Implementing accessible and convenient e-services: experience of Latvia discussedDec 9, 2016
Latvia has succeeded in improving the quality of public service delivery through effective and rational introduction of ICT in public administration. Today, 96% of businesses and over 73% of population in Latvia have access to high-speed Internet. More than 60% of population prefers digital form of getting public services and this figure is growing annually. In this regard, learning best Latvian practices in promoting e-services is interesting for Uzbekistan.
Round-table to discuss "Latvian experience in promoting e-Governance"was held on December 9, 2016 in the History of Communications Museum in Tashkent.As follow-up to the study tour of the Uzbek government delegation to Latvia, the meeting aimed at presenting the results of the trip and discussing the prospects of further cooperation between the two countries on e-government and public administration.
The round table was attended by heads and representatives of the Ministry for Development of Information Technologies and Communications (MITC), Ministry of Finance, Tashkent city Administration, Chamber of Commerce, E-Government Development Center, UZINFOCOM Center, UNDP, USAID, and the LatvianEmbassy in Uzbekistan.
The study tour of Uzbek delegation to Latvia was conducted on October 16-21, 2016 by the joint UNDP-MITC project"E-Government Promotion for Improved Public Service Delivery"with the support of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The delegation comprised civil servants representingthe MITC, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Chamber of Commerce, Tashkent city Administrationand UNDP. The main purpose of the visit was to study the Latvian experience in the implementation and development of e-government and improving procedures for public services.
Participants of the round-table were welcomed by the First Deputy Ministerfor Development of Information Technologies and Communications of the Republic of Uzbekistan Sherzod Shermatov and Latvian Ambassador to Uzbekistan Edgars Bondars.
Welcoming speeches were followed by a presentation "E-government in Latvia: architecture and features of development" by Mr. Rustam Zakirov, Chief Specialist at MITC BPR Department. As the speaker noted, the Latvian success in building an information society is based on well-developed ICT infrastructure, which provides high-speed and accessible Internet to citizens and businesses. Mr. Zakirov mentioned the basic principles of e-government development in Latvia: user-focused approach to service delivery, transparency of procedures, open data generation, systematic analysis and improvementof back-office processes, as well as reuse of data.
Next speaker, Mr. Bakhtiyor Rajabov,Task Manager on Business Process Reengineering of theUNDP e-government project,made a presentationon "Latvian experience in providing electronic public services".It focused on the Latvian online services portal, features of online service delivery, and case studies of the most popular G2C and G2B services. The speaker talked about "one-stop shops" centers, user authentication systems, including the increasingly popular virtual signature system, composition of the Latvian population register, and presented preliminary recommendations on implementing the successful e-governance practices of Latvia in Uzbekistan.
The presentations were followed by a Q&A session and additional comments from other delegates of the study trip. Nodir Zaitov, deputy director of the IT center under the Ministry of Finance, has positively evaluated the Latvian practice of “virtual signatures”, which allow usersto get public services and sign e-documents without installing special software or hardware. In addition, he mentioned the “synergy effect” from implementing IT in Ventspils municipality, where ICT infrastructures of themunicipal government agencies are managed online from the Ventspils Digital Center. In Ventspils, the optical fiber is laid at the same time while road constructions are done or water pipes are replaced, which allows the municipalityto save huge amounts of money.
The participants of the round-table expressed interest in a more in-depth analysis of the Latvian best practices in digitalizing public services. Mr. Shermatov, for instance, has proposed piloting the collaboration practice in the city of Tashkent. This requires reviewing functions of public utility companies and other municipal organizations to develop recommendations on enhancing their coordination with the use of IT. The case on providing the Latvian users numerous means of authentication (up to 11) could be used in developing a new version of Uzbekistan’s online services portal (my.gov.uz). The MITC jointly with the UNDP project will prepare practical recommendations for specific ministries and agencies of Uzbekistan on possible implementation of the Latvian experience in the field of e-governance.
In addition, the parties agreed to continue cooperation on strengthening the institutional and human capacities of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the field of e-government in 2017. Planned activities include organizing a study trip of the Uzbek delegation to Latvia on public administration reform and engaging Latvian experts in reengineering public services delivery in Uzbekistan.
The round-tableis expected to develop into a cooperation platform between Latvia and Uzbekistan on electronic governance and public administration reform.