E-government policies in Greece have to be examined regarding country's fiscal problems since 2010 and financial assistance programs provided by the European Union institutions. The provision for public sector reforms with the use of electronic capabilities has been a key issue of the financial and technical assistance to Greece and the following Memorandums since 2010 (in which Expertise France-former ADETEF has the responsibility of central administration reforms Technical Assistance). Also open government policies concerning the enhancement of citizens participation at the decisions making process has been a matter with legal provisions regarding also Greece's participation at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) since 2012.
§ 1 – Reforms at the Beginning of Greek Crisis
Until today there hasn't been a single framework law regulating open and e-gov policy in Greece but there is relative legislation that has passed through laws at the last decade of economic crisis.
Since 2010 Greece on its own and using parts of the technical assistance of the EU, came up to the following main reforms.
A) Law 3979/2011
A framework law regarding e-gov issues which established the first public sector provisions and citizens’ rights to have electronic services with the use of information technology capabilities, in the entire public administration. The provisions and principles of these law gave the first step for the necessary policies to digitalize the operation of public sector in Greece.
B) Key Reforms in 2010 and 2011
- Registry of Public Servants and Single Payments Authority – 2010 (Law 3845/2010, 4111/2013)
The Greek State now knows exactly the number of the people that are payed from the State and the ammount of their wages. The target is that every public servant or a person employed by the State (public sector entities) is registered and if not, a payment transaction cannot be made.
- Diavgeia – 2010 (Law 3861/2010) and (Law 4210/2013) Institutional Enhancement in 2013
The Diavgeia project is a well-respected initiative that has made the State more transparent and accountable, by publishing in the internet all the decisions of the governmental and administrative authorities. By demanding the publicity with a specific Uploading Number, each decision of public sector entity, will not have any legal power if it is not published at the internet.
C) Tax and Social Policy
Also there is legislation for electronic services regarding tax policy and payments by the taxpayers, social and health policy (law 3892/2010 and 4386/2010) concerning hospital care services, drug descriptions and social services with the use of a single social security number. At the last four (2015-2018) years there have legal and technical improvements at these fields and there is a target set for an electronic health care identity card for each citizen.
D) Local Government
Entities at the local level are also obliged to follow the processes of the central administration regarding their operation and services for the citizens, so every legislation about the public sector is also applicable to them (Municipalities and Regions). Further at the local government level there are since 2010 (law 3852/2010) legal provisions for public consultation committees in every municipality and region of Greece but their role is not fully operational and a lot of improvements can be made for partipatory budget process and other local policy issues.
§ 2 – Recent Reforms on E-gov and Citizens Participation
Since 2016 the e-gov agenda in Greece has been upgraded with the establishment of a new Ministry for Digital Policy, in order to gather the responsibilitiesand have a better implementation of digital policy issues. Also at the National Action Plan on Open Government 2016-2018 there are commitments that enhance the digitalization of the public administration with the use of information technology and improve the participation of citizens.
A) Article 24, Law 4440/2016 – Electronic Exchange of Documents and Digital Signature
A tipping point of e-gov reforms is the legal provision for the obligatory (without it any action won't be valid) use of digital signature and exchanging of documents at the process of every administrative action and decision regarding the entire public administration.
With the establishment of a central electronic system of exchanging documents through the public administration applicable at every entity of the public sector, the operational cost will be reduced about 400million euros at the first year. This new system designed and created by the Ministry for Digital Policy, was introduced at the first days of April 2018 and will be the operational mechanism for the implementation of the legal provision of 2016.
This reform will not only reduce the operational cost, but also fight bureaucracy and corruption, improve the accountability of the public sector and together with the implementation of relevant pledges at the Open Gov Action Plan, can change the face of public administration in 2020.
