Digital Government Review of Slovenia - Leading the digitalisation of the public sector Key findings - OECD

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Digital Government Review of Slovenia - Leading the digitalisation of the public sector Key findings - OECD
Digital Government
Review of Slovenia
Leading the digitalisation of
the public sector
Key findings
Digital Government Review of Slovenia - Leading the digitalisation of the public sector Key findings - OECD
1. BACKGROUND                                                       1



  SECTOR CULTURE                                                   12

5. SERVICE DESIGN AND DELIVERY                                     15

6. DATA-DRIVEN PUBLIC SECTOR                                       20

REFERENCES                                                         27

Barbara-Chiara Ubaldi –
João Ricardo Vasconcelos –
Benjamin Welby–
Lucia Chauvet –

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are
without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory,
to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to
the name of any territory, city or area.

                                                                        OECD Digital Government
                                                                             and Data Unit
Digital Government Review of Slovenia - Leading the digitalisation of the public sector Key findings - OECD

1. Background
Building on recent progress to digitalise its public sector                    The analysis is framed by the six dimensions identified by
and conscious of the need to emphasise how digital                             OECD for countries to achieve digital government maturity
transformation can strengthen national economic                                (see Figure 1.2). The review evaluates the efforts made
competitiveness and social wellbeing, the Government                           so far by the Slovenian government to progress in the
of Slovenia requested the OECD Directorate for Public                          development of e-government (e.g. to foster administrative
Governance to develop a Digital Government Review.                             simplification, debureaucratisation, simpler access to
                                                                               services) to enact a full shift towards a digital government
The Digital Government Review of Slovenia builds on                            approach, which is considered by the OECD members as a
the experience and knowledge acquired by the Open                              cornerstone of the path towards a digital transformation
and Innovative Government Division of the Directorate                          of the public sector that is capable of responding to the
for Public Governance through similar projects                                 needs of digital economy and society (Figure 1.3).
conducted over the past 20 years in a number of OECD
member and non-member countries. The Review is                                 Leading and framing the digital transformation of the
being conducted using the OECD Recommendation of the                           public sector will enable Slovenia to fully benefit from
Council on Digital Government Strategies (OECD, 2014[1]) as                    digital technologies to foster a citizen and data-driven
a framework of reference, which contains twelve key                            administration that can support the country’s journey
recommendations grouped in three main pillars (see                             towards a developed digital economy and a healthy
Figure 1.1).                                                                   digital society.

                            Figure 1.1. OECD Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies

            OPENNESS                                            GOVERNANCE                                            CAPACITIES TO SUPPORT
         AND ENGAGEMENT                                       AND COORDINATION                                           IMPLEMENTATION

  1. Openness, transparency and                      5. Leadership and political                                9. Development of clear
     inclusiveness                                      commitment                                                 business cases

  2. Engagement and                                  6. Coherent use of digital                                 10. Reinforced institutional
     participation in a multi-actor                     technology across policy areas                              capacities
     context in policy making and
                                                     7. Effective organisational and                            11. Procurement of digital
     service delivery
                                                        governance frameworks to                                    technologies
  3. Creation of a data-driven                          coordinate
                                                                                                                12. Legal and regulatory
                                                     8. Strengthen international                                    framework
  4. Protecting privacy and                             cooperation with other
     ensuring security                                  governments                                                                     9
                                             CREATING VALUE THROUGH THE USE OF ICT

                          Non-OECD members: Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Panama, Peru, Russia

                         Source: Inspired by OECD, (2014[1]), OECD Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies

Digital Government Review of Slovenia - Leading the digitalisation of the public sector Key findings - OECD

                                               Figure 1.2. Digital Government – 6 Dimensions

                       as a platform                                                                                 Digital by design
                                            Figure 2. Digital transformation of the public sector

                Open by default                                                                                                 User driven

                       public sector                                                                                      Proactive

                         Source: Elaboration from OECD, (2014[1]), OECD Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies

                                                                                  This document presents the key findings formulated
                                                                                  by the OECD peer review team, following a fact-finding
                                                                                  mission to Ljubljana during October 2019, and covering
                                                                                  these 4 areas of focus:

                                                                                  l   Governance to lead the digital transformation

                                                                                  l   Digital talent for a transformative public sector culture

                                                                                  l   Service design and delivery

                                                                                  l   Data-driven public sector

                                                                                  The views and findings expressed in this document will
                                                                                  be further discussed and detailed in the final report of the
                                                                                  Digital Government Review of Slovenia, to be presented in
                                                                                  Spring 2021. n

                                             Figure 1.3. From Analogue to Digital Government

             ANALOGUE                                       E-GOVERNMENT                                            DIGITAL
             GOVERNMENT                                                                                             GOVERNMENT

                   Closed operations                              Greater transparency                                     Open and user-driven
             and internal focus,                            and user-centered                                       approaches, process and
             analogue procedures                            approaches, ICT-enabled                                 operational
                                                            procedures                                              transformations.

                         Source: Elaboration from OECD, (2014[1]), OECD Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies

Digital Government Review of Slovenia - Leading the digitalisation of the public sector Key findings - OECD
                                                                                             CONTEXTUAL FACTORS AND INSTITUTIONAL MODELS

2. Contextual factors and institutional models
INTRODUCTION                                                               ecosystem of stakeholders, enabling administrations
                                                                           to assure coherent and sustainable implementation of
In face of rapid and disruptive digital progress                           digital government policies. Building on the knowledge
transforming economies and societies, countries around                     and experience of OECD member and non-member
the world face the challenge of leveraging digital                         countries, the E-Leaders Handbook on Governance
technologies and data across the public sector to spur                     provides a framework to support policy makers and
productivity, design and deliver user and data-driven                      senior officials navigating the different models public
policies and services, and facilitate the day-to-day life                  sectors are adopting worldwide to lead, coordinate
of citizens. The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced this                         and implement their digital government policies (see
trend, highlighting the importance of investment in                        Figure 2.1) (OECD, 2019[2]).
digital transformation to demonstrate the resilience,
responsiveness and agility required of public sector                       The first facet of the E-Leaders Governance Framework –
organisations. Public sectors are expected to adjust                       contextual factors – underlines that contextual analysis
quickly and continuously generate public value, by                         and knowledge of the overall environment are essential
taking inclusive approaches. In order to enhance the                       for finding institutional solutions that are adapted
digital transformation underway, government-wide                           and relevant to the specific social, economic, political
cohesion is essential, driven by sound leadership,                         and cultural scenarios. There is not a one-size-fits-all
strategic coordination and the involvement of the                          approach for governance of digital government.

