Latvia’s E-index is the first national-level initiative helping central government institutions and municipalities to evaluate and recognize their level of digital transformation, foreseen solutions and learn from other institutions. This enables and motivates the development of the e-environment. Within the spirit of positive competition, the common goal is raising awareness of digital transformation, learning about policy and tools, and increasing quality and accessibility of services to citizens and business.
The monitoring and evaluation of digital transformation and public service delivery modernization and use of technologies, among governmental institutions of Latvia, started its implementation in 2014, both in central government institutions and municipalities. Since then the evaluation is run annually and Latvia’s E-index is carried out each year. The beginning of Latvia’s E-index started with a partnership with 6 different members from the government, NGOs, and businesses:
- Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia (MEPRD),
- The Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments,
- The Association of Major Cities of Latvia,
- Latvian Information and Communications Technology Association,
- Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and
- The state limited liability company “Lattelecom”.
This is the first measurement and evaluation activity of such a big magnitude. It involves national governmental institutions and municipalities.
Latvia’s E-index so far included 2 measurements with slightly different methodology, but same goals: central government institutions E-index conducted by MEPRD, and municipalities E- index conducted by a State limited liability company “Lattelecom”.
In the year 2017, 104 central government institutions were involved.
The goals of Latvia’s E-index are:
1) by encouraging a positive competition, help central and local authorities identify shortcomings and opportunities for improving service delivery, and digital transformation of service delivery processes and identify the most appropriate development directions;
2) promote the development of e-government and the efficiency of public administration processes through the service delivery, digital transformation, usage of shared services, digital communication and use of electronic solutions;
3) promote access to services and a more efficient use of EU funds.
Central government institutions' E-index and municipality's E-index, both, include evaluation methodology involving self-evaluation, publicly available data, research and expert evaluation methods to measure digital transformation and use of technologies. There is a distinction in focus in the methodologies used for central institutions and municipalities due to the diverse nature of the operations and goals. The result of Latvia’s E-index expresses the e-governance maturity level of an institution. Each level has the description and also recommendations for reaching the next level.
The evaluation for central governmental institutions focuses on the following criteria: digital transformation, communication with the public and public participation, availability of open data, provision of services, customer service and support and use of technologies in the internal processes and inter-institutional cooperation. Regarding municipalities, the evaluation focuses more on the digital transformation, technology use, and availability by measuring such criteria as development level of e-environment infrastructure, use of internet resources among clients and e-skills, e-government level and information system and security.
Implementation of Latvia’s E-index results has several high-value impacts. E-index is an important tool in measuring the results and raising awareness of digital transformation and e-environment development policy. Results and conclusions are used to support the government with evidence-based decision making and policy planning. Latvia’s E-index created a motivating effect on the digital transformation of institutions and municipalities involved.
On the other hand, the major success factor to facilitate top management engagement in the E-index process is public communication. The annual award ceremony is being organized for the announcement of results of Latvia’s E-index. Institutions and municipalities with the highest score receive Latvia’s E-index award. Each year, we run a special campaign that involves a special web page, press release, infographics, videos, and other activities to promote the results of E-index and encourage institutions to increase and upgrade their service provisions by digital means and learn from the successful experience of other institutions.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
Latvia’s E-index has a national scale of evaluation of the digital transformation of the institutions and service delivery where all levels of administration are involved: central government institutions (ministries and agencies) and municipalities. The methodology has innovative aspects such as indicators resulting in definitions of maturity levels of institutions digital transformation. For each maturity level, there are elaborated set of recommendations to proceed to the next level of maturity. The technological tools used in Latvia’s E-index information gathering and displaying also has innovative aspects, for instance, the information is analyzed and displayed by using business intelligence software that gives an opportunity to demonstrate and explore results dynamically and efficiently.
What is the current status of your innovation?
Since 2014, 2 Latvia’s E-index evaluations were applied, one of them involved central government institutions, all ministries and major service providers that accounts for more than half of institutions. At the moment we are working on the evaluation of Latvia’s E-index evolution to create a single, universal methodology that will involve both central government institutions and municipalities.
