During the Digital Design Days, a 3-day event hold just few days ago in Milan, the Council of the Ministry Digital Team led by Diego Piacentini presented Designers Italia, a new technological platform born from the collaboration with AgID (Agency for Digital Italy).

The platform, hosting the best practices to be adopted in the field of creation, design and achievement for the Public Administration digital services, is based on the assumption that design, intended as design thinking, is the “essential tool for putting the citizens at the core” of the PA digital transformation, with the goal to make technology services tailored on them. The project is a further step in this respect alongside with Developers Italia, the community for developers of public services that hosts PA digital innovative projects, among which SPID, PagoPA, CIE and ANPR.

The realization of these projects find its mainstay in another result of the collaboration between AgID and the Digital Team: the three years Plan for IT in the Public Administration 2017-2019, signed by the Prime Minister just few days ago, that defines guidelines and strategic framework for the digital transformation and grow of the public services, and the PA in general.

The plan, which is based on the 2016 Financial Law and CAD (Code of Digital Administration), defines some ambitious purposes:

  • Implementation of SPID (Digital Identity Public System) in all existing and future digital services requiring authentication within March 2018, alongside with the dismissal of local authentication systems,
  • Adoption of PagoPA for all services providing for citizens and undertakings payments within December 2017,
  • Full operativeness of Cie (electronic ID Card), with the activation of its distribution service by 450 cities within this October reaching half of the population, and its full implementation by summer 2018, and
  • Full implementation of ANPR (Resident Population National Registry) by all cities within 2018.

The necessity of a digital transformation of the PA is an essential aim to achieve now more than ever, also considering that CAD, one of the few simplifications in the regulatory bulimia that characterizes PA, establishes as a principle that citizens have the right to request and obtain the use of technologies in communications with PAs.

For the full implementation of this general principle, the realization of the three year plan will be a significant step forward. However, the actual status of PAs digitalization counts only 1 of 3 PAs as able to fully complete an online procedure with citizens, and only 1 of 5 providing mobile apps to inform users on services offered (2015 Istat Report on ICT in local PAs – January 2017).

Furthermore, the PA digital transformation may be a no mean feat considering the two obstacles that stand in the way of achieving its feasibility: the plan goals number as well as their implementation timeframe. In fact, the AgID document establishes also the aim to cut nearly 50% of the annual ICT spending within 2018, as well as the finalization of systems like SIOPE+ and ComproPA, which are still in the design phase.

In addition, further challenges may arise due to regulatory constraints. All digital transformation projects require the processing and sharing by the PA of large amounts of citizen’s personal data which procedures need to be considered from the solutions’ design phase and built in the same solution in accordance with inter alia the GDPR principles on privacy-by-design.

The PA will accordingly need to require IT suppliers to provide GDPR compliant solutions, which may not be as easy as it may appear, and PA procurement contracts will also need to reflect the GDPR requirements, including – for instance – cybersecurity safeguards.

We will have to see if the PAs will be able to catch up.