                                             Figure 2.1. E-Leaders Governance Framework

           1. Contextual factors                                                                         2. Institutional models

                                                                                                           1                 2
            4                   1                             GOVERNANCE                                Macro-         Leading public
      Environmental     Overall political                         FACETS                               structure           sector
      & geographical    & administrative                                                                                organisation
      considerations   culture & structure                  Digital Government

             3                 2
       Technological    Socio-economic                         3. Policy levers                             3                4
          context           factors                                                                   Leadership:       Coordination
                                                                                                      position/role    and compliance

                                                             1                   3
                                                         Strategy            Financial
                                                                            measures and

                                                           2                     4
                                                      Management             Regulations

                                               Source: OECD (2019[2]) E-Leaders Governance Handbook

Digital Government Review of Slovenia - Leading the digitalisation of the public sector Key findings - OECD

                                                                                               OVERALL POLITICAL AND
                                                                                               ADMINISTRATIVE CULTURE
                                                                                               AND STRUCTURE

                                                                                           The administrative and
                                                                                   institutional features of countries vary
                                                                                   substantially and this can represent
                                                                                   different opportunities or challenges for
                                                                                   policy implementation. The geopolitical
                                                                                   situation, the various possible structures
                                                                                   of the executive branch, the division
                                                                              of power between the central and the sub-
    Even though there are common features to the                  national levels of the government as well as the political
    governance models that support and accelerate the digital     stability and continuity are examples of variables
    transformation of public sectors, experiences across          that determine how effective policy approaches need
    different OECD member and non-member countries show           to be designed and implemented. This institutional
    that what works in a specific country context cannot          variety among countries explains why successful
    necessarily be replicated elsewhere. The mapping of           policy approaches in one country cannot necessarily
    contextual factors helps to gain a better understanding       be replicated in different contexts. When considering
    of specific aspects to be considered as potential obstacles   OECD member countries, this institutional diversity is
    or drivers of change and allows governments to establish      naturally very high, determining different grounds, paths
    the governance that better enforces and ensures better        and models for digital government policy development.
    alignment with their digital government strategy.
                                                                  Slovenia is a parliamentary republic benefiting from
    The second facet of the E-Leaders Governance                  a stable geopolitical situation and good cross-border
    Framework – institutional models – focuses on the             relations with its neighbouring countries. The country
    distinct types of institutional set up in place and how       experienced more recently some political turbulence
    their different parameters impact and guide digital           with governments not being able to finish their 4
    government policies, shedding lights on the different         years mandates. In this sense, policy continuity across
    existing bodies, responsibilities and coordination            political cycles is a critical concern in the public
    mechanisms for digital government. Questions of               sector. In the OECD fact finding mission to Ljubljana
    leadership, portfolio and mandate are addressed, as           on October 2019, several interviewed public sector
    well as the capacity to link different policy agendas and     organisations highlighted that new governments
    compliance across the administration.                         tend to discontinue projects and initiatives underway
                                                                  in the administrative, with negative sustainability
    The current chapter presents a first assessment               consequences in mid and long term of policy action.
    and key findings applying the first two facets of the         The territory is administratively divided into more
    E-Leaders Governance Framework – contextual factors           than 200 municipalities. Although the sub-national
    and institutional models – to the Slovenian digital           administration benefits from considerable autonomy,
    government landscape.                                         the central government based in the capital Ljubljana

Digital Government Review of Slovenia - Leading the digitalisation of the public sector Key findings - OECD
                                                                           CONTEXTUAL FACTORS AND INSTITUTIONAL MODELS

is responsible for a wide policy portfolio, qualifying the   the levels of digitalisation within the population and
country as administratively centralised when compared        adoption of digital public services, the coverage and
with the overall OECD countries experience.                  development of IT infrastructures, but also the regional
                                                             variances and the heterogeneity of local economies.
The fact that Slovenia is a member of the European
Union (EU) since 2004 represents a central contextual        When observed from a perspective of social-economic
factor deeply influencing its digital government policy.     indicators, such as the level of household income and
During at least the last two decades, with the strong        wealth for instance, Slovenia performs below the OECD
objective of developing a European digital single market,    average (OECD, 2017[3]; OECD, 2020[4]). Nevertheless,
the EU has applied large efforts for the development of      as the vast majority of OECD member countries and
e-Government/Digital Government policies across its          EU member states, Slovenia has an unquestionable
member states. The European cooperation in this area is      developed country status ranking 24th on the UN
intense involving exchange of knowledge but also joint       Human Development Index (UNDP, 2020[5]). This social-
development of standards, funding of digital government      economic wealth of the country is reflected on the
building blocks (e.g. digital identity, interoperability)    level of digitalisation. Although Slovenia is below the
that can allow public sectors to provide citizens and        OECD average in several digitalisation indicators (e.g
businesses with mature digital services.                     fixed and mobile broadband penetration, senior and
                                                             low income internet users, ICT investment intensity,
Slovenia is deeply involved in the EU cooperation in the     ICT patents), the country presents a typical developed
areas of digital government and information society,         economy digitalisation profile (OECD, 2020[6]).
benefiting from this strong external stimulus created
across these policy work streams. The country’s active       The same assessment can be applied when considering
participation in the European strategies, initiatives        more specifically the level of digital interactions of
and projects positively shapes the national digital          the Slovenian population with public services. In 2019,
government policy and is consensually considered             53% of individuals aged 16-74 years in Slovenia used
an asset by the stakeholders interviewed during the          the internet to interact with public authorities, ranging
OECD fact-finding mission to Ljubljana on October            from simply obtaining information from government
2019. Additionally, the fact that Slovenia is a relatively   websites to interactive procedures where completed
administratively centralised country, considered by its      forms are sent via the Internet. But when considering
ecosystem as being small in population when compared         the percentage of individuals using the Internet to
with European and OECD peers, can provide a policy           send filled forms via public authorities websites, the
asset. Since Slovenia has the capacity to “move fast         Slovenian percentage drops to 21% within a context of
and be agile” on digital government policy design and        38 % EU average (OECD, 2020[6]).
implementation, the country’s government and its
public sector should progressively consider embracing        The socio-economic and digitalisation context of
and implementing a more proactive and positive policy        Slovenia provides substantial room for improvement
approach that understands the country’s dimension as a       on the country’s performance when compared with
comparative advantage.                                       OECD and EU peers. Building on the consensus
                                                             for change that exists among the ecosystem of
SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS AND DIGITALISATION                    stakeholders, a political moment can be created for
CONTEXT                                                      a wide and ambitious digital development agenda
                                                             for the country. In order to enhance the benefits of
As highlighted above, understanding, considering             the digital transformation of the public sector, the
and leveraging the socio-economic, technological and         Slovenian government should build on this social
geographic context of a country is fundamental for           and economic digital eagerness and create a sense of
a sound digital government policy. The governance            urgency leveraging the current digital disruptiveness to
in place needs to take into account fundamental              strengthen the country’s economic development and
contextual factors such as the overall economic climate,     social wellbeing.

