The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions - SALAR,(Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting - SKL, in Swedish) has recently launched the 'Centre for eSociety' - CeSam (Center för eSamhället, in Swedish) to accelerate the development of digital welfare services across Sweden's municipalities, counties and regions.
Commenting on this, the Director General of SALAR, Mr Håkan Sörman said: "CeSam helps us work together towards smarter and better digital welfare services. This is so much better than 310 municipalities, counties and regions acting on their own. Together, we are paving the way for the future of digital welfare services".
More specifically, CeSam is a programme office within SALAR that is aimed at promoting innovation and business development with the support of IT and to contribute to achieving the objectives of SALAR's 'Strategy for eSociety' namely: making life easier for individuals and businesses, ensuring smarter and more transparent public administration, supporting innovation, participation, as well as the higher quality and efficiency of operations.
CeSam works closely with SALAR's members and cooperates with government, the industry and other organisations in order to: identify common needs in terms of IT support and eServices; develop generic process descriptions and specifications; assign tasks to 'SKL Kommentus Inköpscentral', the purchasing body that coordinates public procurement on behalf of SALAR's members. Furthermore, CeSam works towards creating the basic prerequisites for development through legislation, information architecture, infrastructure and information security.
CeSam's work is run in close cooperation with SALAR's divisions in the following activity areas: eHealth, school, business and labour, town planning, traffic, environment, culture, leisure and hospitality, democracy and participation, support, and structural conditions. SALAR will adopt action plans for each aforementioned area.
"When we work nationally and regionally, we are increasing the pressure on the market to reduce prices and offer open systems. Not to mention the benefits the small and medium-sized municipalities will get, as they often lack both the resources and the expertise in the IT field", Mr Sörman said.
"Our staff will take into consideration comments and opinions from members about the most demanding needs, submitted among others through their participation in regional meetings. New submissions are welcome", he added.
Broad agreements between the public sector and the market actors are crucial to make possible the exchange of information between different systems in different organisations throughout the country.