources available to these strategies.

Consultative approaches have been implemented in other OECD member countries during policy design, involving specialised working groups, other ministries, and civil society. A consultative approach has been applied both in the design and evaluation of Plan Avanza objectives. The involvement of the CATSI has allowed for a neutral and objective evaluation of the IS needs of Spain, offering a critical view of where urgent priorities could lie.

The consortium also held a forum with various specialised working groups who formulated specific recommendations for the proposed Plan. The proposed draft was presented to the national Senate and approved unanimously by the legislature in June of The second Plan Avanza action plan for will also be deliberated by CATSI, who must validate the proposed structure and objectives before implementation can begin. Finally, in addition to the CATSI, the consultation process is also open to the general public, albeit via a different route.

While this increases the inclusiveness of the Plan and ensures more voices have an opportunity to be heard, feedback obtained through this method does not have the same binding nature as statements issued by the CATSI. Finally, it is interesting to note that citizens have also been consulted in the development and delivery of Plan Avanza programmes. Consultative approaches involving citizens have also been implemented in other OECD countries during policy design.

In Great Britain, the Digital Britain strategy is an example of actively pursuing consultation through a series of open roundtables, conferences, a Digital Britain Online Forum, an interactive website, a large summit, and several events and smaller meetings with members of civil society. In Portugal, the public has also been invited to provide views on the information society strategy. The development of the concept of the project itself, as well as the portal, was performed in a collaborative and consultative manner with panels of teachers and education professionals.

In this way, the needs and considerations of end-users are incorporated from the start, improving the quality of the materials, their reach and their rate of utilisation. Indeed, educators have for some time recognized the utility of incorporating ICTs into curricula, as they allow for greater visualisation, interaction and student independence. They also have the added benefit of helping students to learn to use ICTs, and become more comfortable utilising computers, software, and the internet from an early age. Animated and interactive digital content has been amongst the most successful and effective of educational tools.

The AGREGA portal allows teachers and families to browse and download animated educational materials according to different subjects, grade-levels and even languages. Indeed, many materials are not only available in the different regional languages Catalan, Valencian, Gallegan and the Euskara language but also in English and French.

Additionally, for the purposes of professional training, educational simulations have been developed and added to the repository. Various ministries are creating informational materials for instance, on health habits, safety, gender equality, etc. While the programme itself is original, perhaps the most innovative aspect of the project is its consultative approach: This innovative co-production of services is particularly important in Spain, a country with different languages and diverse regional cultures which affect education curriculums and methods.

Finally, Plan Avanza is also collaborating internationally in order to increase the quantity of materials available and achieve cost-savings. The fact that Plan Avanza was unanimously passed in the Senate reveals how high levels of participation from stakeholders in the policy-making process can help increase political consensus and garner the critical support to pursue a large-scale initiative. However, the choice to design the Plan in an open and inclusive manner is accompanied by challenges typical to all consultative approaches: This challenge partly stems from the legal nature of CATSI which clearly defines the composition of membership.

Though the inclusion of membership stipulations was intended to seek a proportional representation of stakeholders, certain groups may have been underrepresented. While key operators from the ICT sector are present on the advisory board, SMEs and other sectors are underrepresented, for example. Other key ministries and members of civil society may also have low levels of participation in CATSI. It seems this was not deliberate: Though centralised leadership and consultation have been important for Plan Avanza, a figurehead without sufficient and appropriate resources risks losing the capacity to fulfil its role.

Avanza-Information Society Strategy for Spain by PSOE Ceuta - Issuu

Given the nature of IS policies, adequate organisational, human and financial resources are essential: ICT deployment is largescale, the mix of socio-economic and technological dimensions requires specific skill-sets, and complex programmes necessitate significant dedication to coordination and management. Additionally, budgetary and organisational resources must not only be sufficient but also agile, as technological change is fastpaced.

