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Target audienceDigital skills in education.
Digital technology / specialisation
Digitalisation is not an end in itself, but rather a means of achieving high-quality and equitable care and education, an efficient and sustainable urban construction process, and a service-oriented and accessible management. The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR) has developed a strategy to ensure the work needed to achieve these objectives.
In order to fully exploit the potential of digitalisation, certain conditions need to be in place. These include leadership, law, data-driven innovation, common infrastructure and digital functions. These basic prerequisites form the basis for the development work of municipalities and regions.
TheDigital EraStrategy replaces the Action Plan 2017-2025: Prerequisites for digital development in cities and regions”. The aim of the new strategy is to create a common direction for municipalities, regions and SKR, Adda (formerly SKL Kommentus) and INERA regarding the basic conditions for development in a digital era. By working together and following this strategy, stakeholders can jointly contribute to strengthening digital development in Sweden and responding effectively and sustainably to the challenges of the future.
Swedish citizens expect smart, accessible and quality welfare with increased access to technology providing fast and coherent services. One in four citizens is satisfied with the digital service provided by cities and regions. Responsiveness to citizens’ needs and demands on welfare delivery is a success factor to cope with the digital transition.
Sweden has previously undergone transitions, such as the modernisation of agriculture and forestry in the 1950s. As a result of this transition, a large number of jobs were lost, but thanks to new technologies, agriculture and forestry are delivering more, with a fraction of the workforce. Sweden has traditionally embraced new technologies, which have contributed to the development of welfare.
As in previous transitions, governments have a key role to play in shaping the conditions for change. However, concrete solutions must be left to those who have the necessary detailed knowledge – municipalities, regions and private entrepreneurs in cooperation.
Enabling legislation and secure information exchange are examples of enabling conditions for digital transformation. Although many government-initiated reforms aim at interaction between different publicly-funded actors, legislation creates barriers to interoperability, automated decision-making and information sharing between the private and public sectors, as well as between municipalities and regions. Only the state can modernise the legislation.
Digitalisation is the single largest factor of change in our time and affects society as a whole. Digitalisation means that working methods, processes and behaviours change rapidly with the support of, or due to, new technologies and data-driven developments. It also provides opportunities for individuals, activities and systems to collect, exchange and analyse information in completely new ways.
Four target areas
The strategy presents 16 objectives, divided into four target areas.
- The first target area focuses on management, governance and organisation to ensure the right priorities, develop new competences and involve citizens and staff in change. This enhances the renewal power and ensures that the efforts are reaped. In addition, it allows for the legal conditions for development using emerging technologies.
- The second target area highlights the importance of common architectural and security frameworks used in the development and management of digital welfare services. It creates a common basis and strengthens interoperability when planning, developing and managing common solutions is kept together.
- The third target area concerns nformationsupply and digital infrastructure. It describes the importance of ensuring that the right information is available and can be exchanged effectively.
- The fourth target area focuses on a coherent digital service based on collaborative processes and solutions. This means that welfare can offer services based on users’ needs and life events. By achieving these goals, cities, regions and other stakeholders can work together to create a more effective and adapted welfare that meets current and future digital challenges.
To make the strategy a success
Achieving the impact goals set by the Digital Development Strategy in cities and regions requires well-organised collaboration and co-creation involving all stakeholders in the sector and taking an active role. By capitalising on the shared expertise and experience of municipalities, regions and other organisations, the sector can drive development and ensure that digitalisation takes place in an efficient and sustainable way.
Municipalities and regions can take the guidance of the SKR group where appropriate and interact with each other in the most efficient way to drive development forward. While it is important to make use of existing collaborative networks and fora in the first place, new effective channels for collaboration and co-creation may need to be created to support a successful digital transformation.
It is important to bear in mind that the development of prerequisites for digitalisation does not take place in isolation within municipalities and regions, but must relate to society as a whole. Therefore, interaction with the rest of the public sector, industry and academia will be a key success factor. By working together across borders, the sector can benefit from the combined knowledge and experience of all actors involved, which in turn facilitates a more successful and sustainable digital transformation.
Principles of the Swedish Digital Collaboration Framework
The strategy for digital development in municipalities and regions is linked to the 13 basic principles of the Swedish Digital Collaboration Framework. These principles are in turn based on the guidelines set out in the European Interoperability Framework (EIF).
The Swedish framework for digital cooperation aims to promote effective and secure digital interaction between public organisations and between the public and private sectors. Adherence to these principles ensures a common basis and high quality in digital interaction.
SKR provides support, service and facts
The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR) provides support and services and contributes to the members’ change work in their respective fields of activity. This is done by providing facts and comparisons, methodologies, skills enhancement, and networks and platforms for the exchange of experience. The aim of SKR is to strengthen the ability of its members to adapt to and exploit the digital transition.
To facilitate this process, SKR also carries out proactive advocacy work. This work aims, inter alia, to speed up the process of removing legal barriers to digitalisation and to create a more favourable regulatory environment for digital transformation. By influencing policy makers and regulators, SKR can help create better conditions for digitalisation within municipalities and regions.
In addition, SKR is responsible for coordinating the group’s joint digitisation effort. This means that SKR coordinates and directs efforts and resources to ensure that digitalisation is carried out effectively and in line with overall objectives. Through this work, SKR ensures that cities and regions can benefit from the opportunities offered by the digital transition and can meet citizens’ expectations for smart, accessible and quality well-being.