Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
The Di@vgeia Programme was initiated by MAREG (Ministry of Administrative Reform and e-Government) following the approval of the Law 3861/2010 by the Greek Government. The Programme forces all government institutions to upload their acts and decisions on the Internet with a specific focus on issues related to national security and sensitive personal data. Di@vgeia can be considered as an open government best practice and has been presented to many European and international conferences, receiving very positive feedback. In Greece it is considered a model for the design of future e-Government interventions, both at an organizational and a technological level. In June 2014, the Di@vgeia II portal has been implemented and launched with renovated communication and participatory tools, in order to enable a greater user interaction and engagement. The beneficiaries of the Programme are all Greek citizens and business who need to exercise their constitutional right to be informed, as well as all public servants who need to use public acts and decisions on a daily basis as part of their work. In particular, thanks to extensive amount of public users Di@vgeia can be regarded as the most extensively and widely used public application. A dynamic human network of project task forces (more than 4.000 people) has been activated nationwide during the implementation phase of the platform, to share strong authority to coordinate and educate their associates, as well as to communicate the merits of the Programme. The network has contributed to the rapid spread of the new values of transparency, responsibility, accountability, participation and collaboration.
A total of 12 staff members worked for four years on the design, implementation, support and additional development of the system. More specifically the design phase lasted for 2 months to which followed the adoption by the Greek Parliament of the Law 3861/2010. The development phase lasted for 2 more months leading to 1 month of testing and 1 month of pilot phase. Finally, the system entered into the production phase. Different production paths were followed by the different authorities involved. More specifically:
- Ministries: 4 months after the enforcement of the law
- Overall Public Sector and other independent authorities: 1 months after Ministries
- Regional and Local Authorities: 6 months after Ministries.
Digital Transformation Process
The Di@vgeia Programme works by obliging public institutions to publish acts and decisions online with each document digitally signed and linked to an Internet Uploading Number (IUN), which certifies that the decision has been uploaded on the Portal. The technological implementation model of the platform has been based on an agile strategy with “open content” and “open architecture” that enable citizens and other private actors to generate their own applications and services via the program’s open content API. The whole platform has been developed in-house by the Greek Research & Technology Network via an open source software. The system is supported by existing ICT infrastructures already owned by the public sector. It is also worth to mention that besides the ICT components the system can be also perceived as including relevant legal frameworks, operational processes and other technological instruments. In 2014 the MAREG decided to launch a new and updated version of the portal, named Di@vgeia II which enhances: user inclusion especially for those with disabilities, search via new portal search-mechanisms, new online communication channels.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
Different types of needs have been addressed by the introduction of the programme. More specifically, among the most relevant it can be accounted:
Citizens’ engagement:The Di@vgeia database enable citizens and businesses to get access to a wide range of information. In addition, taking into consideration that the Greek crisis has been determined, among other things, by the non-transparent relationship between the citizens and the state, the Di@vgeia Programme enabled high standards of transparency within all levels of Greek public administration. This initiative has a deep impact on the way officials handle their executive power. The radical transparency that the Di@vgeia Programme introduces reduces corruption by exposing it more easily when it takes place, since any citizen and every interested party enjoy the widest possible access to questionable acts. Furthermore, its open architecture allows for the dissemination ad re-use of Publics sector information: indeed, a number of applications have been built by citizens and private companies on various platforms upon the transparency open data access tool.
Maladministration control:The Di@vgeia portal is a great tool for monitoring and control, used also by Greek Controlling Bodies for checking cases of illegality and maladministration in the public sector. The Controllers working for the Inspectors-Controllers Body for Public Administration (I.C.B.P.A.) have access to reports from the Di@vgeia portal in order to monitor legality and good administration in public legal entities. The programme entails several objectives and goals. Among the most relevant it can be accounted:
- The safeguard of transparent government actions and decisions
- Eliminating corruption by exposing it more easily when it takes place
- Monitoring of legality and good administration
- Enhancing and modernizing existing publication systems of administrative acts and decisions
- Reinforcing Greek citizens’ constitutional rights, such as the participation in the Information Society
- Enhance accessibility and comprehension of administrative acts for citizens
- Enable the possibility to provide open data to citizens and businesses for analysis and potential use.
Challenges & Bottlenecks
One of the major barriers concerning the adoption of the system is related to change management and to the need to push all the different public bodies to actively participate in the successful development and deployment of the platform. The public administration is often characterized by a conservative organizational culture adverse to radical changes. Therefore, the adoption of a system which forced public institutions to open up their documents to the general audience proved to be especially difficult.
Transferability & Replicability
The system is now used by all government institutions (5029 Public Authorities, March 2021). Initially, no investment costs were sustained for the development, implementation and support of the system. Everything was sustained thanks to the internal resources of the public administration. Some relevant costs were spent for the second phase of the programme, Di@vgeia II platform, amounting to a total of € 1,700,000 for the design, implementation and production phase (including both the software and hardware components).
The following are considered as the key success factors of this open government inititiative:
OpennessThe openness dimension is defined by the readily available information and data on the portal that can be accessed by every citizen or institution.
CollaborationThe collaboration dimension is defined by active participation of citizens in monitoring the publications of documents and acts along with the possibility to report potential maladministration issues.
ICT-enabled InnovationThe technology dimension is characterised by the online platform of Di@vgeia along with its implementation Di@vgeia.
The Di@vgeia portal represents a successful case of ICT technologies used for enhancing the participation of citizens and all the relevant stakeholder to the democratic life of a country. Moreover, the service can be also regarded as a valuable example of transparency and accountability in a country affected by chronic problems of lack of transparency between public institutions and the civil society. The international recognitions received by the service support also its value as a leading Open eGovernment Service at European level. A key success factor of the service is related to the will from the political entities to deeply change the culture inside the Greek public administration by opening it up to citizens and therefore making it more transparent and responsible. Another key success factor is also represented by the open data functionalities of the programme which enable citizens along with businesses to get access to a wide range of data and develop applications on various platforms. Finally, the significant reductions in terms of costs achieved can be also regarded as another key success factor of the Di@vgeia programme. Several lessons have been learned as a result of the development and implementation of the service. Among the most relevant it can be accounted:
- Necessity of change management in the public administration context
- Importance of communication
- Importance of listening to both public servants and citizens
- The necessity for a clear vision and strategy from central Greek governing institutions
- Importance of using the talent and dedication of employees along with providing full autonomy to the project team.