A third critical governance factor for Plan Avanza, then, has been the design of an operational framework which provides the Plan with sufficient resources and flexibility. This was a strategic decision that has greatly contributed to the success of the Plan. The typology of projects implemented under Plan Avanza requires a great deal of coordination and oversight to be successful. As a public corporation, it is subject to different regulations than other government institutions.

This has proved to be a great benefit in specific initiatives within the Plan, such as in the deployment of ICT infrastructure and installation of ICT equipment, as it can act, in some specific occasions, more quickly than other areas within the diverse Ministies involved in Plan Avanza. Because of the breadth and depth of programs and activities, information society strategies require qualified human resources drawing from a wide range of expertise and skills.

For instance, it has a cadre of specialists varying from telecommunications engineers, programmers and designers, economists and statisticians, sociologists, business experts, lawyers, education and communication specialists, among others. Staff can move from project to project as needs arise, as internal mobility within the different projects is implemented when needed. In addition to qualified human resources, information society strategies require adequate financial resources. The funding could originate from different individual sources for example national or local budgets, department or ministry budgets, the private sector, regional and international organizations e.

EU or be a combination of these. As opposed to previous national IS strategies which drew funding directly mostly from the different ministries involved, Plan Avanza has introduced a different kind of financial model. Under this model, there are a greater number of sources such as regional and local governments, non-profit organisations and, as of , Plan Avanza is included as such in the national budget, which guarantees it a certain allotment each year.

Other OECD countries have also sought additional sources of funding. Throughout its first action plan, Plan Avanza has enjoyed a relatively stable budget, indicating sustained dedication to promoting the role of ICTs in Spanish society. The average yearly budget has been 2.

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Between , the total budget has been close to 8. In terms of specific activities, initiatives under the digital economy pillar lead in terms of total budget allocations from to Spending for capacity-building and ICT skills as well as support of e-government initiatives in central government was lower in comparison. The Digital Economy pillar has accounted for the greatest amount of resources relative to the other three pillars Indeed, the fastest growing investment of the Plan has been in the promotion of innovation in the ICT sector, which has nearly tripled since Nevertheless, it has represented nearly half of the total digital economy budget.

Second phases are due to begin under Plan Avanza 2, and spending is. Activities in this area have been relatively evenly balanced between supporting local governments, and support for e-gov initiatives in the areas of health, education and justice. Growing support for the latter has largely been a result of an increasing number of ministries seeking support from Plan Avanza in the management of e-government reforms.

Lastly investments with supporting central government e-government initiatives e. Over the four years, the pillar has accounted for approximately 8. The largest area of spending has been on providing citizens with loans for the purchase of ICT equipment and services. However, funding for this initiative has decreased substantially towards the end of the first action plan. Plan Avanza Technical Office. Resource distribution can be one useful way of assessing the prioritisation of information society objectives.

However, budget allocations are not a perfect reflection since differences in the costs and investments needed to achieve goals are not taken into consideration. Therefore, qualitative surveys such as those performed for the OECD Information Technology Outlook, can complement budgetary information for a more comprehensive perspective of strategic preferences. The survey generally validates earlier observations based on the distribution of financial resources. Of top priority also to spur demand, priorities include increasing security and promoting accessible pricing of broadband.

This in turn should stimulate broadband uptake which remains below OECD averages see chapter 1 and cf. Plan Avanza aims to catch up with OECD countries in spurring innovation across industry sectors and follow-up programmes target unserved or underserved areas. Online Trust Promoting online trust Promoting Security of information systems and networks Privacy protection Consumer protection. Moreover, comparison of Spanish results with OECD averages reveals interesting insights into where future areas of work may focus.

Converting these investments into marketable and profitable products and services however, may require greater. Likewise, future priorities may include improving the business environment for ICT development and increasing competitiveness of this sector, where lower relative prioritisation has been recorded. Spanish ICT firms may also benefit from initiatives designed to attract foreign investments and reduce the present trade deficit in ICT goods.

