Over the past nine years the time spent on the Internet by an average Polish internet user increased by more than 350% – from less than 20 to almost 73 hours per month, according to research by Megapanel PBI/Gremius conducted in the years 2005-2014. This means that Polish Internet users surf the Web for 3 days a month or as many as 36 days a year.
Clearly, it has affected the functioning of citizens in the reality of the twenty-first-century world. 65% of Poles use the Internet, which translates into more than 21.5 million Internet users. Internet provides them with access to information, communication, allows settlement of daily affairs in electronic form. Too bad, then, that the state does not keep pace with the digital and mobile revolution and remains far behind – compared to private entities – in terms of the availability of their services on the Internet.
The EU benchmarks and international rankings, including the UN E-government Survey, place Poland at the bottom, far behind European and global leaders in the field of e-government. Authorities are still primarily paper-bound, not digital. In some cases, this is due to the habits of citizens or lack of confidence in the reliability of electronic forms, but to a much greater extent, because it is not possible to resolving the case electronically. Typically at some point in the process it is necessary to visit some office to hand in a document, get stamps, etc.
The project of electronic identity card layer was abandoned. A new form was drafted instead. We expected groundbreaking tools but received a trivial change.
Electronic identity card layer has been successfully introduced in Estonia a decade ago. E-ID allows citizens to: to vote in the elections, submit documents to the offices in electronic form, pick up medicine at the pharmacy (replaces paper prescription) and many more. Private companies offering services and applications using e-ID also benefit from it.
Unfortunately, in Poland when you mention Estonia, you hear a loud sigh and argument: but Estonia has less than 1.5 million inhabitants and an area slightly larger than the Mazowieckie province. This is an absurd argument, but repeated a thousand times – is considered true. In fact, however, it is still just an excuse not to adopt revolutionary plans and make a little change. The road is clearly marked, solutions are already tested and... it is time to start implementing them – all the more so that under the current EU financial perspective (Operational Program Digital Poland) our administration can receive almost 1 billion for projects in the area of e-government development. We must seize the opportunity afforded by the availability of such significant EU funds. But in order to do it right, we can not agree on a simple (simplistic?) transfer of paper-based procedures to the digital world. Certain procedures should be changed and others eliminated with the computerization of administration. ICT systems created by individual public bodies need to work together (automatic data exchange, data stored in defined formats and possible to be mutually exchanged and used), thus providing comfort both to officials and citizens.
Piotr Wołejko, Expert of Employers of Poland