Digital Government Review of Slovenia - Leading the digitalisation of the public sector Key findings - OECD

    MACRO-STRUCTURE AND LEADING PUBLIC SECTOR                      led by a Director General is responsible for the wide
    ORGANISATION (INCLUDES LEADERSHIP – POSITION                   executive coordination and implementation of the
    ROLE)                                                          digital transformation of the public sector policy.
                                                                   The Information Society and Informatics Directorate
    The clarity, stability and simplicity of the institutional     leads important digital government initiatives across
    model that supports priorities of digital government           the administration in areas such as digital identity,
    is a foundational element for good policy leadership,          interoperability and digital service delivery (see
    coordination and implementation. Established roles and         Chapters 3 and 4). There is a wide recognition of MPA’s
    duties agreed and recognised across the administration         mandate across the digital government ecosystem of
    are critical for consistent, coherent and sustainable          stakeholders observed during the OECD fact-finding
    digital change. The existence of a public sector               mission in October 2019 and also demonstrated in
    organisation responsible for guiding and coordinating          the OECD Digital Government Survey of Slovenia
    digital government policies is a central element               (OECD, 2020[7]). Nevertheless, as mentioned in the
    of governance analysis. Considering the different              section Overall Political and Administrative Culture
    contextual factors, namely the country’s institutional         and Structure, some lack of policy continuity across
    culture and legacy, this public sector organisation needs      political cycles was identified as a critical concern by
    to be properly located in the government structure,            the interviewed public sector institutions during the
    benefit from a clear political mandate and be equipped         OECD fact finding mission to Ljubljana in October 2019.
    with the human and financial resources that can enable         Several stakeholders highlighted that new governments
    it to be a real driver of change across the different levels   tend to discontinue projects and initiatives underway,
    and sectors of government.                                     with clear negative consequences on the sustainability
                                                                   of policy action and results.
    OECD member and non-member countries experiences
    are very diverse regarding the institutional shape             A broad consensus was found about the need of further
    this leading public sector institution can have. Some          empowering the Ministry of Public Administration
    countries locate this institution in the centre of             to effectively lead the digital government policy
    government (e.g. Chile, France or the United Kingdom),         of Slovenia across different sectors and levels of
    others drive the digital government policy through             government. Additional policy levers seem to be
    a co-ordinating ministry such as finance or public             required to secure effective policy implementation (see
    administration (e.g. Denmark, Italy, Portugal, Sweden)         Chapter 3), as well as political support that is more
    or through a line ministry (e.g. Estonia, Greece,              resilient to government cycles in terms of continuity,
    Luxembourg). The leading public sector institution can         consistency and sustainability. The Government
    also have different institutional shapes such as a public      of Slovenia could consider reinforcing the country
    sector agency approach (e.g. Denmark, Portugal, United         vision and analytical thinking around the digital
    Kingdom), an unit, office or directorate (e.g. Colombia,       transformation of the public sector to support such a
    Korea) or a political level ranking authority such as a        policy. Further clarification and communication of the
    Minister or Secretary of State (e.g. Brazil, Estonia or        role of digitalisation of the public sector for improved
    Greece).                                                       citizen trust, social wellbeing and inclusive economic
                                                                   wealth, and better connecting with different ongoing
    In Slovenia, the Ministry of Public Administration (MPA)       agendas elsewhere in the public sector, can support
    is responsible for the digital government national             the civil service to embrace and enhance the digital
    policy and holds a cross-cutting leadership function           disruptiveness underway.
    in the different levels and sectors of government.
    The Ministry develops his coordination in line with
    the State Governmental Council of Informatics
    Development in Public Administration (see Section
    Coordination and Compliance). Within the Ministry,
    the Information Society and Informatics Directorate

Digital Government Review of Slovenia - Leading the digitalisation of the public sector Key findings - OECD
                                                                              CONTEXTUAL FACTORS AND INSTITUTIONAL MODELS

COORDINATION AND COMPLIANCE                                        the coordination workgroup is responsible for
                                                                   the preparation of proposals and action plans,
A cooperative and collaborative culture across the public          coordination as well as compliance of digital
sector is fundamental to securing appropriate policy               government measures in line ministries and other
coordination mechanisms for coherent policy design,                public sector organisations.
development, delivery and monitoring. Institutional
coordination helps to avoid siloed policy action, prevent      l   Operational working group – led by the director of
policy gaps and mismatches, encourage the interchange              the Information Society and Informatics Directorate,
of opinions, mobility of skills and sharing practices, and         the operational working group is responsible for
enable synergies between public sector stakeholders.               the implementation of activities, preparation and
Sound institutional coordination also supports a shift             implementation of operational documents and work
from agency-thinking and government-centred methods                reports based on action plans. Provides its consent
to system-thinking approaches in policymaking and                  to line ministries and government services to all
implementation capable of being synchronised with                  projects or activities that result in the acquisition,
the expectations and needs of citizens and businesses              maintenance, or development of IT equipment and
(OECD, 2019[2]).                                                   solutions.

