Assessment and recommendations

Strengthening the governance framework for digital government in Brazil

A comprehensive policy framework

Brazil’s Digital Governance Strategy (2016-19) is the main strategy on digital government policy providing a framework for programmes and actions. Approved in 2016, the strategy is aligned with the desired goal to shift from e-government to digital government. Updated in 2018, the strategy defines priorities such as promoting the availability of open government data, boosting the use of digital technologies for transparency purposes, improving the delivery and use of public digital services, securing the take-up of digital identity, developing evaluation and services’ satisfaction mechanisms, integrating digital services through interoperable public information technology (IT) systems and data, and increasing citizen participation through digital platforms.

In addition to the Digital Governance Strategy, two parallel policy initiatives contribute to the digital transformation of the Brazilian public sector:

  • Brazilian Digital Transformation Strategy: Designed in 2017 and officially presented in March 2018, the strategy focuses on the development of a digital economy and society in Brazil. The strategy sets objectives for the transformation of the economy through a data-based economy, the potential of the Internet of Things and new business models.

  • Efficient Brazil: This federal government programme gathers measures to simplify, modernise and improve the delivery of services to citizens and businesses. Several measures have a deep connection with digital government policies.

Besides these strategies, the Brazil’s Third Action Plan for Open Government (2016), the Cyber-defence Strategy and the Information Security Policy are also relevant policy documents for the Brazilian digital government panorama, prioritising policy areas that require government cross-sector co-ordination.

Together, the above strategies represent the level of priority assigned by the Brazilian federal government to mobilise the public sector, the private sector and civil society to strategically embrace the benefits of digital technologies to advance a digital government and public administration capable of serving an increasingly digitalised economy and society.

Nevertheless, the existence of several policies can weaken efforts to ensure a whole-of-government vision to co-ordinate and ensure the alignment of actions implemented by public, private and civil society stakeholders. The existence of multiple strategies can blur the institutional governance (see Chapter 2) and limit the efficient allocation of resources to support effective policy implementation. Insights and evidence gathered within the framework of this review point to a general agreement among key stakeholders on the risks of confusion in relation to targeted objectives, goals and leadership as a result of the proliferation of strategies.

Leadership and institutional set-ups

A clear, coherent and effective digital government policy requires adequate institutional arrangements to support its effective and efficient implementation. The Brazilian Secretariat of Information and Communication Technologies (Secretaria de Tecnologia da Informação e Comunicação, SETIC), reporting to the Ministry of Planning, Development and Management (Ministério do Planejamento, Desenvolvimento e Gestão) is responsible for leading and co-ordinating the digital government federal policy. SETIC is namely responsible for leading the Digital Governance Policy and implementing the Digital Governance Strategy (Estratégia de Governança Digital, EGD).

Additionally, the SETIC leads some exemplary initiatives at the federal level. These include the System of Administration of Information Technologies Resources (SISP) (see Chapter 4), the national Open Data Policy (Política de Dados Abertos), the Platform of Data Analysis of the Federal Government (Plataforma de Análise de Dados do Governo Federal), GOV Data, and the Digital Citizenship Platform (Plataforma de Cidadania Digital) (see Chapter 4).

Also responding to the Ministry of Planning, Development and Management, the Secretariat of Management (Secretaria de Gestão, SEGES) also plays a significant role in implementing the digital government policy given some of its responsibilities to lead projects of innovation and cross-cutting modernisation of the federal public sector. The Department of Modernization of Public Services and Innovation (Departmento de Modernizacão de Serviços Públicos e Inovação) also has dedicated responsibilities with regard to the digitalisation of public services.

Playing primarily a co-ordination-oriented role, the Civil House of the President of the Republic of Brazil (Casa Civil da Presidência da República) is expected to provide political support and sponsorship to strategic projects and initiatives being implemented to modernise the Brazilian public sector. In strong co-ordination with the Ministry of Planning, Development and Management, the Civil House supports the implementation of public sector reform policies, including digital government, across different sectors of the Brazilian government.

The number of initiatives developed by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Management, with the active support of the Civil House of President of the Republic of Brazil, reflects the government’s commitment to improving the policies and practices that can enhance digital government development. Nevertheless, some key challenges remain in terms of leadership and institutional set-up.

The existence of different bodies with responsibilities in terms of digital government blurs clarity on strategic leadership, thereby having an impact on the definition of common policy goals and priorities, and on coherent and co-ordinated policy implementation.

