The Project Goals
EGOV4U specifically addresses a number of EC policy objectives. A key arm of the Lisbon Agenda for making the EU "the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, and respect for the environment by 2010"26 is the I201027 Policy Framework, launched in 2005. I2010"s main aims can linked to ICT-PSP-2009-3 Objective 3.3, which are, in turn addressed by EGOV4U's service delivery model which:
- supports engagement of providers in an open and competitive internal market for information society and media services
- positions public procurers as the drivers of investment and innovation (such as telehealth or e-identification)
- supports inclusion, better public services and quality of life through the use of ICT.
EGOV4U also addresses two interrelated policy areas. The eGovernment Action Plan (April 2006) calls for:
- No citizen left behind - advancing inclusion through eGovernment so that by 2010 all citizens benefit from trusted, innovative services and easy access for all;
- Making efficiency and effectiveness a reality – significantly contributing, by 2010, to high user satisfaction, transparency and accountability, a lighter administrative burden and efficiency gains;
- Implementing high-impact key services for citizens and businesses -by 2010, 100% of public procurement will be available electronically, with 50% actual usage, with agreement on cooperation on further high-impact online citizen services;
- Putting key enablers in place - enabling citizens and businesses to benefit, by 2010, from convenient, secure and interoperable authenticated access across Europe to public services;
- Strengthening participation and democratic decision-making - demonstrating, by 2010, tools for effective public debate and participation in democratic decision-making.
For more information visit www.egov4u.eu
The Project Approach;
Across Europe by 2010 around one-third of EU citizens are unlikely to be using e-Government services and will still not be e-included. They are often those most socially disadvantaged and placing greatest demand on public service resources.
Addressing this core issue, the overall objective of the EGOV4U Project is to accelerate the pace of e-enabled citizen centric service delivery to socially disadvantaged citizens. Central to the strategy will be the closer integration into service delivery networks of organisations (e.g. 3rd Sector, NGOs) and others who can act locally with or for excluded citizens.
EGOV4U will help in removing the barriers to access to e-enabled services by putting targeted technology into the hands, homes and communities of the socially disadvantaged whilst sharing and redeploying best practice e-government ICT solutions for flexible, personalised and multi-channel services; critically evaluating outcomes; and providing training and disseminating results widely across the EU.
The Projects approach will make significant usage of technology re-use, extending it's practical life and is thus highly carbon efficient.
Target users and their needs:
The target end users are socially deprived families and individuals; typically those in receipt of means tested benefits and facing deprivations from health, age, economic, or cultural problems. This includes particular sub groups such as children, young unmarried mothers and those for whom there are cultural and physical barriers.
We aim to extend coverage so that training, discussions and dissemination activities reach across to other EU countries.
Government services are intended to meet the needs of these users, but there is a need to improve effectiveness, efficiency and take-up through e-enablement and inclusivity. The proposed solution(s) will draw best practice into use across the administrations, will join up service delivery agents, will place physical IT equipment and software into the hands, homes and communities of the socially deprived and their intermediaries, will encourage a sense of belonging by forming groups of e-clubs, will deliver services for the socially deprived and will incentivize target groups and individuals to make use of e-transactions and online services.
Example use case: A elderly user at home, accompanied by a neighbour who is a trained volunteer member of a local community support group logs onto the service- site using a recycled PC that has been provided by an agency of the local Council. It has allowed them to find information on social benefits and housing needs. They initiate a transaction to apply for benefits online (e.g. Housing benefits) and the service guides them through the process. A record is automatically maintained for later reference and to speed up work in the Council offices. When the user completes the process they receive a result back on screen to advise them of their benefits entitlements. The information they provide about housing needs indicates that their health status has changed and that are entitled to housing adaptations to help them continue living at home. They are supported in making an appointment with an official who will visit and assess their needs.
Services like these are facilitated by an EU award-winning approach deployed by Milton Keynes Council, UK, and proposed as a core shared approach to be implemented in other EU administrations. (MK will also adopt the best approaches from other participants.)
End users will have a choice of service delivery channels to use, including self-service (internet service delivery) and services facilitated by professionals and/or other intermediaries. Community licensing and equipment re-use to crack an accessibility problem is a strong feature and users and their intermediaries will have direct access to H/W and S/W that enables them to engage with internet based services. The transactions will be made friendly by avatar technology (already used in MK) will be used to navigate these transactions.
The approach also develops the capacity of administrations to deliver multi-channel services and the capacity of intermediaries (individuals and community organizations) to support excluded and disadvantaged members of society.
Participants in EGOV4U are building on a broad and proven range of technologies and service/business models, broadband/e-mail and internet technologies, Avatar navigation/search/transaction software, Digital TV (DigiTV), wireless/WiMAX network S/W and H/W, portal technologies and content management systems, SMS, e-forms and social networking (e-Clubs) transaction/display/search technology and mobile technologies.
EGOV4U will ensure that users can access existing content in a format appropriate to the needs of the users. Within the administrations content is already drawn from a wide range of central and local government sources, the voluntary sector and some commercial sources. Approaches are shared across the administrations. New content using partner resources will be generated.
Sustainability is based upon the ability through the increased e-inclusion of target groups within communities. This approach is also designed to promote wider community sustainability by enhancing trust between users and public service providers, using intermediaries to broker that trust where appropriate.
Each deployment and operation work package will include solutions for providing continuity of services beyond the life of the CIP programme. The approach adopted in Milton Keynes is a model that includes a self-financing equipment loan scheme and the local authority trading as an Internet Service Provider. This holistic model will demonstrate why a local authority, with targets for social disadvantage and channel shift, will see it as a matter of self-interest to continue to support the service delivery approaches that are piloted.
Within each administration ownership will initially rest 100% with the public administration. In the Milton Keynes model, a wholly owned subsidiary, Connect MK Ltd., operates as a trading entity; it has existed for just less than two years and is a proven maintainer and deliverer of the solutions. Over time ownership may become shared perhaps with capital investment being drawn in from the private and voluntary sectors.
Making successful use of best practice is at the core of this proposal. Equipment re-use, systems thinking re-use, service model re-use, joined up working with other sectors are all predominantly evident throughout every facet of the project.