In line with the OECD Recommendation of the Council            The formal coordination and compliance structure for
on Digital Government Strategies (OECD, 2014[1]) and the       the digital government policy of Slovenia has a design
diverse experiences and practices of OECD member               that positively allows different levels of coordination
and several non-member countries, successful                   and the distribution of responsibilities seems to be
coordination approaches typically rely on two stages of        clear and generally well defined. Nevertheless, despite
cooperation: a high-level cooperation and management,          offering effective horizontal cooperation, recent years
putting together ministers or secretaries of State, and        have identified critical weaknesses. The lack or even
ensuring extensive collaboration and supervision of            inexistence of Strategic Council meetings of the since
the digital government strategy. Alongside this high-          April 2018 until the writing of this paper compromises
level cooperation, an organisational and technical             the necessary coordination that can secure the
cooperation system is also needed to address execution         coherence and sustainability of the digital government
difficulties and bottlenecks (OECD, 2016[8]).                  policy. In fact, the majority of Slovenian public
                                                               sector organisations that answered the OECD Digital
In Slovenia, the Governmental Council of Informatics           Government Survey confirmed that there is no regular
Development in Public Administration, led by the               coordination with MPA on digital government policies
Ministry of Public Administration (MPA), is responsible        and initiatives.
for the strategic leadership of the digital government
policy (OECD, 2019[9]). The Council has a threefold            In this sense, improving the coordination of this
structure:                                                     policy area could be considered a priority in Slovenia
                                                               in order to contribute to centralised assurance of
l   Strategic Council – led by the Minister of Public          digital solutions, processes and services. Given the
    Administration, the council is responsible for             consensus found across the ecosystem of stakeholders
    coordination and control of deployment of digital          on the importance of further developing the digital
    technologies in the public sector, review and approval     transformation of the public sector, there is an
    of the strategic orientations, confirmation of action      opportunity for the Slovenian government to explore
    plans and other operational documents and validation       greater permanence and continuity for fundamental
    of projects of line ministries above a certain threshold   mechanisms of coordination such as the meetings of
    (see Section Financial Measures and Mechanisms)            the Council. This can be supported by increasingly
                                                               mobilising champions across the public, business and
l   Coordination working group – led by the State              civic sectors where there was great willingness to be
    Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration,        involved further. n

Digital Government Review of Slovenia - Leading the digitalisation of the public sector Key findings - OECD

    3. Policy levers to lead the digital transformation
    INTRODUCTION                                                    place for the digitalisation of the public sector, mobilising
                                                                    the different sectors and levels of government around
    Having the proper political support, an empowered               a common policy purpose. The document should make
    leading public sector organisation and the right                the necessary bridges with other public governance
    institutional coordination mechanisms for policy                agendas (e.g. innovation, open government, administrative
    development are critical dimensions for strong                  modernisation, integrity), or broader policy priorities
    and resilient governance of digital government, as              in place (e.g. sustainable development, science and
    highlighted in Chapter 3. But effective and efficient           technology, education, wellbeing, environment) in order
    policy implementation requires also having different            to foster policy coherence and a systems thinking vision,
    policy tools in place that can guide, align and enforce         culture and practice across the public sector. The design
    coherent and sustainable efforts across the public              and delivery of the strategy are fundamental opportunities
    sector.                                                         to concretely implement principles of openness and public
                                                                    engagement. These processes can enable collaboration with
    Based on the experience of the OECD Working Party               the broader ecosystem of digital government stakeholders
    of Senior Digital Government Officials (E-Leaders)              such as the private sector, academia or civil society,
    contained in the E-Leaders Governance Handbook                  securing the alignment with its needs and expectations, but
    (OECD, 2019[2]), policy levers – soft or hard – are tools       also act as an inclusive mechanism of shared ownership
    that can be used by governments as means of action              and joint responsibility for the policy agenda.
    to achieve system-wide change. Effective and concrete
    instruments that governments can develop for cohesive           Practically all OECD members countries have a
    and durable policy implementation, rationalising efforts        digital government strategy in place setting the policy
    and enabling synergies within the administration and            objectives for the digital transformation of the public
    with the broader ecosystem of digital government                sector (OECD, 2019[10]). Although the denomination can
    stakeholders. Policy levers are also fundamental                vary (e.g. strategy, agenda or action plan), and it can be
    for promoting the use of key enablers across the                presented as a stand-alone document or part of broader
    administration and securing the proper monitoring and           public sector strategies (e.g. public administration,
    impact assessment of policy efforts underway, boosting          digital economy, information society), the critical point
    public sector digital maturity (OECD, 2019[2]).                 for governance analysis is the existence of such policy
                                                                    documents. More than ambitious statements, these
    The current chapter presents a first assessment after           documents set the vision and frame the national/federal
    the fact finding mission to Slovenia in October 2019,           policy around digital government over a given period.
    applying the third facet of the E-Leaders Governance
    Framework – policy levers – that foresees four                  In Slovenia, the digital government policy is covered
    dimensions: 1) strategy, 2) management tools, 3)                in the Public Administration 2020 – Public Administration
    financial measures and mechanisms and 4) Legal and              Development Strategy 2020 and by the Digital Slovenia 2020
    regulatory frameworks.                                          – Development Strategy for the Information Society until 2020.
                                                                    With a 2015-2020 timeframe, the Public Administration
    STRATEGY                                                        2020 strategy prioritises critical elements of digital
                                                                    government development such as integrated digital
    The complex and diverse machine of government requires          services for citizens and businesses, IT management,
    a digital government strategy that sets the vision, aligns      development of common building blocks, digital skills
    objectives, defines priorities and structures the right lines   and fostering the use of technologies such as cloud
    of action to be adopted across the administration. The          computing and data analytics across the public sector
    strategy should be able to reflect the political agenda in      (Ministry of Public Administration, 2015[11]). Besides

