Chapter 8. Towards a conducive environment for digital and open government reforms in Argentina

This chapter links common findings of the Open Government and Digital Government Reviews and highlights results that are relevant for both digital and open government reforms in Argentina. In particular, the chapter focuses on ways that digital government tools can be conducive to open government reforms and vice versa. It examines the institutional framework for digital and open government in Argentina, stress the necessity to align overarching strategies, and highlights the benefits that innovation-driven initiatives can yield for the digital government and open government agendas.


The OECD Secretariat conducted this Open Government Review and an additional Digital Government Review in 2018 at the request of the Government of Argentina (GoA). These Reviews add to the broader work carried out by the Secretariat, at the request of the Argentinian government, which includes additional reports such as the Regulatory Policy and Integrity Reviews of Argentina. The aforementioned policy areas are mutually reinforcing and can work in support of democracy and inclusive growth.

In terms of open government and digital government, the OECD (2014) defines digital government as “the use of digital technologies, as an integrated part of governments’ modernisation strategies, to create public value. It relies on a digital government ecosystem comprised of government actors, non-governmental organisations, businesses, citizens’ associations and individuals which supports the production of and access to data, public services and content through interactions with the government”. Open government, in turn, is defined as “a culture of governance that promotes the principles of transparency, integrity, accountability and stakeholder participation in support of democracy and inclusive growth” (OECD, 2017).

Digital government tools enable open government reforms

Member countries of the OECD and beyond have acknowledged the importance of open and digital government and have mandated the OECD Secretariat to develop standing Recommendations on both areas.

In 2014, the OECD Council passed the Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies to which, in addition to OECD countries, Colombia,1 Costa Rica,2 Egypt, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Romania and the Russian Federation have adhered (as of January 2019). In March 2017, Argentina made a request to join this number, thereby demonstrating the country’s willingness to follow and implement the principles of the Recommendation, and learn from OECD best practices towards the creation of greater public value and benefits for its citizens. In February 2019, the OECD approved Argentina’s request.

In 2017, the Council passed the OECD Recommendation on Open Government. To date (February 2019), all 36 members of the OECD, as well as Argentina and Morocco, have adhered to the Recommendation. In 2018, the GoA began work on the Open Government Review and the Digital Government Review in parallel, with both reviews being launched in 2019.

This chapter links the common findings of the Open Government and Digital Government Reviews and highlights results that are relevant for both digital and open government reforms in Argentina. In particular, the chapter focuses on ways in which digital government tools can be conducive to open government reforms and vice versa. It also examines the institutional framework for digital and open government in Argentina, emphasises the importance of aligning overarching strategies, and highlights the benefits that innovation-driven initiatives can yield for the digital government and open government agendas.

Both Recommendations recognise the importance of open and digital government. The Open Government Recommendation, for example, underlines the significant opportunities that digital government tools can yield. Provision 9 in particular stipulates that adherents should: “promote innovative ways to effectively engage with stakeholders to source ideas and co-create solutions and seize the opportunities provided by digital government tools, including through the use of open government data, to support the achievement of the objectives of open government strategies and initiatives” (OECD, 2017).

Provision 7 emphasises the benefits of open government data.3 Adhering countries commit to “proactively make available clear, complete, timely, reliable and relevant public sector data and information that is free of cost, available in an open and non-proprietary machine-readable format, easy to find, understand, use and reuse, and disseminated through a multi-channel approach, to be prioritised in consultation with stakeholders” (OECD, 2017b). This adds to Provision 3 of the OECD Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies, which stresses the need to create a data-driven culture in the public sector to incentivise public value creation, and enhance public service design and delivery (OECD, 2014).

The above-mentioned provisions reflect the ways in which digital technologies are transforming how the public sector operates and engages with citizens and businesses, as well as the ways that information and data are produced, exchanged and reused (OECD, 2016).

The OECD Report Open Government: The Global Context and the Way Forward (2016) found that “technological development has moreover contributed to a number of open government goals, including greater access to valuable open government data (OGD) and acceleration of the development of more convenient, user-friendly and citizen-driven public services”. Governments and citizens can now interact remotely in real time, using two-way communication channels, such as social media (see Chapter 6 on Citizen and Stakeholder Participation), and use government digital platforms to access public services and personal documents, and perform formal transactions.

Argentina makes strategic use of digital government tools to interact with its citizens and better deliver public services.