It means the new and unique set of key performance indicators have to be developed and focused to evaluate digital transformation and use of technology both in central government institutions and municipalities by using a single and universal methodology. Efforts are paid to create the possibility to provide individual recommendations based on the maturity level of the digital transformation of certain institution and data provided for the evaluation.
Collaborations & Partnerships
In 2014 Memorandum of Cooperation was signed to join efforts and resources of six partners: MEPRD, The Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments, The Association of Major Cities of Latvia, Latvian Information and Communications Technology Association, Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and state limited liability company “Lattelecom”. The diverse experience, expertise, operations, target groups and information channels of partners promote the success of Latvia’s E-index.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
The target beneficiaries are citizens, companies, institutions, and policymakers.
-Citizens and companies are receiving more efficient and high-quality services.
-Institutions have an extensive evaluation of their digital transformation, receive recommendations and learning possibilities from other institutions.
-Policymakers have hard data for evidence-based policymaking and higher policy goals awareness.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
For instance, in 2014 the level of electronically send and received documents was 14%, in 2018 44%.
Last few years adaption of technologies has increased. 81% of all institutions use ICT systems in HR management and 91% of institutions used digital document management systems. Latvia’s E-index has a significant contribution to the achievement of national goals set in the National Development Plan.
In the process of evaluation, several workshops were organized this year. Participants agreed that they are exploring results in detail and are using them for evidence-based planning. The future impact expectations from this initiative are the increase of awareness of the digital transformation policy, shared services and tools, as well as secure reliable data for data-based policymaking.
Challenges and Failures
Currently, we have identified 3 main challenges:
-One of these is data quality during the self-evaluation of institutions, for both central government institutions and municipalities. That’s why the next stage of the process was to contact each institution, which results were not clear or incomplete, and gather the missing information.
-Another challenge was the evolution of the methodology, on one hand, it has to reflect current policy goals and their evolution, on the other it has to be stable to be comparable year by year. The solution for this was running workshops with institutions on the methodology and processes of self-evaluation.
-Another challenge was to generate informative reports with relevant and actionable data, but at the same time - to keep them short and visual enough to be attractive to the top management to read and use them.
Conditions for Success
There are several preconditions of success:
• Creation of relevant research and benchmarking framework and methodology by combining best practices of international evaluation frameworks and taking into account national specific and current needs. External analysis and co-creation approaches have to be combined.
• Gathering valid data from the institutions and conducting a comprehensive evaluation of that data. In order to have the expected outcome, the best decision is to outsource the task to a professional research team.
• Ensuring live interest and engagement of top management in the institutions. That can be reached by combining both relevant data and gap analysis in combination with public awareness and communication's campaigns.
• To use data, conclusions, and recommendations as one of the sources for evidence-based decision making and policy planning across different government policy sectors.
Latvia’s E-index is a successful tool to monitor the development of the digital transformation nationally at all levels. The methodology of Latvia’s E-index is elaborate, well described and is completely replicable in similar areas of policy.
Some aspects of Latvia’s E-index are already used as a source of inspiration in building a component for evaluation of the public administration digital maturity in the HORIZON 2020 project CITADEL.
-At the beginning of the Latvia’s E-index activity, MEPRD identified that in order to ensure representation of all institutions of both administrative levels (national and local), a slightly different methodology had to be elaborated. Now one of the lessons learned is the need to evolve to a more unified and universal methodology for both central government institutions and local administrations.
-The biggest condition for success was to build a research framework and methodology, which takes into account the specifics needs of different institutions and provides meaningful comparisons. The biggest challenge was to ensure the data quality received from the institutions. That’s why lots of work was done to contact institutions to clarify the data, checking data with the main source if necessary, or to involve expert analysts.
-Another lesson learned was to base the evaluation on hard data and not only in questionnaires.
-The reports themselves have to be comprehensive and at the same time short and visual enough to be attractive to the top management to make them actionable.
-The use of technological solutions for effective information submission and analysis.
-The major success factor to facilitate top management engagement in the E-index process is public communication.