                                                                         POLICY LEVERS TO LEAD THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

digital society and digital economy oriented policy          sense, there seems to exist space to better connect the
streams, the Digital Slovenia 2020 strategy establishes      strategies in place with the concrete priorities, needs
relevant objectives for the public sector in areas such as   and worries of Slovenian public sector institutions.
interoperability standards, open government data, digital    Considering that both strategies are now reaching their
rights, digital identity management and ePayments for        temporal term, an opportunity is emerging to involve the
digital public services (Republic of Slovenia, 2016[12]).    ecosystem of stakeholders on potential new strategies
                                                             to be developed in this area, with the goal to secure their
The two strategies present a reasonable                      full relevance in relation to specific institutional needs or
complementarity, defining action-oriented priorities         priorities of policy areas. This is essential if Slovenia aims
and also the financial resources foreseen for their          to ensure that digital government enhances the digital
implementation. The ecosystem of stakeholders                transformation of the public sector.
interviewed during the OECD fact-finding mission to
Slovenia in October 2019 and that responded to the           MANAGEMENT TOOLS
OECD digital government survey showed great awareness
of the strategies in place. The ecosystem also confirmed     Coherent investment in digital technologies and use
that the strategies were elaborated in collaboration with    of management models across the public sector are
other public sector institutions. Nevertheless, when         critical to optimise efficiency and avoid duplication of
questioned about the relevance of the strategies for their   efforts and expenditures. These policy levers promote
public sector organisation (e.g. mandates, alignment         streamlined policy implementation aligned with
with institution’s goals, etc.), the vast majority of the    the digital government strategy in place and enable
respondents to the OECD Digital Government survey            improved sustainability for the initiatives and projects
consider it “moderate” or “weak” (OECD, 2020[7]). In this    underway. Standardised business cases, for instance,


     encourage value creation as they help to frame the           and coherent procurement of digital technologies in
     advantages of policy action and improve monitoring           the Slovenian public sector is a challenge promptly
     capacities across the administration. Standardised           recognised by the Ministry of Public Administration
     and agile project management helps to build common           and the broader ecosystem of digital government
     organisational and administration grounds for                stakeholders.
     the different digital government initiatives being
     implemented and consistent adjustment capacity to            In order to improve standards and assurance for
     face rapidly changing contexts. Specific procurement         coherent digital government there is an opportunity
     policies and frameworks for digital technologies allow       for Slovenia to consider reinforcing and, if necessary,
     important savings and efficiency gains, help make            creating the necessary conditions for applying these
     purchasing consistent with overarching strategic             three policy levers – business cases, agile project
     objectives, generate transparency, and promote the           management and strategic procurement of digital
     involvement of providers through commissioning               technologies – to strengthen the coordination capacities
     approaches (GDS & OECD, 2019[13]; OECD, 2019[2]).            of the Ministry of Public Administration and enable a
                                                                  more cohesive digital transformation of its public sector.
     The OECD Recommendation of the Council on Digital
     Government Strategies (OECD, 2014[1]) has specific key       FINANCIAL MEASURES AND MECHANISMS
     recommendations that underline the value of business
     cases and agile project management methodologies, as         Institutional frameworks for the allocation of financial
     well as the strategic procurement of digital technologies.   resources that can promote and secure policy
     Although with different approaches in terms of               implementation are also important policy levers that
     standardisation and enforcement, the use of these            governments can use to support digital government
     three policy levers is relatively common in the digital      development. For instance, the capacity of the public
     government policy context of OECD countries (OECD,           sector institution that leads the digital government
     2019[10]).                                                   policy of the country to influence the national budget
                                                                  is an extremely valuable asset to guarantee the
     In Slovenia, the further development of these policy         prioritisation and coherent implementation of public
     levers and their positive impact for a coherent and          sector digitalisation. Moreover, the existence of a budget
     sustainable digital government in the country is             threshold determining that, above a certain financial
     commonly recognised and supported by the ecosystem           value, digital government expenses need to be centrally
     of digital government stakeholders. The Methodology          pre-evaluated is also a clear instrument for securing
     of project management in the state administration – IT       efficient and stratregic use of existing resources and
     projects and the IT investments approval process by          coherently bringing public sector policy actions into
     the Council of Informatics Development in Public             line with overarching priorities. Funding or co-funding
     Administration demonstrate the efforts underway for          mechanisms to support digital government initiatives and
     coherent management of digital technologies initiatives      projects in different sectors and levels of government can
     and projects. Nevertheless, the existence and current        also support coherent and efficient policy implementation
     applicability of these tools is not clear to the majority    simultaneously assuring the dissemination of standards
     of public sector organisations that answered the             and key enablers that act as building blocks for a cohesive
     Digital Government Survey of Slovenia, namely when           digitalisation of the public sector.
     referring to standardised business cases and project
     management models (OECD, 2020[7]). Regarding the             The experience of OECD countries varies considerably
     procurement of digital technologies, the centralised         regarding the existence of the mentioned financial
     formal process for the approval of investments by the        measures and mechanisms. Nevertheless, there is a
     mentioned Council supports efficiency and coherence          common acknowledgement across the members of the
     across the administration. But considering the identified    Working Party of Senior Digital Government Officials
     lack of Council meetings since April 2018 (see Section       (E-Leaders) that these kind of hard policy levers can
     Coordination and Compliance), guaranteeing strategic         play a decisive role in the strategic promotion, effective

