To move toward the personal state, public sector services should be seen integrally, not by separating the state from local governments but by involving the latter. The state needs to be decentralized and e-services taken to people's doorstep, Karin Kaup Lapõnin writes.
It is nice to see the incoming government's attitude moving away from denial of e-voting and toward the personal state. The personal state is among Eesti 200's core election promises and we have a few recommendations to make.
First of all, the personal state is not a technical project but rather constitutes an extensive reorganization of bureaucratic processes and organizations that is not easy to execute and takes a lot of care and preparation.
Secondly, the personal state cannot be developed as an IT project. If the aim is to have a true digital state, we need to reorganize our current state apparatus as digital services do not appear out of thin air and need to be coordinated somewhere.
Thirdly, in order to bring about the personal state, public sector services need to be seen integrally, not by separating the state from local governments but by involving the latter. The state needs to be decentralized and e-services taken to people's doorstep.
Fourthly, one needs to think big when building the personal state. The most important thing is to create products that are convenient and clear for very different demographic groups, including children and the elderly.
And finally, allow me to offer some concrete ideas that have rather unjustly been overlooked since now.
One example is developing the personal state based on the state as a platform idea where communities develop their own e-services.
Estonia has seen several successful consolidation projects (the merger of the tax and customs authorities, police and border guard), while there have also been unsuccessful projects, such as the state support services merger, where saving was not achieved.
In this context, we suggest developers of the personal state to lean on successful structures. For example, the Tax and Customs Board could be turned into the "Estonian Agency" or an organization that is in charge of offering all services.
The personal state does not have to be limited to direct e-services and must support other fields, such as on-demand transport or healthcare or the construction information system.
Finally, a cryptocurrency based on Estonia's digital signature could be adopted where every citizen would have a personal account in the state budget for settling accounts with the state.
Editor: Marcus Turovski