On Wednesday 28 September 2022, Luxembourg's Prime Minister and Minister for Digitalisation, Xavier Bettel, and Minister Delegate for Digitalisation, offically launched the High Committee for Digital Transformation.
The High Committee for Digital Transformation, a central component of digital governance adopted by the Council of Government in February 2020, brings together the various ministries, representatives of civil society and employers as well as experts from various backgrounds. By virtue of its composition, the High Committee is dedicated to considering the challenges of digitalisation from various perspectives relating to the economy, work, education, health, continuing education or even digital public services. Its members will meet twice a year to propose, analyse and discuss initiatives and potential projects to advance digital government, while considering the digital inclusion of all citizens.
During his speech, Prime Minister Bettel recalled the excellent results obtained by Luxembourg in international benchmarks, while insisting on continued support and work in the interest of citizens and businesses. By choosing a transversal and cross-sectoral approach within the High Committee, the Ministry of Digitalisation intends to facilitate digitalisation in all areas of society.
Prime Minister Bettel also recalled that no citizen or business should be left behind. “The digital divide should not depend on where one lives, on one's socio-economic situation or on one's age category,” said Prime Minister Bettel. He added: “We want to stay what we are, but we don't want to stay where we are.”
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Study on Digital Government
The results of the study “Digital Government Review of Luxembourg – Towards more digital, innovative and inclusive public services”, commissioned by the Ministry of Digitalisation at the OECD in 2021, served as a kick-off discussion during the first meeting of the High Committee in the presence of the Deputy Secretary General of the OECD, Kerri-Ann Jones, and the Head of the “Digital Government and Data” unit of the OECD, Barbara Ubaldi. During this presentation, Kerri-Ann Jones particularly welcomed Luxembourg's choice to submit to such an examination by the OECD.
The study is based on a series of exchanges with the various Luxembourg state entities: a total of 23 ministries and nineteen administrations took part in it through questionnaires on digitalisation in Luxembourg, as well as more technical meetings between the OECD and senior officials around more targeted topics in their respective areas of expertise. Two specific workshops on the themes “Data-driven public sector” and “Service Design and Delivery” concluded the talks with the OECD.
Sixteen recommendations to advance digital government
In its inventory of digitalisation in Luxembourg, the OECD made sixteen recommendations for the country to move towards a successful digital government as recommended by international bodies.
Among these, the OECD has highlighted the importance of relying on consolidated governance in the field of digitalisation in order to move forward in a coherent and thoughtful way. The need to have adequate political levers and catalysts, and strong public sector capacities is also one of the conclusions of the study. Finally, the OECD underlined the fact that Luxembourg must adopt a vision and a common strategy for sharing and processing data as well as developing an agile and innovative approach, focused on the user in the design of public services.
During her speech, Barbara Ubaldi stated a major conclusion that emerges from the study was Luxembourg can rely on the foundations that have been built as well as on the confidence that the population shows in its governing bodies in order to best pave the path to digital government. She also welcomed the choice of the Ministry of Digitalisation to open Luxembourg's doors to the OECD and to humbly and courageously seek an external and independent analysis of the current situation.
Luxembourg on the right track
For Minister Hansen, the OECD study confirms that Luxembourg is on the right track to achieve the ambitious objective set by the government. The very existence of the Ministry of Digitalisation bears witness to this, according to Minister Hansen.
The projects of the Ministry of Digitalisation initiated since its creation are already in line with the recommendations of the OECD. Thus, Minister Hansen noted the digital governance adopted by the Government Council, through which the High Committee for Digital Transformation and the Interministerial Committee for Digitalisation were created, to encourage and support regular collaboration between the entities represented within these committees. The creation of the GovTech Lab is, according to Minister Hansen, another flagship project of the Ministry of Digitalisation and the Government IT Centre (CTIE) which, through open innovation, supports and accelerates technological innovation within the State.
In addition, the platform dedicated to participatory administrative simplification www.zesumme-vereinfachen.lu or the National Digital Inclusion Plan drawn up by the Ministry of Digitalisation, in concert with an interministerial group dedicated to this subject, are two additional elements essential to achieve a digital government based on a user-friendly and integrative approach to public services, emphasising end-user-oriented services and offering the active participation of these users.
The OECD study also identifies several areas in which Luxembourg still needs to make further efforts, for example developing a data culture. According to the OECD, Luxembourg has the necessary infrastructure for efficient data processing as well as citizens' trust in public bodies. The establishment of a national interoperability framework (NIF) provides a solid basis for processing and better understanding of large volumes of data, which will enable the State to offer public services that are efficient and close to users' needs.
Minister Hansen said: “So we still have room for improvement. We must continue our efforts to try to get everyone on board the digital boat in the best possible conditions.”
All the OECD recommendations will now be analysed in detail by the Ministry of Digitalisation and discussed at the next meetings of the High Committee.
The details of the study is available online via: https://www.oecd.org/publications/digital-government-review-of-luxembourg-b623803d-en.htm.