Good Governance for Digital Policies: How to Get the Most Out of ICT

The Case of Spain's Plan Avanza

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Plan Avanza, Spain’s national Information Society strategy, has created a strong momentum for furthering information society (IS) policy in Spain, mobilising close to EUR 9 billion over four years from national, sub-national and non‑governmental stakeholders.  

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 (2010-2015) 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: convergence with EU and OECD countries’ levels of access to and use of ICT; growth of the ICT sector; and development of e-government services.  

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.



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.


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