Policies and Strategies
Various policies and/or strategies relating to Information Technology and digital transformation have been issued. These may have been developed on either government level or by local authorities. Some are common for both levels of public services, government and local.
Digital strategy on public services
Issued in July 2021. The four primary objectives are:
- Increased competitiveness
- Better public services
- Safer infrastructure
- A more modern work environment
Read further on the strategy along with actions and performance indicators.
The Cloud Policy of the Icelandic Public Sector was published in June 2022 along with an action plan. The three primary objectives of the policy are:
- Increased security of information systems and data
- Better services that are efficient and fast
- More innovation by public bodies
Read further on the cloud strategy.
Cyber security strategy
The cyber security strategy was published in 2021. The two primary objectives are:
- Exceptional competence and utilisation of cybersecurity technology
- Secure internet environment
Read further on the cyber security strategy.
Data Security Classification
The first step towards a data policy for Iceland was publishing Data Security Classification for Iceland. It well supports the cloud policy and further usage of cloud solutions across government.
See further on Data Security Classification, only summary is available in English.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
Iceland’s policy on Artificial Intelligence was published in 2021. The policy’s key objectives are to build and maintain a strong ethical basis for the development and use of AI, based on good knowledge of the technology while understanding the security challenges it entails.
See further on the policy on AI (only in Icelandic).
Policy making co-operation
Office of Public Management & Reform at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs is responsible for strategy and policy making in Digital Transformation and Information Technology. It entails better and more efficient governmental services through technology, domestic and international co-operation on public services, focus on the green transformation within the public sector and smart usage of technology for the benefit of simplifying government service processes.
The Icelandic government has prioritized better public services and increased digital transformation in Iceland. Citizens’ interest and need for improved digital services is also a major driver in unison with a robust technical infrastructure, e.g. fibre internet connection to almost every home in Iceland. Widespread access to eIDs (>95%) is also a strong enabler of both the public and the private market to offer digital services in a secure way.
Public attitudes towards digitalisation are measured, and service surveys show a high demand and satisfaction with digital services.
Digital Iceland was established in 2018. Its objective is to help public institutions improve digital services by making the service more accessible, simple, and faster. A key aspect is the development of common digital core services, that are made available to the public sector, to their operational and financial benefit. The Digital Iceland team also serves as an advisor when it comes to digital transformation, e.g. by supporting institutions in change management and user and process design, supported by technology.
Digital transformation is guided by the Digital policy on public services, issued in 2021. The policy applies to both state and local authorities.
Domestic co-operation in Iceland
State and local authorities cooperate widely on digital transformation of services, both in practice through Digital Iceland and on sharing experiences through formal committee work. This co-operation has two goals. Firstly, to mediate information on digital transformation between ministries and municipalities. Secondly, to strengthen the service offering of all public entities through the Island.is portal.
Iceland actively participates in international work on digital public services, on a Nordic front through the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM), on an EU level and through the OECD.
Digital public services are measured and surveyed in various international surveys, in which Iceland participates.
- EU eGovernment Benchmark
- EU Open Data Maturity
- OECD Digital Government
- OECD Open Government Data
- United Nations – eGovernment
- World Bank GovTech Maturity Index (GTMI)
Nordic Council of Ministers – DIGITAL committee
One of the committees in the council is the DIGITAL public services committee. It is the only committee under the council where the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) also participate. The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs represents Iceland in the committee. Read more on the Nordic-Baltic cooperation on Norden.org.
Digital North 2.0 declaration
The ministers in the Nordic-Baltic cooperation signed a declaration, based on the shared Nordic and Baltic vision of being the most integrated region in the world by 2030. The declaration addresses the goals of the cooperation with emphasis on three issues:
- Increasing mobility and integration in the Nordic-Baltic region by building a common area for cross-border digital services
- Promoting green economic growth and sustainable development in the Nordic-Baltic region through data-driven innovation and a fair data economy for efficient sharing and re-use of data
- Promoting Nordic-Baltic leadership in the EU/EEA and globally in a sustainable and inclusive digital transformation of our societies
Read the Digital North 2.0 declaration
Projects under the NCM – DIGITAL
Iceland actively participate in projects around digital public services. Additionally, ongoing projects revolve around services across borders. The Cross Border Digital Services (CBDS) committee is the responsible entity. The five pillars of CBDS are:
- Building secure and trusted eID interoperability
- Promoting cross-border data exchange between authorities
- Enabling cross-border digital services
- Project testing the Single Digital Gateway Once-Only Technical System
- The Open Funding Mechanism
The NOBID project (Nordic-Baltic eID) is one of the projects that supports the CBDS goals, i.e. to increase access to services through the means of electronic identification. Through the project, a consortium of six countries was formed in 2022, that received a grant from the DIGITAL Europe Programme, to do a large-scale pilot on the EU Wallet. The use-case is account-to-account payments from customers to merchants. Read more about the NOBID Consortium and on CBDS.
Digital Green Transition
Access to and increased provision of digital services reduce the carbon footprint of the service. By moving data around, rather than people, government reduce time in transport, productivity increases, waste is reduced and service providers can focus their efforts on value-added services. Iceland has set ambitious targets for carbon emission reductions up to 2040 and 2050. Increased digital services, utilization of information technology, green data centers and the use of data are all part of achieving Iceland's goals.
The rise in digital transformation, the use of information technology and data calls for increased energy consumption. It is therefore important that the public procurement framework supports a green transition, see further on Iceland’s sustainable procurement policy.
From a Nordic-Baltic perspective, read more on the NCM-DIGITAL report on the Digital Green Transition.