Although the SETIC and the Ministry of Planning, Development and Management are generally recognised as the main federal institutions responsible for the digital government policy area, SETIC appears to lack the necessary institutional resources and capabilities needed to enforce the Digital Governance Strategy across the government.

Additionally, uncertainty in sustained high-level political support and cross-cutting leadership is recognised by Brazilian stakeholders as a key challenge limiting improvements in policy performance and the strategic use of digital technologies within the public sector. Addressing this uncertainty, along with the need to secure funding mechanisms, provide effective authority and capacities for policy operationalisation, and reinforcing SETIC’s monitoring and evaluation responsibilities could also contribute to securing a stronger governance framework (e.g. through reinforced policy and an institutional basis) and improve co-ordination across the federal government.

The need to identify a clear institutional role supported by and an adequate institutional set-up, mandate and resources to strengthen the leadership and steering the Brazilian government’s efforts towards the digital transformation of the public sector.

Several Brazilian stakeholders interviewed during the OECD peer review mission to Brasilia in July 2017 also highlighted how this institutional figure could assume an important co-ordinating role of the chief information officers (CIOs) leading digital efforts in different sectors and across levels of government. With the adequate mandate, resources and tools for oversight, monitoring and evaluation of the progress made in the implementation of the strategy, this institutional position could contribute to improving the impact of decisions made on the use of digital technologies in the Brazilian public sector.

However, the institutional establishment of a role in charge of the digital transformation of the public sector should not be considered as a unique solution to the numerous challenges that Brazil faces in this policy area. The adoption of several policy levers – from digital key enablers to funding and evaluation mechanisms – are required to guarantee sound policy implementation of digital government in Brazil (see Chapters 3 and 4).

Towards co-ordination and a culture of co-operation

Given the horizontal nature of digital government, the existence of collective institutional co-ordinating mechanisms (e.g. steering committees, councils) that support policy coherency across sectors and levels of government is fundamental to ensuring the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of government efforts.

In Brazil, the System for the Administration of Information Technologies Resources (Sistema de Administração dos Recursos de Tecnologia da Informação, SISP) acts as the main institutional co-ordination mechanism across the different sectors of the executive branch of the Brazilian government. Established by Decree in 19941 and updated in 2011,2 the SISP provides institutional mechanisms to organise the operation, control, supervision and co-ordination of the information technology (IT) resources of the Brazilian government.

Yet, the Digital Governance Strategy foresees an additional mechanism for transversal co-ordination across the federal government. In fact, while the monitoring and evaluation of the Digital Governance Strategy is the responsibility of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Management, the strategy also foresees that each entity of the public administration at all levels should have a Direction Plan for Information and Communication Technologies (Plano Diretor de Tecnologia da Informação e Comunicação). Public entities should also put in place a Digital Governance Committee (Comitê de Governança Digital), bringing together senior officials from the top management and IT branches (Decree no. 8,638 of 15 January 2016).

These institutional mechanisms are important to improve co-ordination across sectors and levels of government, but additional efforts could also be undertaken in this area. The absence of a co-ordinating body to provide guidance and leadership, gathering efforts and building consensus on digital government priorities is a gap in the current governance for digital government in Brazil. Although it may be argued that such a co-ordination role is provided by SISP, its mandate and composition (mainly technical officials) are directed mostly to technological and/or technical issues, therefore missing out on the opportunity to provide the necessary strategic directions for digital government. The National Debureaucratization Council can contribute to improved cross-cutting co-ordination of the digital transformation of the public sector. Yet, its broader mandate (mainly focused on administrative modernisation) and composition (not representative of all government sectors) (see Chapter 2) hinder this body’s effective capacity to co-ordinate digital government efforts.

Proposals for action

In light of the key assessments above, which draw on the main findings and analysis included in Chapter 2 of this review, the Brazilian government could consider implementing the following policy recommendations:

Level of priority

1. Clarify the policy framework for digital government reinforcing the alignment of multiple public strategies underway, namely through better communication efforts around the Digital Governance Strategy and its linkages with the Brazilian Digital Transformation Strategy and the Efficient Brazil programme. The improved communication efforts should namely focus on:

  1. Underlining the role of the Digital Governance Strategy (EGD) as the main policy instrument to guide the digital transformation of the public sector in Brazil.

  2. Clarifying that the Brazilian Digital Transformation Strategy and the Efficient Brazil programme have broader scopes that also include some of the projects and initiatives of the EGD.

