OECD economies increasingly depend on digital knowledge and information to stay ahead in the global economy. Countries that are good at creating, diffusing and exploiting information for economic gain often find themselves at the forefront of new market opportunities and sources of growth. Underpinned by Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), these knowledge economies are growing more productive, innovative, and sustainable.
Acronyms and key terms
Core messages of the review
Some of the key achievements made under Plan Avanza in information and communications technology (ICT) diffusion and public sector modernisation are highlighted in this peer review. Additionally, the review identifies areas on which future work could focus in order to sustain – and magnify – the important progress made thus far.
Assessments and proposals for action
Plan Avanza ("the Plan") has arguably been Spain’s most comprehensive policy to date aimed at furthering the development of the country’s information society, a significant accomplishment in and of itself when considering the challenges involved in launching a new initiative of such a large, cross-sectoral scope and complexity. Whereas previous information society (IS) policies were implemented in isolation by different ministries, under Plan Avanza there has been greater policy coherence in terms of sequencing and responding to national and sub-national priorities. Streamlining and scaling-up these policies under the Plan, as well as increasing co-ordination with regional and local governments, has yielded important results: under the auspices of Plan Avanza, Spain’s information society is approaching an important turning point wherein the progress made in ICT diffusion has reached a threshold of critical mass. Indeed, the principal challenge for policy makers now is to bridge these technologies with their intended purposes – productivity gains, facilitating innovation, increasing growth and public sector efficiency, and generating benefits for citizens.
A medida que la economía global va dependiendo cada vez más de las transacciones basadas en el conocimiento y la omnipresencia de la tecnología se hace más patente, los países con una sociedad de la información sólida – es decir, una sociedad activa en la creación, difusión y explotación de la información, con sus consecuentes beneficios sociales y económicos – se colocan en primera línea de las oportunidades de mercado emergentes y se convierten en pioneros de la creación de bienestar social para los ciudadanos.
Principales mensajes del informe Plan Avanza revisión de pares
En esta Revisión de Pares se subrayan algunos de los logros más importantes en cuanto a diseminación de las TIC y modernización del sector público conseguidos con el Plan Avanza. Además, se identifican áreas en las que centrar los esfuerzos futuros para mantener y magnificar el importante progreso alcanzado hasta ahora.
Principales hallazgos y propuestas de acción
Podría decirse que el Plan Avanza ("el Plan") constituye la política más completa hasta la fecha orientada al desarrollo de la sociedad del conocimiento en el país y que ha alcanzado importantes logros, teniendo en cuenta los retos que supone el lanzamiento de una iniciativa de tal magnitud y complejidad intersectorial. Mientras que anteriormente las políticas de SI se implantaban de manera aislada por distintos ministerios, con el Plan Avanza se ha conseguido una mayor coherencia política en términos de secuenciación y respuesta a las prioridades de nivel nacional y subnacional.
Over the years, a growing number of OECD member countries have been widening the scope of their information and communication technology (ICT) policies. While initially focused on the deployment of ICT infrastructure and development of the ICT sector, mandates have progressively broadened to encompass wider social and economic dimensions. These objectives now include promoting sustainable economic growth, boosting productivity, providing employment opportunities, encouraging innovation, and improving the effectiveness of public services and citizens’ quality of life. In short, many ICT policies have become information society (IS) strategies, policies and initiatives that aim to realise the transformative potential of ICTs, and generate positive impacts on individuals, the economy, and in government.
Plan Avanza: an important step forward for information society policy in Spain
This chapter discusses the main characteristics of information society strategies and lays out Plan Avanza’s ("the Plan’s") main objectives and policies, which have been designed to respond to the country’s particular challenges in advancing its information society: an aging population, a high percentage of rural territory with either mountainous terrain and/or dispersed populations, traditionally lower levels of economic activity in the ICT (information and communications technology) sector, and a high percentage of SMEs/micro-enterprises which face additional barriers to adopting ICTs. An overview of the Plan’s main beneficiaries is provided, along with data on the distribution of resources, reflecting the Plan’s priorities from 2006 through 2009. Finally, the main tenants of the proposed Plan Avanza 2 strategy are briefly illustrated; this next phase of the Plan, which will be in effect through to 2015.
Governance matters: success factors for the design and implementation of information society strategies
Information society strategies are complex endeavours that implicate different economic sectors, different end-users, and different tiers of government. It becomes critically important then to define clear mandates and responsibilities, and ensure that policies are coherent with wider goals including: individual sectoral policies, regional/territorial and other national strategies. Furthermore, an operating model must be established that involves regional and local stakeholders, and which mirrors the complexity and fast-paced nature of technological programmes. In Spain, the Plan’s governance model was also particularly important due to Spain’s highly decentralised administrative structure that devolves significant responsibilities to the country’s regional and local governments. This chapter applies a governance lens to the design and implementation of Plan Avanza, examining the governance mechanisms utilised throughout its mandate to ensure that IS objectives manifested into results. Some of the critical factors that constitute the Plan’s governance system, and which are discussed in this chapter, include: leadership, consultation, regulatory frameworks, implementation models, communications strategies and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
Assessing the effectiveness of inter-institutional co-ordination under Plan Avanza: the importance of multi-level governance
Fostering effective co-ordination between different levels and areas of government, as well as with non-governmental actors, is the essence of good multi-level governance, and it is integral for the success of information society (IS) strategies. This chapter outlines the principal drivers necessitating strong multi-level governance and highlights the key benefits that can be derived from getting this important governance element right. With a view to improving IS results, this chapter presents findings from a survey of Plan Avanza stakeholders assessing the effectiveness of the co-ordination mechanisms under the Plan. Specifically, survey results discuss the extent to which Plan Avanza stakeholders perceive policy, informative, capacity and resource gaps in the design and implementation of the strategy.
Delivering benefits to citizens, businesses and the Spanish public administration
In the context of the S-curve framework, this chapter assesses the progress made since 2005 in incorporating citizens, businesses, and government organisations into Spain’s information society according to selected indicators on ICT diffusion, access and use. The assessment on progress made since the launch of the Plan is also complemented by perceptions from stakeholders on the contribution of the strategy to IS objectives in the sectors of education, health and justice. The chapter also examines progress made in the diffusion of ICT infrastructure such as broadband and telephony networks.
This report has examined some of the key advancements made recently in integrating citizens, businesses and the public administration into the information society, and identified areas on which future work could focus in order for Spain to continue converging with EU and OECD member countries in ICT access and usage, in the growth of the ICT sector, and in the development of e-government services. Insights gained from the peer review exercise are particularly relevant at this time, as the information society policy agenda finds itself at a critical juncture in Spain. The EU’s Digital Agenda was released this year and the next Spanish IS strategy (Plan Avanza 2) will be implemented in parallel, with the advantage of building on achievements and learning from the strengths and weaknesses of its predecessor.
Annex A. Organisations participating in interviews and roundtables
Annex B. Survey methodology
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