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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.

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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.

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