Digitalisation in the Norwegian municipalities
State analysis for 2018
In 2018, Statistics Norway extended its survey “ICT usage in public sector” from including only government agencies, to also include municipalities and county municipalities. 89 per cent of the municipalities responded to the survey conducted in 2018. This high response rate gives us a good basis to study the level of digitalisation in the municipalities in Norway. On request from the Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi), we have highlighted the most relevant questions used in the survey and grouped them under three main topics related to the digitalisation process. These are digital priority, digital competence and digital activity.
This report describes what lies behind the concept for these topics, how different indices and indicators are constructed within each topic, what areas they give an indication of having a potential for development and what issues may need further investigation. The constructed indicators are built up in a way that describe the digitalisation level in the municipalities in relation to each other. In that way it is possible to sort out which of the municipalities that could act like role models when it comes to digitalisation. Where the corresponding number are available, we have also compared the state in the municipalities with that of the government agencies.
The report highlights several aspects of the level of digitalisation in the Norwegian municipalities. Under the topic digital priority, it is shown that one third of the municipalities does not have a strategy on ICT/digitalisation. However, one third of these have at the same time relatively comprehensive ICT-projects. This observation corresponds poorly with Difi’s tool for the project selection process, which underlines that projects that are to be prioritized, should be accompanied by a strategy. Further, the report finds that if a municipality has an ICT-strategy in place, it is likely to be relatively comprehensive and covers many different areas.
When it comes to the topic digital competence, the report states that lack of competence is a problem when it comes to the digital development in the municipalities in Norway. 42 per cent of the municipalities state that the lack of competence is to a great or quite great extent a barrier for developing their digital services. This applies to a greater extent to the municipalities that mostly use internal resources to perform different ICT functions, compared to those that relies more on external suppliers. In addition, 70 per cent of those stating that lack of competence is to a great extent an obstacle for their digital development, have not tried to recruit ICT-specialists. Small municipalities try less often to recruit this kind of labour than larger municipalities. Further, we see that the municipalities that surrounds the capital region are overrepresented among the municipalities that have experienced difficulties recruiting. All these observations suggest that several municipalities are facing both financial limitations and limitations concerning the supply side of relevant competence.
Under the last topic, digital activity, we find that the municipalities make use of digital services from others to a greater extent than they offer digital services themselves. At the same time, their use of digital services varies quite a bit and our indicators show that there is still a high potential for streamlining. This is especially valid for services like shipping and handling of orders and receiving, evaluating and allocating contracts. The use of cloud computing services, where one third of the municipalities gets a score of “very low”, is another area where we see a big potential for development. Finally, we find only a few municipalities that provide advanced services digitally, which also indicates the significant potential for improvement among the municipalities on this area.