                                                                       POLICY LEVERS TO LEAD THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

enforcement and cross-cutting monitoring of policy         recognition of digital artefacts such as documents
implementation.                                            or signatures, the reinforcement of personal data
                                                           protection and cybersecurity legal frameworks or the
Although there is a general recognition of the relevance   increasing regulation on data governance (OECD, 2016[8]).
for this kind of approach to support the implementation    Depending on the institutional culture of their public
of the digital government strategy, the effective use      sector, some countries have more legalistic cultures and
of budgetary or funding policy levers in Slovenia is       others follow more consensus-based approaches.
currently limited. The most relevant example refers
to the existing threshold of 20 000 EUR (without tax)      Slovenia developed broad efforts during the last
for digital government investments. The Strategic          decades to progressively adapt its legal and regulatory
Board of the Council of Informatics Development in         framework to the digital transformation underway.
Public Administration is responsible for evaluating        Benefiting from the European Union regulation
ICT expenses above the mentioned value, promoting          stimulus, important steps were taken for instance in
in this sense integrated and cohesive policy efforts for   the areas of digital signatures, access to public sector
the digital transformation of the public sector. But as    information, privacy and data protection, digital
mentioned above (section Coordination and Compliance),     security or sharing of government data within and
the absence of Strategic Council meetings since April      across the public sector. Nevertheless, weaknesses in
2018 until the writing of this paper compromises the       legal and regulatory approaches are commonly pointed
current effectiveness of this policy lever in Slovenia.    out as obstacles for government digital maturity.
                                                           Public stakeholders that answered the OECD Digital
Further developing financial measures and mechanisms       Government Survey of Slovenia identified the need to
in Slovenia should be increasingly considered as an        simplify the legislation, update areas such as digital
adequate response to the need of further empowerment       identity or trust services and improve communication
and coordinating capacities of the Ministry of Public      to reinforce its cohesive application (OECD, 2019[9]).
Administration for strengthening its leadership of the
digital government policy.                                 Beyond continuing efforts to keep the relevant legal
                                                           and regulatory framework properly updated, Slovenia
LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS (INCLUDES                  should further explore the development of an agile and
DIGITAL RIGHTS)                                            experimentation-driven culture properly linked and
                                                           driven by the digital government strategy to address
The fast pace of digital change nowadays requires          change in the public sector that can counterbalance
permanent efforts by governments to keep their legal       the established legalistic approaches. This requires
and regulatory frameworks updated. Since policy            persistent efforts to gradually change the mindset of
actions need to be strongly backed by clear laws           public officials towards innovation-oriented and life-
and regulations that can guarantee principles such         long learning approaches that can test and rapidly
as openness, accountability, proportionality and           adjust to the current face pace of change. On the other
impartiality, together with an unquestionable respect      hand, updating the legal and regulatory framework
of citizens and businesses rights, governments’ agility    using a digital rights angle can also guarantee better
and responsiveness to institutionally navigate the rapid   alignment with citizens and businesses needs and
changes underway are some of the critical challenges of    expectations. Considering the progressive penetration
the digital age. Legal and regulatory frameworks should    of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence
enable digital opportunities to be seized and risks        in public sector processes and services, and the
tackled, avoiding creating bureaucratic friction to the    adoption of data-driven approaches, issues of digital
transformation of economies and societies, minimising      consent, ethical use of data or algorithm transparency
risks and maximising benefits.                             increasingly require governments to consider this third
                                                           generation of digital rights as a requisite for a digitally-
OECD countries have progressed a lot in the last decades   enabled state (OECD, 2019[14]; Ubaldi et al., 2019[15];
through the establishment of digital rights, the formal    OECD, 2019[16]). n


     4. Digital talent for a transformative public
     sector culture
     INTRODUCTION                                                need for building on existing capabilities and targeting
                                                                 shortages becomes a priority in order to maintain high
     In the era of digital transformation, where social          quality public services and trust from citizens.
     changes lead to modifications of workplace, work
     content and the technology used, governments are            The digitalisation of our economy and society, such
     facing a pressing need to prepare civil servants with the   as tax collection, public sector communication and
     proper digital skills to support, navigate and implement    management of citizen services and planning, have
     such transformation as well as to achieve high digital      created demand for a host of different digital skills
     maturity to attract and retain talents in the public        and competencies necessary to run a successful digital
     sector. Across OECD member countries and non-member         government. This means that it is necessary to equip
     countries, there are many reasons that explain the          the public workforce with skills and competencies that
     absence of a much-needed strategy for digital skills that   empower them to quickly adjust and be efficient in
     responds to new demands such as limited awareness           their environment. Identifying, and ensuring, the right
     of its importance about the leadership, on budget           digital skills and competencies are critical for developing
     restrictions. However, there is a growing emerging          services that can adapt and respond to citizens’ needs.