  3. Highlighting the synergies in place between the above-mentioned policy instruments, and how they contribute to sound digital government implementation.

Short term

2. Reinforce the role of SETIC as the federal public institution of the Executive Branch responsible for leading and co-ordinating the development of digital government, streamlining and strengthening the coherency of the institutional governance set-up. The following measures could be considered:

  1. Establishment of a federal agency or authority with the mandate to support SETIC in the implementation of the federal digital government policy.

  2. Strengthening the responsibilities for the development and enforcement of technical guidelines and standards to be implemented across the public sector.

  3. Attributing co-funding functions in order to better promote coherent digital government development across sectors and levels of government.

  4. Adopting policy levers co-ordinated by SETIC to optimise public IT expenditures, namely through the mandatory evaluation of digital investments (Action 2) above a certain threshold (Action 1 – definition of the threshold). The adopting of common business cases and project management models/methodologies for public sector projects should support this policy.

  5. Allocating the proper human and financial resources that can enable SETIC and the new federal agency or authority to effectively co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of digital government policy.

Short term

3. Consider the institutionalisation of the role of a Chief Digital Transformation Officer (CDTO), supported by a clear and high-level political mandate and assigned clear responsibility to ensure cross-sectoral and cross-level co-ordination for digital government in Brazil. The following possibilities should be considered to enable the CDTO to carry out his/her function:

  1. Attribution of the role of CDTO to the Secretary of Information and Communication Technologies, as a federal digital champion responsible for mobilising, involving and leading the ecosystem of public, private and civil society stakeholders towards digital government.

  2. Direct reporting of the CDTO to the President of the Republic, and to the Minister of Planning, Development and Management.

Short term

4. Improve the co-ordination of digital government policies across the public sector, strengthening the relevance of SISP (Sistema de Administração dos Recursos de Tecnologia da Informação), namely considering:

  1. Establishing a high-level mechanism able to gather ministers or senior officials with a strategic orientation and oversight role. This co-ordinating mechanism would be able to improve the culture of inter-ministerial and cross-level co-operation and co-ordination, as well as boost the external communication necessary to create awareness among decision makers and politicians. This mechanism should be chaired by the CDTO.

  2. Maintaining an operational and technical co-ordination mechanism with representatives from different public sector organisations to synchronise actions, projects and possible synergies on digital government. This co-ordinating process and/or mechanism would be a fundamental instrument to sustain a systems-thinking approach to the development of digital government, able to make public institutions better communicate with each other, share resources, such as data, move towards real interoperability of processes in the public sector, and scale up what works. This would also contribute to creating learning organisations capable of innovating based on shared knowledge. This mechanism should be chaired by the CDTO.

  3. Institutionalising the representation of SISP in broader co-ordination bodies such as the Interministerial Committee of Digital Transformation and the National Debureaucratisation Council. This should be carried out by the CDTO.

Short term

Strengthening institutional capabilities for the sound implementation of digital government policy in Brazil

Building digital capacities and skills

As in many OECD countries, even though the majority of Brazilian stakeholders from the public and private sectors recognise the urgency to prioritise the development of a strategy to address digital skills gaps and spread digital literacy and culture among public officials, few specific policy initiatives have been put in place.

An inadequate supply of skills remains a critical issue to be addressed in the Brazilian public sector: people are insufficiently skilled in data analysis, and there is a lack of personnel within the individual Brazilian public sector organisations to implement the policies outlined in the Digital Governance Strategy, despite growing efforts to provide capacity-building programmes and training activities at several levels. Digital skills are still generally assumed by most as technical ability, and not as a fundamental asset for most professional profiles, namely those with considerable levels of seniority. Thus, the CIO position in public sector organisations is typically not a top management or strategic position, but rather a middle management post, still in many cases perceived as the one responsible for handling operational and technical issues. Insights gathered within the frame of this review highlight that frequently the position was not covered by officials with the necessary combination of skills (e.g. leadership, technical and management skills).

Streamlining digital technology investments

The digital transformation of the public sector requires strategic planning and investments in digital technologies across sectors and levels of government. This implies being able to reap the full benefit of the digital transformation through the adoption of policy mechanisms that prioritise, structure, co-ordinate and evaluate expenditures on digital technologies across the public sector.

The analysis of the insights, evidence and data gathered for this review point to the following assessment:

  • In Brazil, the Direction Plan for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the digital governance committee that each public entity should have in place can be important mechanisms to streamline digital technology investments. On the other hand, the fact that ICT expenses are labelled in a specific way for budgetary purposes reflects the government’s acknowledgement of the need to better monitor and co-ordinate these public investments.