Indeed, reforms in the public sector have thus far focused on the integration of ICTs as part of e-government reforms, rather than on the later stages of capacity-building for government employees. Since it has been shown that organisational changes must go hand-in-hand with the incorporation of ICTs, however, future initiatives may also consider pursuing such initiatives in SMEs and in the public administration.

However, there are also challenges that accompany this approach. Indeed, interviews with officials indicated that there is a high rate of turn-over since, after a few years of experience, personnel become increasingly attractive to private firms who recruit them. Furthermore, as a public organization, the SSTIS faces hiring restrictions in terms of the number of new staff that can be recruited. This can act as a bottleneck and restrict its flexibility.

Another challenge of this model is achieving greater financial stability, which is essential for effective strategic planning and decision-making. Agreements with other ministries for example, can be oneoff in nature and resource allocations for programmes can vary greatly by year for instance in the budget for central administration projects was null. Furthermore, as many Spanish regions lose eligibility to qualify for European funds in the coming Operational Programme, it is unclear what sources will be tapped to compensate for these loses.

Strategic alignment with international and national policies Specifically, this alignment has permitted the strategy to i better capture synergies from shared objectives; and ii avoid duplication of policies across government. Plan Avanza and i The presence of a supranational IS strategy helped substantiate the structure and objectives proposed by CATSI, helping to build consensus around its objectives, priorities and main beneficiaries. Furthermore, directives from i exerted top-down pressure for Spain to converge with other European countries in key IS dimensions, validating the rationale for the strategy and instilling a sense of urgency for the need to foster the knowledge economy in the country.

Additionally, the synchronicity between i and Plan Avanza both were designed and launched in the same years helped increase awareness amongst Spanish policymakers and stakeholders of the importance of building a strong information society. As we have seen, Plan Avanza is a transversal strategy with objectives spanning multiple policy domains, beneficiaries and levels of government.

It is important for the strategy, then, to be well-aligned with relevant national strategies in order to maximise its contribution in the areas where implicated. As a component of both INGENIO and the National Reform Programme NRP , Plan Avanza is expected to contribute to objectives ranging from boosting innovation and competitiveness, creating employment opportunities, increasing human capital, and modernising the public sector.

Indeed, the Plan ensures that ICTs play a prominent role in a wide array of policy domains, adapting its initiatives to fit the ongoing objectives of other strategies. Additionally, alignment with other high-level national policies reduces duplication of ICT initiatives across government, avoiding waste of resources. Under the umbrella of the NRP, policy roles are clearly defined: Therefore initiatives are not duplicated but rather, through better alignment, they are designed to complement each other and address both the demand and supply dimensions needed for value creation. Indeed, Plan Avanza provides the critical training necessary for the behavioural and cultural changes needed to make e-government reforms successful, while the Ministry is responsible for the corresponding modernisation reforms that accompany e-government policies.

As a centralised supporter of e-government initiatives, Plan Avanza helps improve interoperability and security. Likewise, the Plan benefits as e-government reforms are the ideal setting for introducing ICTs and ICT training into the public administration. E-government and Plan Avanza synergies. One such example of the synergies achieved between Plan Avanza and the Ministry of the Presidency is with the portal, an online one-stop stop for government services bundled according to customer profiles and life events paying taxes, getting married, retirement, etc.

Plan Avanza and the Ministry have an agreement in which red. Plan Avanza provides training to staff and support in the development of a secure and authenticated platform that links these registrars to the central node. This programme is also co-financed by the Ministry of the Presidency. Clarifying the mandate of information society strategy vis a vis other national policies is crucial in the design phase. Indeed, as economic policy and innovation policy are ever more intertwined in the knowledge economy, alignment of Plan Avanza with the Spanish INGENIO strategy will become increasingly important.