In recent years, Argentina has created easy-to-use and accessible web-based and mobile platforms to interact with and deliver public services to its citizens. One example, which is described in more detail in Chapter 6 on Citizen and Stakeholder Participation, is the Platform of Public Consultation (Plataforma de Consulta Pública). According to the Government of Argentina, the Platform is intended to be the principal portal for digital consultation of citizens in any form. As discussed in Chapter 6, the effort to unify participation channels represents an important step in providing citizens with certainty regarding how to participate in open government.

Initially created to receive input for the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plan process, the consultation platform offers ministries the possibility to ask citizens for their input on ministries’ respective policy areas. The platform is based on the open-source online platform DemocracyOS, and stakeholders interested in participating can access an easy-to-understand manual that outlines the different steps involved. According to information provided by the Government Secretariat of Modernisation (SGM), 25 consultations with more than 2 000 participants have been held to date. In addition, the government has created a Public Consultation Guide that outlines the benefits of public consultations, and normative guidelines that support citizen participation and provide recommendations on how to successfully conduct consultations.

Regardless of these noteworthy efforts to consolidate digital citizen participation and publicise the best practices and benefits of digital consultation, not all ministries and provinces seem to make use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to promote open government principles. Almost three-quarters (74%) of line ministries and 80% of provinces use ICTs strategically to promote transparency, integrity, accountability and stakeholder participation (Figure 8.1).

Figure ‎8.1. Using ICTs to promote open government principles
Figure ‎8.1. Using ICTs to promote open government principles

Source: OECD (2018), OECD Survey on Open Government in Argentina, OECD, Paris.

Online platforms such as Argentina’s Platform of Public Consultation or (mobile) applications can contribute to better informed decision-making and provide opportunities for more dynamic forms of collaboration between public institutions and their constituencies (OECD, 2016). Online platforms help to hold public institutions accountable, especially in policy areas such as public procurement and transparency in the public sector. They moreover allow better monitoring of public expenditures and the progress of public works. In Chile, the government has developed an online system through which citizens, civil society organisations (CSOs) and journalists can obtain information on lobbying. The system also helps to hold the government accountable (Box 8.1). In addition, the government has set up a one-stop shop that offers a single entry point for citizens and provides services to citizens and businesses.

Box ‎8.1. Transparency of lobbying information in Chile and the one-stop shop

The “Info Lobby” online portal

Info Lobby” is an online portal managed by the Transparency Council (Consejo para la Transparencia) that allows citizens to obtain information about lobbying in Chile. The Council acts as the co-ordination body overseeing implementation of the Transparency Law and, in particular, promotes transparency, monitors compliance and guarantees the right of access to information. The Council is also responsible for making all lobbying registries for institutions publicly accessible through a user-friendly website. Accordingly, all institutions covered by lobbying regulation have to send relevant information to the Council, which then publishes it via the online portal. This includes all lobbying-related information – which is organised according to several criteria (paid/unpaid lobbyist, lobbyist client, institution, public officials ranking and subject matter) – as well as information about public officials’ travels and donations, which must also be disclosed in line with Lobbying Law No. 20.730.

ChileAtiende: Providing citizen access to public sector information

ChileAtiende offers a national multi-channel one-stop shop for citizens to carry out their business with government. It consists of a national network of more than 200 offices, a national call centre and a digital platform (web and social networks), as well as ChileAtiende vans able to cover remote rural areas and help citizens access multiple services and benefits without contacting different government offices. Previously, citizens obliged to complete a state procedure had to identify the correct institution, establish where its offices were located, and then make direct contact to determine the requirements involved in accessing the service. This was costly in terms of time and money. In 2014, an external consultancy evaluated he project was evaluated in 2014. Their conclusions indicated that the service had saved Chilean citizens up to 2 165 193 hours and CLP 10 600 million (Chilean pesos) or USD 14.9 million between 2012 and 2014.

Source: Info Lobby (2014), Lobbying Law No. 20.730 of 2014, (accessed 14 January 2019); OECD (n.d.a), “Digital government strategies: Good practices Chile: ChileAtiende”, Digital Dovernment Toolkit, (accessed 21 October 2016).

The surge in usage of smartphones and mobile applications, as probably the most widely used ICTs, has led governments across OECD member and partner countries to develop applications that allow for two-way interaction with their citizens and improve public service delivery. For instance, as of October 2018, 1.5 million users had registered on the digital public service delivery platform Mi Argentina, and the SGM had reported 165,000 downloads of Mi Argentina’s mobile application. By using Mi Argentina’s platforms, citizens can access provided services such as advanced booking (turnos) for document certification (apostillamiento), vaccination appointments and online certification from the National Administration of Social Services (Administración Nacional de la Seguridad Social, ANSES) (OECD, 2018). Another interesting initiative that facilitates the interaction between citizens and the government is BA147. This application was created by the Secretariat of Citizen Administration and Service (Secretaría de Atención y Gestión Ciudadana) of the City of Buenos Aires (see Box 8.2 below).