  • There appears to be a need to better co-ordinate digital technology investments across different sectors and levels of government.

  • A lack of a cost-benefit approach was identified by most Brazilian federal government institutions during the review. Business case methodologies and specific project management models exist and are considered a best practice, but are not regularly and consistently used.

  • The absence of a budget threshold for digital technology expenses was recognised as a limitation for the improved cross-sectoral and multi-level co-ordination of digital technology investments.

From ICT procurement to digital commissioning

The Brazilian ecosystem of stakeholders recognises the existence of room for improvement in ICT public procurement. Public sector representatives, the private sector and civil stakeholders seem to agree on the absence of a strategic policy for digital government procurement. ICT investments are mostly driven by an agency-thinking approach, rather than by a systems-thinking approach, leading to clear inefficiency disadvantages, missed opportunities for synergies and avoidable overlaps.

This review also underlines the need to improve the transparency and accountability of ICT public procurement, to support more optimisation, coherency and synergies of ICT investments. In response to this, an online interactive dashboard on ICT Spending in the Federal Government (Painel Gastos de TI) was launched in September 2017 by the Comptroller General of the Union (Controladoria Geral da União), reflecting the Brazilian government’s commitment to improving the transparency of ICT procurement.

The existence of two public companies – Serpro and Dataprev - developing specific solutions for the public sector has several advantages. The products are designed from the start based on public sector requirements, and additional coherence is expected from the provided solutions. Nevertheless, this has seemingly led to several situations of vendor-locked service provision, as well as non-competitive offers when compared with the prices available in the market.

Proposals for action

In light of the key assessments above, which draw on the main findings and analysis included in Chapter 3 of this review, the Brazilian government could consider implementing the following policy recommendations:

Level of priority

5. Prioritise the inclusion of digital skills development actions in any skills policy or framework for the public sector to better promote user, professional, complementary and leadership digital capabilities of public servants and ensure the attractiveness of ICT careers in the public sector. The following measures could be considered:

  1. Updating the responsibilities of SETIC of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Management with regard to promoting digital skills across the Executive Branch of the federal government, attributing the necessary mandate as well as the human and financial resources to properly lead this policy to the recommended new federal agency or authority responsible to implement the federal digital government policy. in order (see Recommendation 2).

  2. Undertaking a mapping of the existing digital skills, and assessing the short, medium and long-term needs across the Brazilian public sector.

  3. Developing an IT professional framework for the public sector, establishing clear IT professional roles and paths.

  4. Based on the framework suggested above, revising the conditions of the IT careers in the public sector, creating relevant profiles and paths to ensure its attractiveness and adequacy for the newly defined IT professional roles.

  5. Updating the recruitment process of IT professionals for the public sector, making it more agile and capable of selecting the best talent for the required IT professional roles.

  6. f. Reinforcing digital skills training programmes for national public officers, focussing on user, professional and complementary digital competencies.

Medium term

6. Consider establishing policy levers that enable SETIC to co-ordinate the optimisation of public IT expenditures across the public sector and ensure a coherent and sustainable digital government. These mechanisms would thus become strategic policy levers that could improve the governance for digital government for a more efficient and effective digital transformation of the public sector in Brazil. The following levers could be prioritised:

  1. Institutionalising the pre-evaluation phase of digital technology investments through two distinct levels of budget thresholds: a first level directed at projects of medium ICT budget where the pre-evaluation would be considered best practice; a second level focused on strategic ICT projects with higher budgets where the pre-evaluation phase would be mandatory.

  2. Defining a standardised business case methodology, aligned with the suggested budget thresholds, to be used as a mechanism of ex ante cost-benefit analysis by public sector institutions across the government.

  3. Updating the project management methodology to move towards more agile project management approaches, and involving the ecosystem of stakeholders and ensuring its alignment with the suggested budget thresholds and with the main priorities of the Digital Governance Strategy (EGD).

  4. Attributing co-funding responsibilities to SETIC in order to promote strategic and coherent digital government investments across sectors and levels of government.

Medium term

7. Prioritise the update of the Brazilian ICT procurement policy to enable more efficient spending, encourage innovative approaches, contribute to reinforcing overall transparency and anti-corruption efforts and promote a shift towards a digital commissioning approach. The following actions could be considered:

  1. Improving the alignment of digital technology investments with the strategic priorities defined by the Digital Governance Strategy.