Indeed, both the Ministry for Science and Innovation and Plan Avanza have been active in the following fields: Development of technological platforms for information-sharing and innovation. Plan Avanza has created platforms for educational contents as well as for information-sharing between universities pursuing innovative projects in the audiovisual sector. To similar ends, the Ministry of Science and Innovation has financed the construction of technological platforms in several sectors- from transport, technology, agriculture, energy, security and defence, amongst others.

The ministry also works with science and technology parks in building instruments for information-sharing. Support for development of the ICT sector. Plan Avanza provides support to the ICT sector through some similar instruments. A second challenge of aligning ICT objectives to other national objectives arises during evaluation, as objectives become interdependent and initiatives are increasingly run in parallel.

It is difficult, for example, to pinpoint the contribution of Plan Avanza in terms of improving public sector efficiency, when initiatives are designed to complement each other and are often implemented in conjunction. Are efficiency gains realised from new ICT equipment or procedural reforms that streamlined operations?

Strategic policy sequencing and prioritisation Plan Avanza was able to prioritise and plan activities in such a way that was conductive to greater impact. This foresight and strategic thinking during policy design was important and consisted in the following decisions: Within the digital public services pillar, Plan Avanza policy-makers chose to focus initially on the deployment of ICT equipment, before directing efforts towards the development of services. The aim was to focus first on creating a critical mass of demand in order to incentivise the private sector and government to respond.

This approach was successful, since it was difficult to predict beforehand which services would be most utilised, and what the rate of take-up would be. Efforts on the development of services for these cards are now ongoing. The first Plan Avanza action plan stressed large-scale deployment of ICT infrastructure- namely, mobile phone, broadband and digital television. The Plan also supported integration of ICTs directly in households and schools- financing computers and internet access. The second action plan, in turn, has shifted emphasis on utilisation and take-up of services and development of digital content, particularly in the private sector.

Indeed, unlike previous plans which took on both challenges simultaneously with limited resources, Plan Avanza concentrated a large portion of its budget in the initial phase in technology, later shifting that budget towards more socioeconomic objectives. This indicates the intention a greater balance between infrastructure development and take-up in the next steps of implementation. Strategic policy sequencing and prioritisation requires, by nature, a long-term perspective. Closer collaboration is needed to establish a long-term perspective on shared goals like economic development, e-government, and capacity-building.

Supportive Legal and Regulatory Framework A strong information society also requires legal and regulatory intervention in order to support ongoing and future initiatives. As has done the Digital Austria strategy, Plan Avanza has sponsored and pushed forward key pieces of legislation which have improved the ability of the Plan to intervene in the public sector and to improve accessibility. Some of the key pieces of legislation supported by Plan Avanza include: While it is the Ministry of the Presidency who is responsible for upholding this law, Plan Avanza has a strong role in assisting government in being able to comply.

Personal information may only be used or disclosed to a third party with consent from the individual. Copyright law is an area where Plan Avanza has yet to become involved in. Indeed, protection of copyright and intellectual property on the Internet is a key to ensuring strong incentives for the creation of digital content continues.

Early attention granted to important governance issues during policy design has yielded some positive results which have differentiated the Plan from previous strategies. Some challenges remain, however, for Plan Avanza 2. These may include increasing the flexibility of the consultation process in order to increase inclusion, strengthening mediums for communicating with stakeholders outside of CATSI, and considering ways by which the SSTIS and Plan Avanza can overcome bottlenecks to growth.

In particular, the human resource management is an important issue, as it is expected that policies to be pursued under Plan Avanza 2 will increase in complexity and diversity. Measures to mitigate this have already been taken e. Furthermore, since Plan Avanza has been centralised under the SSTIS, momentum of the strategy has surely improved; however the trade-off may have been relatively less high-level co-ordination in policy design. A greater degree of collaboration with other ministries could be achieved in order to extract greater more synergies from policies.