                                                               DIGITAL TALENT FOR A TRANSFORMATIVE PUBLIC SECTOR CULTURE

Technical skills not only are skills needed to build        government constrains institutions to hire a limited
digital services and use platforms, but are also            number of talents every year, which is a structural
associated with ‘new’ digital professions that support      challenge for the country. In addition to this, neither job
the fundamental changes needed in the public                mobility seem to be considerably encouraged, nor job
sector to sustain the digital transformation (      profiles are well defined, thus civil servants’ incentive
scientist, user researcher, service designer, product       to reskill or upskill their digital skills is critical and this
manager) and reimagined ones (business analyst,             does not make public service roles attractive to top
delivery manager). Due to the crosscutting nature           talents.
of skills, digital skills apply at every level within
the public sector, from experts to leadership roles,        There is therefore not only a lack of skills but also a gap
especially softer aspects of digital capacity, such as      in strategic human resource management. To address
flexible managerial skills, adaptability skills and meta-   these issues, many OECD countries have prioritised,
learning skills.                                            among others, a focus on strengthening collaboration
                                                            across sectors and levels of government in a digital
The OECD peer review team observed during the               environment, equipping civil servants with digital skills
OECD fact-finding mission, a lack of collaboration          and competencies to work in multi-disciplinary teams,
between different sectors of the government to create       in an agile environment, and attracting and maintaining
synergy. Some lack of political continuity between          digital talents. The Slovenian government may consider
recent governments may have affected the stability of       developing a similar action plan for a success digital
leadership, and may also have weakened collaboration        transformation.
ties within the government (See Section Coordination
and Compliance). The project of centralisation              PUBLIC SERVICE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT
through GOV.SI (see Chapter 5) shows a willingness
to unify, collaborate and communicate across sectors        As addressed in Chapters 1 and 2, a clear digital
with its success benefiting from having clarity of          government vision and strategy of a country is
vision and commitment of leadership. A strong               crucial for the development of workforce’s synergy,
leadership would then facilitate the development of         skillsets and career paths, and most importantly for
a digital culture, leading to a solid digital workforce     an efficient digital transformation of its public sector.
equipped with reliable digital skills.                      This is why establishing an environment that welcomes
                                                            collaboration and enables the development and
Many stakeholders revealed that they were often             practice of digital skills is necessary to strengthen the
under resourced due to a lack of IT skills and              government’s ability to respond to citizens’ increasing
operating in environments with low digital maturity,        and evolving expectations towards public services.
which constrained the agility of their teams.
Although courses and workshops are offered at the           In Slovenia, considerable political changes happened in
Administration Academy, the identification of skills        the past decade, which has possibly affected the setup
needed for each role seems vague and the motivation         of a digital culture to steer and coordinate across the
from civil servants to learn new skills varies between      structure. In line with the OECD Recommendation of the
institutions. As a result, teams are overloaded with        Council on Digital Government Strategies (OECD, 2014[1]), the
administrative and management tasks, such as those          experience of several OECD member and non-member
associated with procurement.                                countries also shows that a clear vision articulated by
                                                            strong leadership is highly important in promoting a
Many institutions are concerned with their limited          change of environment and establishing a work culture
financial resources, which may result in losing their       focused on digital practices.
talented staff to the private sector and being unable to
compete in replacing them. Not only is the salary of a      During the OECD mission to Slovenia, the team noticed
civil servant not as attractive as in the private sector,   some important efforts are being made to centralise
but also the recruitment system of the Slovenian            information under GOV.SI and services under eUprava,


     (discussed further in Chapter 5). Although this initiative   on Digital Government Strategies (OECD, 2014[1]), many
     is a great opportunity for collaborating and deepening       OECD member and non-member countries demonstrate
     synergy between institutions, a lack of engagement as        a willingness to achieve further digital maturity also
     often observed resulting in the perspective of such an       by prioritising institutional capacities into building a
     initiative as a top-down decision instead of an invitation   digitally skilled workforce. In 2019, the Government at
     to a joint one. A strong leadership with a clear and         a Glance publication found that around 61% of OECD
     forward-looking vision could then help to establish goals    countries (22 out of 36) have civil-service-wide training
     and behaviours that strengthen collaboration across          strategies or action plans, which is an increase from
     sectors within the workplace.                                slightly less than half in 2016 (OECD, 2019[17]).
                                                                  In Slovenia, the Ministry of Public Administration
     Given the progressive use of digital technology across       through the Administration Academy took the initiative
     government institutions, there is also a need to consider    of addressing the digital skills and competencies gap by
     embracing a more receptive workplace to digital settings     providing training to public servants. The Administration
     and lifelong learning. This comes with an environment        Academy outsources trainers and offers rudimentary
     fostering digital experimentation, application of new        training skills such as word processing, internet
     digital skills, change of mindset by putting the human       navigation, email communication and spreadsheet
     in the centre of the strategy, focusing on the evolving      programmes in order to provide the workforce with basic
     needs and reiteration of job profiles and descriptions.      skills. The Academy also collaborates with universities
     This more strategic role of leaders could enable the         experts to develop new training programs with different
     development and growth of a more digital workforce to        modules targeted at different groups of public servants
     adapt to an increasingly digital society.                    for the development of digital skills including Data
                                                                  Science for beginner, Business Intelligence, machine
     PUBLIC SERVICE DIGITAL TALENTS                               learning as well as Open Data management. However,
                                                                  the Academy does not seem to have in-house trainers to
     In light of the change in the nature of work of the public   promote courses within their workforce, as they reported
     sector, it became essential to identify, train and equip     enrolment being very low.
     civil servants with digital skills that would enable them
     to complete their job best and deliver high quality public   During the fact-finding mission, the OECD peer review
     services. Following OECD Recommendation of the Council       team noted that although many stakeholders recognised

                                                                   DIGITAL TALENT FOR A TRANSFORMATIVE PUBLIC SECTOR CULTURE

the lack of IT skills and more generally the lack of digital    are not used well, public services being developed can be
skills within the public sector, little showed interest in      put at risk (OECD, 2019[17]).
joining and applying for training and courses. The team
later circulated a survey and results revealed that only        Most OECD countries revealed a preference for
25% of respondents expressed concerns about their               employing public servants in the central government
digital skills and were highly motivated to participate in      administrations in 2019 (OECD, 2019[17]). The
trainings (OECD, 2020[7]). Some other participants consider     policymakers acknowledged that main challenges
digital skills as “good to have” but do not see them as         are to continuously assess skills and competencies
“required”, as they believe they can “learn by doing”, and      needed in the public sector (OECD, 2017[18]) in order to
that only “big projects” require these skills. Consequently,    prioritise hiring and maintaining talents in house over
the low motivation led to more demand for external              outsourcing, particularly in areas with skills shortage.
provision of services, which not only creates a lack of
internal skills but also results in teams to be overloaded      During the OECD fact finding mission to Slovenia in
by more administrative and managerial tasks than                October 2019, many public sector institutions shared
technical ones. This practice puts at risk the capacity to      their concern about having a limited fund and limited
control and understand what is being developed, and to          the number of staff they can hire every year. As a result,
cooperate with other teams as the lack of internal skills       teams are not able to replace talents and are under-
restricts the flexibility to operate in an agile way.           resourced, therefore can only rely on external talents.
                                                                Although outsourcing is financially more costly than
After setting up a favourable work environment with             hiring a new talent, due to the structuring policy, this
a clear vision for digital transformation, the Slovenian        seems to be the only alternative to innovate. On top
government could now prioritise investing in training,          of that, the organisational structure does not seem to
people and infrastructures across all level of the              allow mobility of the workforce between sectors, which
institutions to enable services to be developed in-house,       may also explain the fear in public sector organisations
increase ownership of products and services as well             of losing talents to more flexible and attractive career
as multidisciplinary collaborations across sectors and          paths, more generous salary packages and benefits in
institutions. This includes building trainings internally       the private sector. The public sector talent management
to focus on the area of user centricity and emphasise on        system of the Government of Slovenia does not seem to
soft skills, digital delivery skills, design thinking and end   offer much mobility and thus decreases the incentive to
user experience, which are specific to the public sector        professional growth.
needs. A digitally matured work place will thus condition
the creation of a digitally skilled workforce.                  However, some measures could be taken in order to
                                                                identify, attract and retain the top talents. Given the
PUBLIC SERVICE RECRUITMENT OF TALENTS                           job market options, it is necessary for governments
                                                                to position themselves as attractive employers, giving
In order to align with the vision of a country,                 candidates the chance to develop their career while
governments can decide to hire people through different         serving society. They may consider developing accurate
types of employment contracts (OECD, 2019[17]). The             job profiles and descriptions, as this gives employers
most common distinction is the permanent public                 the chance to paint a clearer picture of the roles
servant status and the contractor status, where pay, job        available. The Government of Slovenia may also consider
security, performance evaluation and access to training         adjusting its recruitment efforts and use creative
differ. These employment modalities very often affect           ways to reflect the organisational culture and values,
the efficiency in attracting and sustaining talents as          such a gamification of skills assessments. In today’s
well as motivating them to give their best to create high       environment, digital maturity and agility of a work place
quality public services. With a clear and well-balanced         are important selection criteria for strong candidates,
structure, this can give governments the flexibility to         thus re-thinking their reward system, salary package,
develop and manage their workforce with the proper              career paths and mentorship plan could equally
range of skills. However, if the employment modalities          contribute to making the work place more attractive. n


