As Europe embarks on a massive investment in “digital transition” – with up to €144 billion pledged in the recovery and resilience facility and an additional €7.5 billion in the digital Europe programme – the Lisbon Council convened The 2021 UserCentriCities Summit: Delivering Digital Government. The high-level Summit brought together local and national leaders, European policymakers, think tankers and digital aficionados to discuss the way a renewed focus on users could help deliver better public services – and to share real-world experience with advanced public administration in Europe’s leading cities. The discussion was informed by User-Centricity: What It Means, How It Works, Why It’s Needed, a new policy brief that launched in the margins. Boštjan Koritnik, minister for public administration of Slovenia and chair of the telecommunications and information society council under the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, delivered a hard-hitting keynote. Lorena Boix-Alonso, director of the digital society, trust and cybersecurity, directorate-general for communications networks, content and technology, European Commission; Roberta Cocco, co-chair, advisory committee for digital public administration, ministry of technological innovation and digital transition, Italy; Arian Debeljak, head of information technologies, Ljubljana; Matteo Lai, CEO, Empatica, and David Osimo, director of research at the Lisbon Council, joined a fascinating interactive dialogue on best practice – and the challenges ahead.
The Summit convened under the auspices of the UserCentriCities project, a 16-partner consortium that includes the Lisbon Council, VTT Technical Research Centre (Finland), Eurocities and 13 leading cities and regions (Barcelona, Emilia Romagna Region, Espoo, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Lisbon, Ljubljana, Milan, Murcia, Porto, Rotterdam and Tallinn). The three-year project will provide metrics, a support toolkit and ongoing policy debate about putting user needs at the heart of public-sector reform and driving digital government at the local level.