  2. Updating the regulation that frames the processes of IT procurement, simplifying it, balancing its focus on efficiency gains with the promotion of public sector agility and innovation. Additionally, promoting the progressive adoption of open contracting standards in the public sector.

  3. Generating savings through demand aggregation procedures and overlapping clearance.

  4. Encouraging the use of digital standards in ICT acquisitions, promoting interoperability in the public sector.

  5. Taking actions to promote the shift towards a digital commissioning approach by increasing and institutionalising the involvement of the suppliers and users in the ICT public procurement lifecycle.

  6. f. Working with Serpro and Dataprev to reach an agreement on an action plan to address the problems identified by the Brazilian Federal Court of Accounts - low levels of efficiency, non-transparent and non-competitive prices, low levels of service satisfaction and lack of economic-financial sustainability (applicable only to Serpro). In the case of non-accomplishment, the Brazilian government should reconsider the favourable competition conditions attributed to both companies on public IT procurement.

  7. Considering the development of a digital marketplace in Brazil, building on the experience of the United Kingdom, allowing simpler, agile and collaborative ways of developing procurement processes.

Medium term

Strengthening the foundations for integrated, citizen-driven, digital service delivery in Brazil

Key enablers for the integrated development of digital government

Brazil has made efforts in recent years to promote the development, use and reuse of digital key enablers across the public sector. However, according to the ecosystem of public stakeholders interviewed during the OECD fact-finding mission in July 2017, as well as the data collected from the Digital Government Survey of Brazil, the efforts appear to be insufficient. The following achievements and opportunities can be highlighted, however:

1. Digital electronic procedures

The Ministry of Planning, Development and Management leads the initiative named Electronic National Procedure (Processo Electrónico Nacional, PEN). The system’s main goal is to provide society with an additional channel for consulting and accessing information on the evolution of electronic procedures in the Brazilian public sector.

2. Interoperability

The ePing architecture – Standards of Interoperability of Electronic Government – reflects a Brazilian interoperability policy for the public sector. ePing defines a set of minimum requirements, policies and technical specifications governing the use of ICT in the public sector, establishing the basis for interoperability across public sector institutions. The Secretariat of Information and Communication Technologies also launched in 2018, in the context of the Efficient Brazil programme – the National Debureaucratization Council, a new interoperability platform called Conecta GOV, which makes available a catalogue of application programming interfaces (APIs) to be used by public sector organisations. Nevertheless, due to the inexistence of the proper policy levers that can make data exchange among public sector entities mandatory, the connection and integration of central databases is still a problem in Brazil. Legal constraints, silo-based mindsets, technical legacies and lack of political support are commonly identified by stakeholders as the main obstacles for an effective interoperability policy in Brazil.

3. Data governance

Mechanisms like the Global Model of Data and Processes Integration (, the National Infrastructure of Open Data ( and the relaunch in 2018 of a platform for data analysis - GovData - reflect the recognition of data as a strategic asset for the digitalisation of the public sector in Brazil. Nevertheless, the absence of data governance from the areas covered by the federal Digital Governance Policy may limit the type of management of government data lifecycles required to support the development of the necessary data architecture as an essential enabler of the establishment of the necessary data infrastructure. Despite the development of legal instruments (such as Decree no. 8,789 of 26 June 2016) aimed to support streamlining of data-sharing practices within the public sector, there is still room for improvement with regard to public sector data governance and a clearer linkage with the several priorities, initiatives and projects listed in the Digital Governance Strategy.

4. Digital basic registers

The Brazilian infrastructure of key basic registers is in development. Several registers are being digitised. For instance, the National System of Civil Registry Information (Sistema Nacional de Informações de Registro Civil, SIRC) was created in 2014, ensuring that all new entries in the register are digital while the remaining records are being digitised progressively. The Brazilian government’s commitment to standardising the information to be presented in registers should be noted, and a cross-cutting initiative is underway to promote the integration of the information systems. However, the insufficient infrastructure connectivity of the registers creates serious obstacles for digital government development. Additionally, the governance model and some institutional legacies in place pose challenges. For instance, Brazil has a mixed public-private system for the management of the civil register. Since the full digitisation of the civil registry could affect the business model that guarantees the private involvement in the process, some change resistance has been found to efforts to reform the current model.

