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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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Introduction

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.

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