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Digitalisation

Mechanism Driving Digital Transformation

The EDGE project represents a catalyst for the digital transformation of Serbia’s public administration and has enabled numerous domestic companies to engage in this process and to participate – together with the World Bank and the Office for IT and eGovernment – in building Serbia’s digital society

With World Bank support, the “Enabling Digital Governance” (EDGE) project was launched in 2019 with the task of fully digitalising the public administration and offering more efficient services to citizens and businesses through the construction of a more transparent and modern system adapted to the requirements of the digital age.

The EDGE project aims to improve access to, and the quality and efficiency of, selected public services. The project encompasses all steps in the digitalisation process, through three key components: laying the foundations for the delivery of digital services; tailoring digital services to citizens; developing digital skills.

LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS FOR THE DELIVERY OF DIGITAL SERVICES

The basis for the successful digitalisation of public administration services is represented by developed and adaptable digital infrastructure. That’s why a platform for interoperability is being developed and financed in the scope of the project, as an integrated tool for securely exchanging data between state bodies. With the development of this platform, state bodies will be able to exchange required data and electronic documentation when providing services to citizens and businesses.

EDGE has a key role to play in consolidating key public registries and creating a unique meta-registry that improves efficiency and simplifies access to data. This process not only lessens the burden placed on the administration, but rather also enables the harmonisation of data from various registers. Through the consolidation of key registries, such as registers that are under the jurisdiction of various institutions and ministries, including taxes, customs, the population register, cadastral register and the like, an all-encompassing platform will be created that eases access to information in an integrated way. This process is expected to result in a Meta- Registry harmonised with the central IoP, thereby achieving the synchronisation of key registries in accordance with the highest standards. The establishing of this meta-registry will achieve better coordination and data sharing between different sectors and state bodies.

One of the key roles in the digitalisation process is also played by data management and data protection, which is why the project also encompasses support for the work of the State Data Centre in Kragujevac, which includes the procurement of hardware and software and connectivity systems. This serves to improve the general state of readiness of the Republic of Serbia to respond at the national level to risks in the digital environment.

Securing the privacy of data in the digital environment is an aspect that implies the responsible and ethical handling of personal information. It is essential in this process for state bodies to protect the rights of individuals and enable the realising of the benefits of this technology without compromising on data privacy. With this need in mind, the project also envisages the financing of activities related to the drafting of by-laws on eGovernment and regulations governing cybersecurity.

We will see the digitalisation of more than 30 new services for citizens in the period ahead

This project has already provided for the setting up of a new network of state bodies, which ensures the high availability of data and the optimal utilisation of network resources; a network operations centre (NOC) that provides the possibility to orchestrate network resources; a security operations centre (SOC), with functions that manage high-risk online transactions; and a computer emergency response team (CERT) with procedures and tools for handling online emergencies. In a very short period, through these activities, conditions have been secured to provide for the sustainability of network functions that are essential to the daily work of state bodies. The project’s support to advance critical infrastructure is continuing through the establishment of a cybersecurity laboratory and a training centre, with further investments in systemic solutions for maintaining information security and cloud environments.

DIGITAL SERVICES TAILORED TO CITIZENS

The project’s second component relates to the advancing of background processes to reduce administrative burdens and increase the efficiency of service delivery, which is conducted through the reengineering, digitalisation and piloting of selected eServices.

The project provided for the compiling of a comprehensive catalogue of administrative services intended for citizens. In the process of drafting the catalogue, over 2,000 administrative processes were identified on the basis of citizens’ requests and methodology was established for the classification and qualification of administrative processes for reengineering and digitalisation.

In the phase of reengineering administrative processes, over 150 services were identified and prioritised for further automation and the elimination of superfluous procedures. The project envisages the digitalisation of the largest number of these services, as well as the improvement of the most frequent services that are already in use. We will see the digitalisation of more than 30 new services for citizens in the period ahead.

DEVELOPING DIGITAL SKILLS

Through constant advanced training and support for the development of the digital skills of employees, the public sector becomes more agile and adaptable, and better able to respond to changes in the digital environment, thereby further improving the efficiency and quality of the provision of services to citizens. Within the framework of the EDGE project, training courses are conducted at the National Academy of Public Administration. More than 8,000 civil servants have to date undergone mandatory training in electronic office operations, while further training programmes are currently in the process of being accredited for 2024. The project is striving for all future training to be conducted 100% online, with the aim of maximising the response of participants and eliminating the logistical costs of attending training centres.

A key role in the further development of eGovernment and the services it provides is played by feedback received from citizens and businesses. One of the project’s primary goals is to establish an active mechanism to engage citizens in assessing their experience of services provided.

The views of citizens and business sector representatives will also be examined during the project, via specially created surveys of the public or focus groups, in order for the findings to be used to achieve the best possible project results.

The project also implies intensive external communication and a promotional campaign to be implemented during the first half of 2024.

The project is being implemented in cooperation with numerous domestic companies, which have for the first time received an opportunity to participate – together with the World Bank and the Office for IT and eGovernment – in building Serbia’s digital society.

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