PRESS RELEASE BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRINCIPAL PERMANENT SECRETARY: Technology: At the core of the renewal and the strengthening of the Public Service

€200 million in investment translating into more services and efficiency

Technology has been at the core of the renewal that has taken place in the Public Service in the last eight years and is the key to the future strengthening of the Public Service. This year we will have channelled €200 million in investment towards technology in the Public Service, which translates into more services and efficiency to better serve the customer. 

This was stated by Principal Permanent Secretary Mario Cutajar when addressing a conference on the use of technology in the Public Service. The conference was held as part of Public Service Week 2021, which is themed “Strengthening the Civil Service”. 

Mr Cutajar said that in 2013 the Public Service acknowledged that technology is the key to the future, and the circumstances surrounding Covid-19 proved it right. It was through technology that the Public Service could support people during the pandemic and remain a driving force when other sectors came to a standstill. 

The 24/7 vision that launched the renewal of the Public Service in recent years could only be implemented through technology and the hefty amount of money invested in it, leading to more services, better efficiency, and accessibility of services from anywhere, 24 hours a day all year round. “Technology has helped us change the Public Service. The way services are provided, how they have been clustered together for ease of accessibility, how they are always next to you—on your mobile phone or laptop,” said Mr Cutajar. 

He added that technology, as planned and implemented, has put Malta in the highest place in Europe with regard to online government services, even placing before those considered giants in this field. To place this in context, Malta ranks fifth in the European Union as regards the digital economy index. 

Mr Cutajar said that this Public Service Week is opening a new chapter through a five-year strategy where one of the key elements is technology. It is technology that must lead to a better achievement of a work-life balance. It is technology that must be the basis on which a new management system of government electric vehicles relies. And it is technology that will be the framework of a radical change in the way the government keeps its documents, whereby we reduce paper use and improve the way we register and process documents. 

The Principal Permanent Secretary said that the new strategy obviously involves ethics in the use of technology and even more so in the use of artificial intelligence. “Accountability must be ensured at all times. People must continue to have control on their data and we must ease their access to this and other data needed to serve them. The accessibility of data and ethics leads people to trust that their data is being used properly. The Public Service has found its place as a leader in several areas. It is also a leader when it comes to ethics in the use of technology,” said Mr Cutajar.