B) Open Gov National Action Plan 2016-2020 Commitments
Regarding citizens participation and public administration accountability:
- Civic Participation in the evaluation process of the public services, with the use of e-goal Setting – tool for setting targets and measuring for every service in the public sector – evaluation system already established by the law 4369/2016
- An introduction of an OpenGov framework Law, in order to gather and improve already legal provisions and also establish new citizens participation processes
- Accountability Mechanisms such as Hearing Committees for citizens and social actors and Institutional Mediation for disputes between citizen and the State
- Digital Organizational Charts for every public service and entity in the public sector making public administration more open and ensuring that every citizen will be able to have a complete and thorough knowledge of the exact function of each service
- The Guides and Standardization for the provision of Services, acommitment that drives down costs, increases the speed and quality in service delivery, and helps citizens to know exactly which entity to contact and better understand the process for the service delivery.
At the first months of 2018, as shown by the evaluation of the OGP independent reports, is clear that these pledges haven't been implemented yet and probably will continue at the next action plan 2018-2020.
STATEMENT of the SECRETARY GENERAL of the MINISTRY for DIGITAL POLICY
Mr. George Florendis
With the establishment of a new Ministry for digital policy issues in 2016, Greece made a key step for better and faster implementation of the information technology capabilities both at the public and private sector.
Main responsibility of the Ministry is to design and coordinate public policies that apply at the entire public sector, fighting bureaucracy and modernizing the operational procedures of public services, aiming to improve daily life of citizens and businesses.
At the end of this decade our target is to have a full transformation on how the public administration works by improving already operating policies and further on implementing new information technology policies. A good example is the creation of a new central operating system that will make possible the electronic exchange of documents with the use of digital signature in the entire public sector.
We believe that following the economic crisis, Greece now is fully capable to design and implement a digitalized public sector, considering international good practices, and we can have the best results fast, accurate and cost-effective.
Date : 25 April 2018
Suggestion on how to quote this paper: Stavros Tasiopoulos, Greece E-Gov Reforms Synopsis 2010-2018, IMODEV, 25 April 2018, IMODEV, https://site.imodev.org/nos-activites/europe/grece/greece-e-gov-reforms-synopsis-2010-2018
Suggestion on how to quote Mr Florendis' Statement: George Florendis, Statement of the Secretary General of the Ministry for Digital Policy About Greece E-Gov Reforms, IMODEV, 25 April 2018, IMODEV, https://site.imodev.org/nos-activites/europe/grece/greece-e-gov-reforms-synopsis-2010-2018
Stavros Tasiopoulos - Legal & Policy Adviser, Athens, IMODEV's Collaborator in Greece
Mr. Stavros Tasiopoulos PhD (c), is a Legal and Policy Adviser, holder of three post-graduate degrees in the fields of Public Law and Policies (LLM), International & European Energy Law (LL.M) from Democritus University of Thrace, School of Law, and Environmental Governance & Sustainable Development (MSc) from Panteion University. Currently he is a Ph.D candidate at the University of Athens, Law School (on a thesis about the interaction of human rights with economic development towards the SDGs), and also is a scientific collaborator at the University's think tank “In Deep Analysis”.
He is an independent legal and policy adviser, licensed member of the Athens Bar Association and has worked for the Greek Government – Ministry of Administrative Reform. He has represented Greece at the Public Governance Committee of the OECD (2015-2016) and has also edited the public sector commitments at Greece's 3rd National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership – OGP. He specializes in public policies for sustainable development, through legal and policy reforms and government innovation, based on the evidence-based approach and the tools of open and good governance. Also his research interests and expertise applies in environmental – energy law and policy connected with climate change, investments and human rights, providing legal and policy justification.
Having an honest academic and professional concern for sustainable development issues, he has participated in important conferences such as the World Government Summit and its Sustainable Development Goals in Action Initiative, in Dubai 2017 and also at the Open Government Summit, in Paris 2016. With concern for youth, community and development issues, he is since 2015 elected as the Secretary General of the Hellenic Association of Political Scientists (Organization in Special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC) and since 2014 is an elected Municipal Councilor at Egaleo City, in the west suburbs of Athens.
Stavros Tasiopoulos is a co-writer of Open Gov Action Plan 2016-2020 and legal writer of article 24 of the Law 4440/2016 on obligatory digital signature.