Box ‎8.2. BA147 – the City of Buenos Aires App to interact with citizens

The City of Buenos Aires has created a mobile application, called BA147, which allows citizens to directly contact the City administration. With the help of the App, citizens can issue requests, reports and complaints regarding a range of topics, including maintenance of streets and sidewalks, cleaning and waste collection, security-related issues or transport. If a citizen, for example, spots an abandoned car in the street or a pothole that should be fixed, the person can upload a picture of the issue to be solved and the location, together with a comment. In addition, citizens are able to view all requests made for their neighbourhood, add to their priority or receive an update on the status of the repair. Once the requested issue has been addressed, the citizen will receive an email containing a satisfaction survey to improve future requests.

Source: City of Buenos Aires (n.d.), BA147, Realizá solicitudes para el Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires [Make requests for the Government of the City of Buenos Aires], (accessed 15 January 2019).

While these applications can help to develop and implement more effective policies and improve the performance of the public sector, their adoption rate is contingent on the government’s response to requests. If government responsiveness does not meet citizen’s expectations, the adoption rate might lower and, more importantly, trust in the government might erode. For example, if citizens submit a request to repair a street (e.g. through the BA147 App in Buenos Aires) and the City does not address the problem, disenchantment with the public institution might increase.

Open government principles can support digital government strategies

The 2014 OECD Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies contains various references to the open government principles of transparency, accountability, integrity and stakeholder participation (see Box 8.3 below).

Box ‎8.3. References to open government principles in the 2014 OECD Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies

Adherents to the 2014 OECD Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies Recommendation commit to develop and implement digital government strategies which:

  1. 1. “Ensure greater transparency, openness and inclusiveness of government processes and operations by:

    1. i. adopting open and inclusive processes, accessibility, transparency and accountability among the main goals of national digital government strategies;

    2. ii. updating accountability and transparency regulations recognising different contexts and expectations brought about by digital technologies and technology-driven approaches;

  2. 2. Encourage engagement and participation of public, private and civil society stakeholders in policy making and public service design and delivery, through:

    1. i. addressing issues of citizens’ rights, organisation and resource allocation, adoption of new rules and standards, use of communication tools and development of institutional capacities to help facilitate engagement of all age groups and population segments, in particular through the clarification of the formal responsibilities and procedures (e.g. adoption of guidelines clarifying roles and procedures for establishing and managing official government accounts on social media, norms of data sharing);”

Source: OECD (2014), Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies, OECD, Paris,

Open government principles, especially citizen and stakeholder participation, can work as catalysts for digital government strategies and initiatives. Among the biggest challenges for public service delivery in the public sector is the transition from technology-centred design and delivery of services to an alternative that is user-driven and responsive to citizens’ needs. Governments need to enact a paradigm change that re-centres services around the citizen and enables a user-driven approach to service design and delivery (OECD, 2016). The success and impact of digital government initiatives will greatly depend on the value such initiatives have for citizens.

Stakeholders’ engagement can contribute to enhancing the quality and usefulness of digital platforms and public services. Engaging citizens earlier and in an iterative fashion can help to crowdsource their knowledge and first-hand expertise to enhance the benefits of these platforms.

In order for open government principles to be conducive for digital government reforms and vice versa, the respective agendas need to be steered and co-ordinated by institutions close to political decision-making power. The following section examines the institutional framework for digital and open government in Argentina, the need to align overarching strategies and the benefits that innovation-driven initiatives can produce for the respective agendas.

Anchoring digital government and open government in the same Secretariat provides opportunities for co-operation.

In September 2018, the President re-organised the GoA, transforming the then Ministry of Modernisation into the Government Secretariat of Modernisation (SGM). As a result of this reform, the SGM is now located in the Chief of Cabinet of Ministers Office, an office at the centre of government4 led by the President’s Chief of Staff, as discussed in more detail in Chapter 4 on the Implementation of Open Government Initiatives. Within the SGM, the Undersecretariat for Public Innovation and Open Government (UOG) is the entity in charge of the country’s open government agenda. Digital government reforms are led by the Secretariat for Digital Government and Innovation Technology (Figure 8.2), while the Secretariat of Administrative Modernisation has headed efforts to create a paperless government.