5. Digital identity

In Brazil, diverse public identification documents have been digitalised (e.g. electronic version of the driver’s licence, the electronic payment card of the Bolsa Familia programme and several other labour and health documents). This is evidence of the federal government’s efforts to increasingly use digital technologies to promote efficiency across the public sector and raise the convenience of citizens’ interactions with government institutions. However, the development of a digital identification system, considered one of the central key enablers for digital government development, is delayed due to the complex digital and institutional environments and requirements to implement such a system, and the preponderance of other identity numbers used across the public sector to identify citizens. The mandate to develop a national digital identity framework has been recently attributed to the Supreme Electoral Court, which is also responsible for managing Brazil’s electronic voting system. The National Identification Document (Documento Nacional de Identificação, DNI) is currently being developed, bringing together different registers into one single document. The DNI will be integrated with Brazil Citizen (Brasil Cidadão), a system of single sign-on (or single login) for digital services.

The lack of development of most of the above-mentioned key enablers results in inefficiencies and lost opportunities for collaboration and prevents the development of more integrated service delivery approaches.

Boosting an open and collaborative culture

In Brazil, the potential for digital technologies to spur more open and collaborative processes with civil society was always assumed as one of the main assets of the digital revolution. The digital openness footprint can indeed be found in all structural policy programmes since 2000. Access and reuse of data and information, and citizen engagement through digital technologies, are central priorities of the current Digital Governance Strategy (EGD).

Several recent exemplary projects and initiatives reflect the Brazilian government’s commitment to using digital technologies to boost a culture of openness and engagement. For instance, the Brazilian Internet Bill of Rights (Marco Civil da Internet) institutionalises a large group of rights, duties and principles for the development of the Internet in Brazil (Law no. 12,965 of 23 April 2014). The bill is the result of wide public consultation and collaborative process. Topics such as net neutrality, privacy, personal data management, freedom of expression and knowledge sharing are addressed in the bill.

Brazil has strong experience in the adoption of open standards in the public sector, as well as in the development of open public software with the purpose of being freely reused across different sectors and levels of government. For instance, through the portal, public entities, the private sector and civil society are invited to share and reuse software without any associated cost.

Brazil was also one of the first countries in the world to run elections totally based on an electronic voting system that has been used since 2000 by all voters. A biometric system of identification was added to all electronic ballot boxes - more than 500 000 units - by the Electoral Justice (Justiça Eleitoral).

Brazil has several examples that demonstrate the dynamism of its civil society in using ICT to promote more openness, transparency and citizen engagement regarding government activities. For instance, the platform was developed as a portal for public discussion and consultation on policy issues. The platform has been used by different public sector institutions at the federal level to crowdsource inputs from citizens on initiatives relevant to digitalisation, such as the Internet of Things plan, the Digital Governance Strategy (see Chapter 2) and open data initiatives. Brazil also benefits from the availability of the National Policy on Social Participation and the National System on Social Participation, created and established in 2014.

According to some civil society representatives interviewed during the peer review mission, as well as data collected from the Digital Government Survey of Brazil, the country’s digital society movement resulted from the efforts of former public officials. Efforts in areas such as public software and open government data are clear examples of how policies of openness are at the top of the Brazilian government’s digital transformation agenda. Brazil was one of the co-founders of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), building on the well-grounded openness movement within the government and across civil society.

Although Brazil has several good examples of digital openness and collaboration in the public sector, and the Digital Governance Strategy attributes relevance to the topics, further efforts are required to drive co-creation of public value with civil society and to create a widespread culture of sharing and reuse of government data. As public sector trust is a recognised asset nowadays for better policies, civil society and other key actors like journalists should be considered as partners to promote integrity, fight corruption and spur the reuse of open government data and public sector information for value co-creation.

Greater pressure from civil society and within the administration could trigger the Brazilian government’s responsibility to properly seize the opportunities of the digital transformation for public sector openness and integrity and to prevent and fight corruption.

For instance, the Presidential Decree no. 8,777 of 11 May 2016 established the Brazilian national Open Data Policy. Among other provisions, the decree identified a set of public sector information categories to be prioritised for publication in open and machine-readable formats in an effort to fight corruption in Brazil, including the:

  • names of civil servants in managerial and directive positions in state-owned enterprises and subsidiaries

  • data from the Integrated Financial Management System (Siafi)

  • information on the corporate structure and ownership of companies collected by the National Register of Legal Entities

  • public procurement information collected through the Integrated General Services Administration (Sistema Integrado de Administração de Serviços Gerais, SIASG)

  • cadaster and registration information related to the control of the execution of parliamentary amendments.

