Citizens remain welcome at the town hall, but we are going digital more than ever. Flanders currently ranks 18th in Europe in terms of e-government. Top 5 should be our goal. Applying for an identity card or travel documents, we don't have to take leave and queue in traffic jams for that in the 21st century, do we?
To build a holistic vision around digital transformation in local governments, experts from different perspectives were brought together. A mix of academics and entrepreneurs with backgrounds in diverse but connecting domains including policy-making, citizen-centric thinking, enterprise architecture and data management, market forces between local governments and IT partners as well as organisation and personnel, set to work on this.
Given the short time frame, the large group of experts and the high expectations, Möbius used a particularly agile approach. Every two weeks, there was a plenary session with the advisory group. In between, sprints and sub-sprints were carried out with specific sub-tasks for each expert cluster. There was also frequent interim feedback with the assignment chairmen, the administrator-general of Digitaal Vlaanderen and Agentschap Binnenlands Bestuur, the cabinets involved and a project group with representatives of local authorities, VVSG and V-ICT-OR.
Vision text prepared under the guidance of Möbius
The final result was a vision document that defines the municipality of the future as well as the means to achieve this vision. Citizen-centric and digital are at the heart of this. Municipal services and service provision must be close to the citizen, start from the customer journey and match needs as closely as possible. Service provision is no longer reactive, but proactive and possibly even prescriptive. This requires digital transformation of processes and not just digitisation of existing processes. A municipality without a town hall may be going a bit far, but a move in that direction is possible. The idea serves to stimulate local administrations to reinvent themselves, partly by considering for which services a physical visit to the town hall still offers added value. The vision paper is also an invitation for local governments to cooperate. As the exercise progressed, the initial concept was creatively turned into Town Hall without Municipiality... we can take traditional municipal services to a higher scale and organise them separately from a municipality, this again from a citizen-centred thinking.
The vision text forms the basic document for the allocation of 35 million euros of relaunch funds within the ambitious support project Gemeente zonder Gemeentehuis (Municipality without a Town Hall).
Möbius is proud to have been able to contribute to such a worthwhile initiative.