Another year has flown by: it seems like it was only yesterday that we were starting the new year and greeting it with resolutions, hopes, and wishing each other well, and in a blink of an eye we find ourselves in its last month, waiting to greet the year 2019. This is a time of celebration, of setting out what we are going to do in the next year and how we are going to spend these festive days with family and friends. As such, an analysis of the past twelve months would not go amiss here.
During 2018, with the help of many, the Public Service successfully continued down the path of strengthening itself and edging closer towards the vision of having services accessible by everyone at any place 24 hours a day throughout the entire year.
I had noted 2017 as having been the year which showed the flexibility and ability of the Public Service, given the various happenings which took place and the way the Public Service responded to them. I cannot speak any less highly of this year. This was the year when we consolidated and took various new initiatives which we have reminded you about in the last newsletter. Above all, it was the year in which the Public Service received more recognition for the work it carried out. I cannot deny that it is of great satisifcation that we have, once again, been placed alongside the best in Europe when it comes to e-government, and this time with an even better performance as we have been classified first in every category. As much as it is a satisfaction to have remained first, it is now as much a challenge to remain first. It is equally satisfying to be placed with the group of eleven ‘high performers’ in e-government by the United Nations.
Technology is the future, and we are being recognised for the opportunities we are seizing via investment in this sector in order to strengthen ourselves, among which is Converge—a collection of projects amounting to €40 million distributed across the entire Public Service in order to gear it towards the vision which, in shorthand, we are calling the 24/7.
Just as much as we focus on technology in order to deliver our service, so too do we focus on face-to-face customer service which some still prefer. Not everyone is comfortable pressing computer or mobile buttons to access services. Part of the success story of servizz.gov are the regional one-stop-shops and the 153. Next year will be the year which will see the opening of more one-stop-shops.
Next year will also be the year in which we will invest in Quality Service Charters—our pact in the Public Service with our clients to offer a quality service. 2019 will also be the year where will initiate the Quality Label for those departments which raise their service quality.
In the coming year we will also be strengthening legislative tools for the public administration and placing the foundation stones for the next vision for the Public Service, that of adopting the once-only principle, which would mean that a client need only provide us information once.
The latter will be the second vision that we want to adopt so that we will then put forward another vision, that of having a service of excellence as befits this country which, year after year, is showing strong progress in all sectors.
I would like to wish you and your loved ones an exceptional new year. Best wishes for this festive season, and much gratitude for your work and contribution which enabled us to achieve all that we have accomplished so far. At this rate, the next year also looks set to be a good one.
Principal Permanent Secretary