Updated: Oct 13, 2021
Admittedly, the rapid growth of information and communication technologies and their ubiquitous presence in everyday life has significantly affected the way services for the public sector are developed and delivered nowadays.
This poses diverse challenges to safeguard the data confidentiality and integrity of eGovernment services, while at the same time increasing their adoption and usage by citizens and businesses. In line with the above, the GLASS project aims to deliver a novel eGovernance model and address the challenges that governance structures in the EU are currently facing, spanning from divergent and legal groundwork to physical and technological limitations, towards the democratization and openness of the public administration services. The project is citizen-centric by design, promotes the once-only principle and it builds on state-of-the-art technology, including blockchain, single sign-on Wallet-as-a-Service, and distributed applications for authentication and transactions validation. GLASS envisions the creation of an open, cross-sector and cross-border model of interaction among public administration, citizens and businesses with a strong social, societal, economic, technological and scientific impact.
Aiming to provide a solid and well-documented baseline that will drive the implementation of the aforementioned vision, we have prepared a deliverable including a thorough analysis of the current solutions and practices and best-of-breed technologies in eGovernment and eGovernance models. This deliverable reports on the outcomes of GLASS Task 2.1: International eGovernance SotA Analysis, whose main goal is to conduct a detailed analysis of the state-of-the-art (SotA) approaches proposed to transform public services and facilitate digital by default, cross-border by default and interoperable by design services. We have identified the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches, and we have discovered possible gaps and missing services. Our analysis adopted a two-step approach, by considering:
Twenty (20) research projects that were funded through EU calls of the last period (2018-2020) of the Horizon 2020 framework programme and are related to the use of ICTs in the public sector. The corresponding calls were included in the “Societal Challenge 6 (SC6): Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies”. Two out of the three calls in the context of SC6 were related to the public sector, namely “Socioeconomic and cultural transformations in the context of the fourth industrial revolution” and “Governance for the future”.
Recent research articles and reports in the literature, elaborating concepts and technologies identified in the first step, as well as reports on the emerging technologies and breakthrough cross-sector services considered in the context of the GLASS project, which have been produced by EC and prominent eGovernment related organizations. The results of the literature analysis are structured upon five categories, concerning technologies of primary importance for the successful delivery of the foreseen GLASS platform and associated services.
To make sense of the accumulated knowledge in the field under consideration, in both these steps we adopted a concept-centric methodology. The most important concepts that will facilitate the synthesis of the identified content were specified, while for each research issue considered the associated concepts were extracted and meaningfully combined into a framework for understanding the use of emerging technologies in the public sector. We mainly focused on investigating current solutions and technologies for distributed governance approaches, personal information authentication and sharing, transparency of transactions, distributed ledgers and smart contracts, distributed applications, single sign-on e-wallets, intercommunication between centralized and decentralized systems, AI and ML techniques for interoperability issues, transactions analytics for distributed eGovernment services, and intelligent data management.
Based on both the literature review and the analysis of recently funded research projects, this deliverable also proposes a roadmap of actions to be carried out towards the definition of the foreseen GLASS eGovernance model. In particular, it identifies actions related to research gaps and the subsequent advancements foreseen in the context of GLASS project, as well as actions towards an efficient and effective alignment of the foreseen advancements with recent initiatives and directives with respect to European and world-wide eGovernance policy making.
Specifically, the first category of actions concerns key technologies to be elaborated in the course of the project, including IPFS, Distributed Ledger Technologies, Self-Sovereign Identities, Digital Wallets, Blockchain, Smart Contracts and ML-based data transformation and interoperability. The second category of actions concerns two recent EC-driven and -promoted infrastructures, namely the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) and the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) Building Blocks, as well as the recently organized eGOV Project Cluster, which comprises projects funded under the H2020 call “DT-GOV-05-2020: New forms of delivering public goods and inclusive public services”, and intends to encourage synergies between projects, putting projects’ coordinators in contact with policy officers, discussing policy needs as well as encouraging contributions to the Conference on the Future of Europe.