Figure ‎8.2. The new structure of the Government Secretariat of Modernisation
Figure ‎8.2. The new structure of the Government Secretariat of Modernisation

Note: This figure only presents a part of the full organigram of the Chief of Cabinet of Ministers Office.

Source: Government of Argentina (2018b), Mapa del Estado [Map of the State], (accessed 11 December 2018).

The institutional reshuffling did not alter the close co-operation between the different teams in charge of digital government and innovation technology, as well as public innovation and open government, respectively. During interviews conducted for the Reviews, government representatives stressed that the agendas of the different areas are well aligned. In fact, many team members worked together in the administration of the City of Buenos Aires before joining the government in 2015.

In order for digital and open government reforms to have a positive impact on citizens’ lives, they need to be implemented at all levels of government, which in turn requires effective co-ordination. As argued in Chapter 7 on the Open State, provinces and municipalities require additional guidance and assistance from the central government in this regard. Interviews with policy makers at provincial level revealed that the SGM is a well-respected institution that has inspired and made possible initiatives at the subnational level. Similar findings hold true for line ministries where the SGM has established strong co-operation with representatives through informal Points of Contact for open government and open data.

In order to facilitate continued close alignment between the two bodies, they could consider inviting a representative from the digital government team in order to be informed about forthcoming initiatives to be discussed by the National Open Government Steering Committee. This would help both bodies align their agendas and demonstrate the integrated approach of reforms on digital and open government.

Alignment of digital and open government strategies would help establish a common narrative.

Argentina’s digital government agenda is guided by the Digital Agenda, while membership of the OGP has guided the majority of work on open government over the last two years. The vision and key pillars of Argentina’s Digital Agenda were approved under Presidential Decree 996/2018 on 5 November 2018 (Government of Argentina, 2018). The Digital Government Review of Argentina finds that “the Digital Agenda puts in place a high-level vision for where the country wants to be. Beyond that vision, the Agenda is generally project-based (e.g. digital signature, single window) and principle-based (e.g. openness, co-creation). While this is a major step in achieving digital transformation, opportunities exist to set strategic goals with related objectives in order to provide an articulated roadmap for digital government that everyone in government can rally behind and work towards” (OECD, 2019). The Review therefore recommends the elaboration of a Digital Government Strategy.

Argentina’s third OGP Action Plan (2017-2019) contains commitments related to open data (e.g. the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights committed to upgrade the platform) (Government of Argentina, 2017). As discussed in Chapter 2 on the Policy Framework, Argentina could move towards a comprehensive National Open Government Strategy. This would help to improve policy coherence across government and streamline different initiatives. Along similar lines, the Digital Government Review finds that a standalone Digital Government Strategy would contribute to more mature digital government policies and services. When elaborating these Strategies together with civil society and other stakeholders, it will be important to ensure close co-operation between the two Under-secretariats. As argued in this chapter, digital government initiatives can contribute to an enabling environment and implementation for open government and vice versa. A continuous exchange and co-operation in the developing phase of the strategies is thus important to avoid duplications. Additionally, the strategies should contain provisions that outline how open government principles can contribute to implementing the digital government strategy and the inverse. Together, both strategies can contribute to enacting cultural change across the administration.

Implementation of open government principles can engage citizens in the design of public services and lead to greater data re-use.

The findings of the OECD Digital Government Review of Argentina underline the need to better engage with citizens in the design and delivery of public services and data re-use.

On the one hand, there are clear achievements in terms of digital public service delivery in the country. and Mi Argentina have brought further integration in terms of how the Argentinian public sector presents itself to its citizens, with a focus on a government-as one-entity approach. More importantly, Mi Argentina is a valuable platform for digital public service delivery, as it streamlines the government-citizen relationship and simplifies the citizens’ experience when interacting with government. Both platforms fall under the responsibility of the SGM’s National Direction of Public Services.

However, challenges remain in terms of better engaging with citizens in the context of digital government initiatives. So far, evidence from the OECD Digital Government Review of Argentina shows that while inclusiveness and the implementation of citizen-driven approaches appear to be a priority in the context of ICT projects and initiatives, discrepancies appears in terms of engaging citizens, particularly in terms of digital public services. These findings are support by the evidence collected by the OECD in the context of the workshops organised in Buenos Aires in July and December 2018 within the framework of the OECD Digital Government Review of Argentina.

