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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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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.

English

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