Renewal, a sequal? eDay

This week, the Danish Government revised their 2001 Government platform which was called “Growth, welfare � renewal”. The new/supplemental platform is called “Growth, welfare � renewal II”. Isn’t it strange how politics goes through a Hollywoodification, with a name like that? In geAnyway. The link goes to the Danish version, which was published promptly as the PM’s had his press conference, so that’s all good. Alas, I can’t find it in English, and note that the PM’s English website was last updated on 13 June 2003. I assume there will be an official translation out soon.

In general, Danish news in English is an under-developed area, so non-Danish speaking observers have a hard time. I Googled around a bit to see what I could find about “Growth, welfare � renewal II”, and it wasn’t much I found. The only decent coverage I found was at Denmark.dk (not permalink, I think, but should work for a few days).

The platform is an ideological programme with 191 new initiatives covering all major policy areas with social welfare being one of the key issues. Personally, I’m having problems swallowing many of the most ideological (ultra-Liberal-Conservative) initiatives. As one opposition leader said: A “hardline Rambo style”.

The Government’s mission is set on defeating consequencelessness in society, they say. Parole: Award those who can and who do; Help those who can�t, but want to; and Punish those who can, but won’t. (my translation).

The section called A Modern, Living (?) and User-friendly Public Sector (En moderne, levende og brugervenlig offentlig sektor) lists a number of initiatives, the Government is planning.

Freedom of choice is the big issue, but also issues like transparency, openness, results-quality, expectations-engagement, etc. A few new commissions of inquery and such, and an upcoming programme or two as well as a few bills.

Citizens should be empowered with regard to government systems. Digitalisation gives us new possibilities. The Government will give citizens better access to follow own cases and data.

Contacting public authorities must be easy for the citizens, and information about government services must be easy to access. The Government will put forward a proposition about how the electronic possibilities can be used, so that citizens can communicate easily with the public authorities. Citizens and businesses must get the right to correspond with public authorities using a digital signature.

Others’ time and resources should be respected. Citizens who don’t show up for appointments with public authorities are wasting the personnel’s time and presents an undue burden on public resources. This is seen in, for example, the health sector and the legal system. The Government will present a bill about the introduction of “no show”-fees to citizens who don’t show up for scheduled appointments, within the areas where it is fair and achievable to implement.
(my rather poor attempt at a literal translation of selected paragraphs).

To theorise a bit on this (I work for these guys …), I find it interesting that “IT”/”e-government” doesn’t occur once in the platform, but at the same time, we have a platform that actually sets some very ambitious targets for IT and e-government, and should be somewhat of a job guarantee for people like me. “Citizens and businesses must get the right to correspond with public authorities using a digital signature” will be very hard to implement, but we’re getting there step by step. The first big step we take on Monday!

Monday is eDay
The Danish government and representatives of the regional and local government authorities have jointly decided to make September 1, 2003 the official “eDay“.
eDay

After eDay all public authorities have a general right to communicate electronically with each other, unless the documents are specifically excluded for security or other reasons. Specifically, the eDay initiative includes the right to send documents electronically and the right to demand that documents from other authorities be sent electronically.

The initiative aims at promoting the use of e-mail in the public sector and reorganise work processes towards paperless administration, making government more efficient.

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