The Ministry of Transparency and Office of the Comptroller General (CGU) released data on the assets of state-owned companies’ directors and managers as a result of the provisions stated in the decree. The Ministry of Finance is also expected to release the registry of businesses’ beneficial ownership as open data. By releasing these datasets, the Brazilian government aims to reduce the risk of conflicts of interest with regard to partnerships between private sector organisations and civil servants, but the role and engagement of civil society and the media will be key in the actual co-creation of public value beyond data publication.

Transforming digital service delivery

In Brazil, the amount of services provided by the federal government is not substantial when compared with services provided by the states and the municipalities. The Services Portal (Portal de Serviços) ( is the main online one-stop shop for public service access and delivery at the level of the federal government. Citizens can access structured information about services provided by the government, grouped in large categories like education, health, economy and finance.

Even though several examples of transactional services provided entirely on line can be found (e.g. Criminal Record Certificate) the above-mentioned portal is mostly a single point of access to other federal government portals where the services are actually provided. This reflects a segmented approach to digital service delivery, organised according to the institutional set-up of the government, and not in line with the needs of citizens that should be driving how services are provided (e.g. according to life events approach).

The fragmentation of the digital service delivery context is also rooted in governance issues discussed in this review. On the one hand, the lack of a clear and solid digital government leadership with a mandate to steer digital service policies influences the fact that the delivery of public services mostly follows agency-based approaches, which is typical of an e-government - rather than a digital government - approach. On the other hand, the underdevelopment of digital key enablers contributes to the lack of integration in digital service delivery. Since the norms and/or incentives to better promote integration are not in place, public entities opt for institution-specific solutions and approaches that are easier to implement.

Aware of the need to improve the coherence of digital services provision across the federal administration, the Brazilian government launched the Platform of Digital Citizenship (Plataforma de Cidadania Digital) in December 2016. The cross-cutting initiative is focused on transforming the delivery of public services on line through: the improvement of the Services Portal (Portal de Serviços); the development of a unique digital authentication system; and an increase in the number of fully transactional services. This will better allow the evaluation of citizens’ satisfaction with digital services and improve the global monitoring of digital service delivery.

The prioritisation underway of key actions aimed to provide a sound framework and context for digital service delivery will enable the Brazilian government to shift from being mainly institution-centred in its service delivery practices to becoming more citizen-driven.

Proposals for action

In light of the key assessments above, which draw on the main findings and analysis included in Chapters 4 and 5 of this review, the Brazilian government could consider implementing the following policy recommendations:

Level of priority

8. Continue investing in the development of digital key enablers as one of the most critical requirements on which the government should focus its efforts to achieve the shift from e-government to digital government, namely through:

  1. Reinforcing the connection with the digital government policy levers to be developed in order to promote coherency, efficiency and sustainability of digital government efforts and investments (see Recommendation 6, above).

  2. Investing in the effective use of the digital key enablers by public sector institutions, demonstrating its value and supporting its implementation at the agency level.

  3. Reinforcing the role of the platform Conecta GOV, the federal government’s new interoperability platform, by considering making the use of its APIs mandatory to share and consume information among public sector institutions.

Short term

9. Continue and reinforce public efforts for the development of a digital identity framework, namely by:

  1. Encouraging the adoption of the National Identification Document (Documento Nacional de Identificacão, DNI) by the Brazilian population, promoting broad information campaigns about its utility and liability, and providing incentives.

  2. Prioritising the connection between the new DNI and Brazil Citizen (Brasil Cidadão), the public single authentication mechanism.

  3. Securing equitable and inclusive digital service delivery by making sure that the segments of the population that do not have smartphones will not suffer from exclusion to improved access to public services.

Short term

10. Consider reinvesting in open source software (OSS) as a strategic key enabler, building on Brazil’s experience and legacy and adding value to the digital government policy. The following actions could be considered:

  1. Prioritising involvement and collaboration with the ecosystem of stakeholders, promoting shared policy ownership and responsibility.

  2. Setting concrete and realistic goals and objectives connected to the implementation of OSS.

  3. Introducing an open-source-by-default recommendation on the development of digital services.

  4. Creating a monitoring and knowledge-sharing mechanism, such as an observatory, in order to improve the collaboration, awareness and understanding of OSS at the federal, state and local levels.

Medium term

11. Keep the digital government legal and regulatory framework constantly updated as a key component of the governance framework and an essential mechanism to enable and drive the digital transformation of the public sector. Simultaneously, the government should also promote a cultural change across public sector organisations to attenuate a strong legalistic tendency through the promotion of more innovative, iterative and agile approaches to service design and delivery.