     5. Service design and delivery
     The transformation of our daily lives is increasing                               and organisational politics, the history of channel
     expectations about the quality of the experiences we                              strategies, technology and infrastructure and finally,
     have with private suppliers, and in turn, with government.                        societal and geographic factors. Second, the service
     OECD countries are increasingly acknowledging the                                 design and delivery philosophy in terms of leadership,
     importance of design in the quality of the services                               whether political, organisational and external, as well
     government delivers and Slovenia is no different in                               as the behaviours associated with understanding whole
     wanting to achieve a public sector that maximises the                             problems, designing an end to end service experience,
     opportunities of the digital age to reduce the burden                             involving the public, working across organisational
     and cost of interactions between citizen and state while                          boundaries and working in an agile way. Finally, the
     increasing satisfaction, effectiveness and trust.                                 availability of a wide range of different enabling
                                                                                       resources and technology play a significant role in
     The OECD’s conceptual framework for analysing the                                 determining the quality of experience and outcomes
     design and delivery of public services (Figure 5.1)                               for citizens, businesses and visitors as well as the speed
     identifies three areas that inform and shape their                                with which government is able to transform its service
     quality. First, the context in terms of representative                            landscape.

                        Figure 5.1. A conceptual framework for analysing the design and delivery of services

                      2.1 Political, organisational and external             2.4 Involving the public
                          leadership and vision                              2.5 Combining policy, delivery and operations
                      2.2 Understanding whole problems                           to work across organisational boundaries
                      2.3 Design of the end to end service                   2.6 Taking an agile approach

                                        1                                                      3
                                   Context for                                             Enablers to
                                   design and                                            support design
                                    delivery                                              and delivery

                                                              of design and                                                 Services

          1.1 Representative and
              organisational politics
          1.2 Historic channel strategies
          1.3 Legacy of technology and
              infrastructure                          3.1 Best practice and guidelines                 3.4   Channel strategy
          1.4 Society and geography                   3.2 Governance, spending                         3.5   Common components and tools
                                                          and assurance                                3.6   Data-driven public sector
                                                      3.3 Digital inclusion                            3.7   Public sector talent and capabilities

                                   Source: OECD, (2020[19]), Digital Government in Chile – Improving public service design and delivery

                                                                                             SERVICE DESIGN AND DELIVERY

                                                             From the citizen side, questions of digital inclusion and
Chapter 2 has discussed the contextual factors shaping       particularly access and literacy should also be recognised
digital government in a country. In the context of           in terms of how services are designed and delivered.
designing and delivering public services, these remain       Web, telephone and face to face locations need to be
relevant. Although a governmental focus on the quality       understood together in order to ensure that services are
of service design and delivery is arguably politically       developed in such a way that users can access a given
neutral, its success is as reliant on political stability    service at any point in the process of meeting their need,
and commitment as any other agenda. Financial                according to their most convenient channel.
priorities in a country may create a sudden impetus
to move interactions online with the explicit aim of         As a result, OECD countries are increasingly exploring
reducing face-to-face provision without considering          unifying strategies for the design and delivery of services
the opportunity to transform the design and delivery         and rationalising their public sector web estates.
culture. Indeed, this in itself will reflect the extent to   Slovenia is no different in having begun to consolidate
which a country might mandate a particular approach          all corporate government information on GOV.SI
from the centre versus local or regional autonomy.           (, which has cut down the number
                                                             of administrative websites from 350 to 30 (European
Further influences will come from the legacy of              Commission, 2019[20]). This site is then complemented by
how services were established with their associated          eUprava ( as an intended single
processes, data flows and channels not always being the      entry point for accessing services and transactions.
product of strategic planning while different priorities     However, although eUprava is the most significant
may have resulted in the development of different            channel for providing access to services, its relationship
channels without coordination, or in competition,            with GOV.SI is not always clear while the situation
between organisations meaning users have to visit            regarding service delivery is complicated by a legacy of
multiple locations to address a particular need. Legacies    institutional or sectoral websites and the provision made
of politics, physical infrastructure, data, technology,      available face to face through physical locations. The
channels, brands or supplier contracts all influence the     eUprava website and GOV.SI websites are just two parts
speed and capability of a public sector in pursuing its      of landscape for accessing services and information
ambitions for transforming public services.                  ranging from companies (, taxes

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