EU Court of Auditors report considers that, although positive, results of ERDF funding to e-government can be improved

According to a special report published by the European Court of Auditors which examines the results of e-Government projects funded under the European Development Fund (ERDF) in four Member States, despite the projects are in fact already operational, the results obtained are much lower than expected. In light of this study, the Court makes some recommendations in order to improve the results in future projects.

In its Special Report, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) concludes that e-Government projects funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), have contributed to the development of electronic public services in the four selected Member States, i.e. France, Italy, Poland and Spain, which together account for €3,000 million, or 45% of ERDF spending in information society.

The Special Report nº9/2011 of the European Court of Auditors notes that, due to inadequacies in the first strategies, co-financed projects have not paid due attention to the priority needs for development on e-government, causing delays in the implementation or lower results than expected. Following these insights, the report makes a series of recommendations in order to improve the design and evaluation to avoid such circumstances in future projects.

Among the recommendations made by the Court of Auditors, it is proposed that national strategies for e-Government should be based on identified needs, have clear objectives and grant aid based on a cost-benefit assessment of the projects. It is further recommended that projects make a greater emphasis on making the necessary changes in processes or in the organization, and that the Commission ensures that the projects reflect the principles of the European Union in terms of interoperability. The report also suggests that when selecting e-Government projects, managing authorities ensure that significant costs are taken into account and that outcomes and impacts are properly monitored and evaluated.

Moreover, from the technological point of view, the report finds that in most of the e-Government projects reviewed the applications developed provided proper electronic services for public agencies, citizens and businesses, and that the systems co-financed by the ERDF, were appropriately maintained and financially sustainable.