Certainly, having a better idea of what ministries will require from Plan Avanza in the future may help policy-makers make better decisions about how to incorporate ICTs into these initiatives and improve planning. These aspects will be further examined in a later stage of the project following interviews with other central government stakeholders. In the context of economic recovery, for instance, it is important that the Plan clarify its lines of action regarding the promotion of the ICT sector, in order to avoid gaps and duplication in this policy domain.

Better co-ordination with the Ministry of Science and Innovation could increase collaboration and delineate specific responsibilities. Indeed, greater prioritisation of the development of the ICT sector under the next action Plan may require greater alignment.

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Other ministries may become more prevalent under the context of economic recovery, for instance, the Ministry of Work and Immigration. Good governance in policy design can contribute to improved outcomes; however, these efforts must be extended also into policy implementation in order for citizens, businesses and the public sector to ultimately benefit.

Information Society strategies require adequate implementation frameworks and tools to ensure concerted action and cost-effectiveness. The Plan Avanza implementation framework includes a series of instruments and tools designed to fit the particular implementation challenges faced by the Plan e. Some remaining obstacles for the implementation of such tools are also highlighted.

Implementation tools for enhancing co-operation 2. Information Society strategies work across different entities and administrative boundaries, and require instruments allowing the joint contribution of actors in different sectors and levels of government. Many of the implementation tools adopted by the Plan have been in response to the decentralised administrative context in which it operates.

As such, Autonomous Communities have large roles in the delivery of health and education services, as well in social policy, economic and 54 regional development policy, agriculture policy, environmental policy, tourism, transport and infrastructures. Local governments municipalities , on the other hand, are mainly responsible for urban planning, maintaining local infrastructures and public spaces, local tourism, management of city public transport, traffic and roads, and local 55 security.

The implications of this administrative structure for a large-scale and transversal strategy like Plan Avanza are apparent. In the context of devolved competencies and fiscal federalism, the Plan is set to collaborate with regional and local governments, who are key players in all policy domains implicated in IS initiatives: Collaboration with multiple stakeholders can be a challenge given significant inter-regional variations within Spain along many lines including terrain, demographics, economic composition, levels of innovation and competitiveness and, of course, in levels of ICT-use and coverage.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Good governance for digital policies: But what have these important investments contributed to wider societal goals such as public sector modernisation and increasing citizens' trust in government; creating job opportunities and preparing a future work force for a competitive, globalised economy; supporting economic reform; improving citizens' welfare and promoting equity? This report takes inventory of the Plan's main achievements thus far and its remaining challenges for the future, reflecting on how its next phase can best serve society.

In particular, the report looks at how Plan Avanza has helped integrate citizens, business and the public administration into the knowledge economy. It identifies areas on which Spain should continue to work: The experiences of Spain and other OECD countries suggest that building a strong policy and governance framework is key for the success of IS policies. Indeed, to increase the impact of IS strategies policy makers must continuously look for ways to improve the performance of these frameworks.

This can include identifying potential co-ordination gaps between stakeholders and leveraging existing institutions; ensuring that policy sequencing contributes to strategic objectives; strengthening funding mechanisms and incentive structures for stakeholders; and improving evaluation and oversight. Using Plan Avanza as a case study, this study highlights the importance of each of these factors in maximizing the impact, and improving cost-effectiveness, of IS strategies in times of growing fiscal constraints.

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Who's Looking Out for You? They also have the added benefit of helping students to learn to use ICTs, and become more comfortable utilising computers, software, and the internet from an early age. Tend to span several years. We appreciate your feedback. Specifically, it aims to generate benefits for citizens, businesses, and the public sector. The fact that Plan Avanza was unanimously passed in the Senate reveals how high levels of participation from stakeholders in the policy-making process can help increase political consensus and garner the critical support to pursue a large-scale initiative. As opposed to previous national IS strategies which drew funding directly mostly from the different ministries involved, Plan Avanza has introduced a different kind of financial model.

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