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Denmark is assisting Brazil with digitalization of the public sector

11.04.2018  16:59

A partnership aims to modernise and facilitate access to governmental services in Brazil, based on the experience of Denmark. In addition, digitalisation helps in the battle against corruption.Billede med computer 3 ny her

Denmark, one of the most developed countries in the area of digitalisation of the public sector, is helping Brazil modernising access to governmental services. The partnership is designed to improve governance by optimising the efficiency of public agencies. Furthermore, it can help in the battle against corruption.

The project launched in 2016, as a cooperative partnership between the two countries’ governments with the intent to exchange experience and technology in the fields of innovation and digitalisation of the public sector. The primary objectives of the partnership include simplifying, lowering the cost of, speeding up, and improving services in public administration.

“Due to the size of our country and the large number of municipalities, we have not succeeded yet, and maybe it is not possible, in achieving the extent of implementation in Brazil that exists in Denmark, which covers all levels of the government,” notes Gleisson Rubin, Secretary of Ministry of Planning, Development and Management, in Brazil.

By using a unified online platform, Danish citizens have access to all kinds of information about public services, and are able to request services, such as enrolling in social programs, registering addresses or requesting new documents and public unemployment insurance. At the same time, the government can communicate with the citizens through the platform, which partially consists of an electronic mail box.

To Rubin, this level of integration would be difficult to achieve in Brazil. Therefore, the purpose of the government is offering, as a minimum, all of the governmental services through a single channel, servicos.com.br, which is currently being refined. “In this way, the citizen does not have to make a “pilgrimage” to get to know by which public entity a desired service is offered,” the Secretary emphasises.

Innovation Lab
The cooperation between the two countries is already producing results. One of the first was implementation of GNOVA, an Innovation Lab, inspired by MindLab, which since 2002 has been developing efficient and innovative solutions for challenges in the public sector of Denmark.

“The governmental lab, GNOVA, is citizen-centered and utilises design methodologies for creating collaborative solutions for problems in the public sector,” affirms Guilherme de Almeida, Director of Innovation and Knowledge Management at the School of Public Administration (ENAP) in Brasilia.

Based in ENAP, GNOVA has been in existence for almost two years. It offers expertise to projects developed to ministries and public entities – for instance, GNOVA has contributed to the development of the programme of consultation booking at SUS (the public healthcare system).

A Tool to Fight Corruption
Besides creating efficiency and innovation, digitalisation is a tool in the battle against corruption. By offering public services – such as requests for documents, enrollment in social programs, starting new companies, and filing tax returns – governments eliminate opportunities for abuse and reinforce transparency.

“By definition, corruption is abuse of entrusted power. That is, corruption can take place in the direct contact between citizens and public employees; therefore, digitalisation, as an alternative to direct personal contact, offers a way to prevent such corrupt behaviour,” explains Nicole Botha, director of the Head Sector Programme Anticorruption and Integrity at the German International Cooperation (GIZ).

Even though the battle against corruption is not one of the priorities in the partnership between Denmark and Brazil, Rubin notes that it might end up being one of the side effects of improving governance, provided through digitalisation. In addition to more transparency, digitalisation eliminates the possibility of fraud with this digital crosscheck on information between governmental entities.

The partnership with Denmark will end this year. However, given the success of the first project, the governments of the two countries have decided to extend the cooperation to 2021. The focus of the new stage will be optimising the processes of recognition of intellectual property.

“I see a lot of hope in Brazil, and many people wish to change their society. Denmark can help them with these tools,” states Gustav Christoffer Jensen, Growth Counsellor at the Danish Embassy in Brasília.

This article was originally published in Deutsche Welle.