Two opportunities remain in this respect in the context of digital public services. The first is the need to engage citizens in the early stages of the design of public services; the second is to ensure that public sector organisations are aligned with the National Direction of Public Services’ Principles for Digital Services in order to better understand and take into consideration citizens’ needs when developing digital initiatives.

On the other hand, there are also opportunities to better engage users in the context of open government data practices. “When published in open and machine-readable formats, proactively and, if possible, free of cost, public sector information evolves to open government data, facilitating its reuse by anyone – anywhere - without legal or technical limitations (e.g. copyrights, proprietary formats)” (OECD, 2017).

Open government data enable greater public sector accountability, integrity, social innovation and economic development. The overall nature of the data being published reflects, or should reflect, the value it is aiming to achieve. For instance, open data can help journalists, civil society, citizens and representatives of academia to better trace and understand governments’ actions and hold governments and public officials accountable for both their actions and their performance (e.g. through the publication of open contracting data) (OECD 2018b).

Argentina’s National Open Data Portal stands out as a good example of a comprehensive platform for the management and publication of Open Data.

The portal, managed by the National Direction of Public Data and Public Information (Dirección Nacional de Datos e Información Pública, DPDI),5 reflects the willingness of the Argentinian government to provide a platform for the creation of good governance and economic and civic value. However, as discussed in the OECD Digital Government Review of Argentina, there is a need to sustain efforts to further engage users, in order to prioritise the publication of government data, foster its re-use and co-create public value in close collaboration with actors from different communities of practice in the country.


  • Ensure close interaction between the Undersecretariat for Public Innovation and Open Government and the Secretariat for Digital Government and Innovation Technology of the Government Secretariat of Modernisation. This would help to better design and deliver public services, prioritise data publication and foster data re-use.

    • Consider inviting a representative of the digital government team to participate in the National Open Government Steering Committee in order to align agendas.

  • Consider further streamlining the variety of digital engagement platforms (Mi Argentina, the Platform for Public Consultation, Public Challenges, etc.) and continue efforts to make the Platform for Public Consultation the principal platform for digital consultation.


Government of Argentina (2017), 3er Plan de Acción Nacional de Gobierno Abierto de la República de Argentina [3rd National Open Government Action Plan of the Republic of Argentina], Buenos Aires, Open Government Partnership,

OECD (2019), Digital Government Review of Argentina: Accelerating the Digitalisation of the Public Sector, OECD Digital Government Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2018), Digital Government Review of Argentina: Key Findings, OECD, Paris,

OECD (2018), Open Government Data Report: Enhancing Policy Maturity for Sustainable Impact, OECD Digital Government Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2017a), Recommendation of the Council on Open Government, OECD, Paris,

OECD (2017b), Compendium of Good Practices on the Use of Open Data for Anti-Corruption: Towards Data-driven Public Sector Integrity and Civic Auditing, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2016), Open Government: The Global Context and the Way Forward, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2014), Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies, OECD, Paris,

OECD (n.d.), “Open Government Data”, OECD, Paris, (accessed 14 January 2019).

SGM (2018), El Gobierno presentó la nueva Agenda Digital 2030 [The Government presents the new 2030 Digital Agenda], Buenos Aires,


← 1. On 25 May 2018, OECD countries agreed to invite Colombia to become a member of the OECD. On 30 May 2018, the then President Juan Manuel Santos and Secretary-General Gurría signed an Accession Agreement during a meeting of the OECD Council at the ministerial level in Paris. Colombia’s membership will take effect after it has taken the appropriate steps at the national level to accede to the OECD Convention and deposited its instrument of accession with the French government, the depository of the Convention. Colombia’s accession will extend OECD’s membership to 37 countries.

← 2. Costa Rica has commenced the accession process to become a member of the OECD.

← 3. According to the OECD, “Open Government Data (OGD) is a philosophy – and increasingly a set of policies – that promotes transparency, accountability and value creation by making government data available to all. Public bodies produce and commission huge quantities of data and information. By making their datasets available, public institutions become more transparent and accountable to citizens. By encouraging the use, reuse and free distribution of datasets, governments promote business creation and innovative, citizen-centric services.” (OECD, n.d.)

← 4. This administrative structure serves the Executive (President or Prime Minister, and the Cabinet collectively). The Centre of Government (CoG) has a great variety of names across countries, such as General Secretariat, Cabinet Office, Chancellery, Office/Ministry of the Presidency, Council of Ministers Office and so on. In many countries, the CoG is made up of more than one unit, fulfilling different functions.

← 5. For more information see:

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