Long term

12. Establish an integrated digital service policy, linked to the Digital Governance Strategy to reinforce the coherence, effectiveness, and commitment of the Brazilian public sector to delivering high-quality services to citizens. The specific policy for service delivery could include actions with regard to:

  1. User engagement and citizen-driven approaches, establishing standards for example on specific actions for higher and proactive engagement of users as core to service design, development and delivery processes.

  2. Increased use and development of a one-stop-shop by default policy (known as a “single point of entry”), prioritising access to services for citizens and businesses through single platforms as a way to favour synergies in the delivery of public services; increase users’ convenience; and promote a unified and equal interface between the government and users.

  3. Life events approach, ensuring that services are always displayed and provided in an integrated way based on citizens’ and businesses’ needs and according to life situations (the so-called “life events approach”, e.g. having a child, losing and finding a job, creating a company). This should be conciliated with other approaches such as presenting services by thematic area, alphabetical other, etc.

  4. Multi-channel imperative, guaranteeing that services are provided through several channels (e.g. online platforms, mobile apps, kiosks, APIs, face-to-face or telephone).

  5. Once-Only Principle, establishing the normative conditions for the principle to be adopted and become a mechanism to increase users’ convenience and to promote the reuse of data and information across sectors and levels of government.

  6. f. Digital service standard to focus on processes integration, exchange and reuse of data across sectors and levels of government.

  7. Establishing a federative cross-level co-ordination policy to expand the offering of digital services to states and municipalities in a consistent manner.

Medium term

13. Continue efforts to advance proactive openness, transparency and the accessibility of digital services in an effort to maintain public trust in the government. Transparency and accountability should, for example, go beyond enhanced traceability of replies to access to information requests, as a broader understanding and approach to transparency and accessibility to government actions can develop a more user-driven and data-driven public sector. To advance and build on existing efforts, the government can consider:

  1. Enforcing and enhancing existing guidelines and standards around accessibility to build a digitally inclusive society. The involvement of public, private and civil society stakeholders in service design can ensure that different needs and perspectives will be reflected in the approach and will create or reinforce the accountability and sense of ownership in the development of a systems-thinking culture.

  2. Institutionalising an agile approach for service delivery that includes collaborative design, testing through user engagement and monitoring for continuous improvement.

  3. Ensuring that solutions are digital by design, which would promote data access, interoperability, exchange, sharing and reuse across and within public sector institutions. Additionally, leveraging digital technologies where possible. For example, incorporating open-by-default approaches to support the publishing of information and open government data (OGD) on the central federal government portal, which will, in turn, raise the level of trust between citizens and the government.

  4. Focusing on better delivering the benefits of digitally transformed services to the least advantaged segments of the population. Given the high penetration of mobile technologies in Brazil, it is suggested that the government prioritise the mobile channel for new digital service delivery. Some concrete actions, to begin with, could include: promoting inclusive mobile services delivery through higher user engagement (different users groups by age, gender, socio-economic status, etc.) in the design phase; increasing the availability of mobile government applications and solutions; establishing a mobile applications service catalogue accessible via mobile technology.

Medium term

14. Consider the development of an action plan on the use of emerging technologies, namely artificial intelligence (AI), to improve inclusive and improved service design and delivery, a complement to the current Digital Governance Strategy. The action plan could foresee:

  1. Co-ordination by the System for the Administration of Information Technologies Resources (Sistema de Administração dos Recursos de Tecnologia da Informação, SISP) and executive leadership by the Secretariat of Information and Communication Technologies (SETIC) of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Management.

  2. Allocation of funding for research and development (R&D) on innovative service delivery solutions for the public sector.

  3. Development of transparency mechanisms and ethical frameworks to enable a responsible and accountable adoption of emerging technologies solutions by public sector organisations.

  4. Establishment of a task force for guiding the government’s decision on the application of AI to specific services and areas, inclusive of representatives from all levels of government and from the ecosystem of stakeholders more broadly (e.g. academia, the private sector, user groups).

Medium term

15. Consider leading and actively supporting the Latin America and Caribbean region efforts on cross-border service delivery, given the political and economic relevance of Brazil in the region, as well as its experience in promoting interoperability across different federation levels.

Long term


← 1. Decree no. 1,048 of 21 January 1994.

← 2. Decree no. 7,579 of 11 October 2011.

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