Newsletter Nº 04 - December 2011 > Your DLA local partner
noticia A new partner for DLA Project
Due to some internal changes, Euroregio “Pskov, Livonia” section Estonia left DLA project last semester. However, a new Estonian partner joined us in this challenging project: Võru County.
About Võru County
Võru County is the most Southern county of Estonia, the only one bordering two different States - Latvian Republic (in the South) and Russian Federation (in the East). The territory of the county covers
2,305 km² and 37,888 people live here, that is 2.8% of the total population in Estonia. The County centre is Võru town with 14 435 inhabitants. The county is subdivided into 12 rural municipalities and 1 urban municipality - Võru town.
The main economical sectors of the Võru County are forestry, wood processing, furniture and food industry and also tourism. 47% of enterprises in the county belong to primary sector (agriculture, forestry), 38% of enterprises work in tertiary sector (trade, services) and 15% of enterprises are involved in secondary sector (processing industry).
About Võru County Government and its activities

The activities of Võru County Government cover the following areas:

  • Realisation of state social and healthcare policy in the county and keeping population registries,
  • Administration of county’s GIS,
  • Planning the county’s regional development,
  • Co-ordination of the work of the municipalities,
  • Co-ordination of tourism and transport activities,
  • Managing the regional development and international projects,
  • Developing the economical environment and infrastructure,
  • Organizing the county level and local work of the EU information service Europe Direct.

Võru County Government consists of 3 departments: chancellery, development and planning department; culture and social department. The Government is headed by County Governor.

Võru County has a long history in keeping active foreign relations on county level with South-Yutland and Borholm County (Denmark), Värmland County (Sweden) and Keski-Pohjanmaa (Finland). In cooperation with local municipalities, the county government has participated in several tourism and development projects with Aluksne District (Latvia) and Pskov Region (Russia).

Information and communication technologies in public services in Võru region

From 2004 to 2007 the Võru County was a successful project partner in an INTERREG program project called “Baltic Rural Broadband Project - Broadband access and Internet use in rural areas as instruments of regional development”. This project contributed to decrease the digital divide between towns and country areas. It was first done by improving the broadband access in most remote areas of the county, and second, analysing together with the local municipalities the need for the improvement of different electronic services in public sector. Besides, some international pilot activities in e health and e learning were conducted. The results of the BRB project formed bases for the regional digital policies and for the constant improvement of the information and communication technologies in public services in Võru region.

Thus the County Government welcomed warmly the possibility to participate in the DLA as a follow-up project enabling to raise the applications and quality of the use of the communication technologies in public services.

As everywhere else in Estonia, the inhabitants of the county are eager to use the IT solutions. It clearly points to a high level of e-readiness in our people as well as to the conviction that modern technology can contribute to the construction of a better and more efficient society.

Internet and mobile use in Estonia is already high, contributing to the attainment of critical mass of users that is vital for the development of e-services. E-services are provided both by the public and the private sector. An example of a particularly successful public eservice in Estonia is the option available to tax payers to submit income tax declarations electronically. Already in 2004, 78% of Estonian taxpayers opted for the online pre-filled method over the paper based one.

The most significant nationwide IT projects in public services

ID card

To realise savings from the implementation of e-services, a national ID card project was initiated in Estonia in 1998. A smartcard was introduced, the functions of which are twofold: it can be used for personal identification purposes and for giving digital signatures. Unlike in some other countries, Estonia proceeded in the development of its ID card from the principle that the ID card itself would not contain any other data than that necessary for the identification of a person while all other information would be stored in different information systems. One of the most recent ID card based services launched in Estonia is the e-ticket for public transport.
For more information see:


In order to perform their duties, citizens, enterprises and civil servants need data from different state registers and databases. As many databases were created independently of each other, and were therefore not interoperable, data exchange between them was often complicated. With the aim of integrating all the state registers and information systems and allowing the provision of e-services through a common interface, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications launched a project called X-Road, a secure web-based data exchange layer, which provides access to the data of state registers through a unified interface.
For more information see:


While in a traditional society, the citizen has to go from one state agency to another in order to complete various paperwork, exploitation of modern technology can make the state considerably citizen-friendlier. The objective of the eCitizen project is to provide the citizens with the option to communicate with the state via a 24/7 operating “one-shop-stop”. The eCitizen information portal at contains information about citizens’ rights and obligations throughout their life cycle from birth to death. Accessing the citizen portal requires authorisation either with the ID card or internet bank codes after which it is possible to submit digitally signed forms to state agencies and perform other tasks necessary for the communication with the state.

The best new electronic services in 2011

From the year 2005 a competition of new domestic electronic services in organised. In 2011 a total of 71 new domestic electronic solutions took part in the competition.

Competition was closest in the e-business and enterprise category, where 33 new e-services contended for the title of best. A judging panel consisting of experts from various fields finally declared the social banking platform the winner. The comprehensiveness and the international potential of the concept were assessed in the case of this service, which intermediates loans between people and companies. The solution was deemed capable of bringing a success story comparable to that of eBay to Estonia.

The most heated debates came from the awarding of the best in Estonia title in the e-government and institutions category, where 15 e-solutions entered the fray. This time, the best in Estonia was declared to be the electronic environment for filling annual reports as it is pertinent to more than 120,000 Estonian companies.

In the field of e-health and environment, the undisputed winner was a prescription centre (digital prescription system) developed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Health Insurance Fund.

More information about the development of the information and communication technologies in Estonia can be found in the sites of the ministry of Interior as well as in the eGovernance Academy

The International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance

The fast pace of technological innovation is contributing to major changes in governments, societies, and the world economy. Innovations like web 2.0 and semantic web, cloud and grid computing, pervasive broadband access and ubiquitous services, software as service, global digital identity and others have reached a level of impact that goes well beyond the use of computers and the Internet. In particular, the impact of technological innovation on government has been profound, with increased collaboration between agencies to deliver seamless services, increased participation of citizens in policy- and decision-making, delivery of location-aware public services, and new paradigms like connected governance, ubiquitous and ambient public services, knowledge-based administration, participatory budgeting, government chief information officers, and local electronic governance, among others.

The International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV) series focuses on the use of technology to transform relationships between government and citizens, businesses, civil society and other arms of government (Electronic Governance). The Series looks beyond the traditional focus on technology-enabled transformation in government (Electronic Government), towards establishing foundations for good governance and for sustainable national development.

The 5th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV2011) took place in Tallinn, Estonia during 26 - 28 September, 2011. Võru County Government`s representatives and project DLA`s managers Ain Jõesalu, Anti Allas and Merili Reismann participated the event. The Sokos Hotel Viru was the conference venue. This year it was expected that the conference would bring together up to 350 practitioners, developers and researchers from government, local municipalities, academia, industry and civil society from appr. 60 countries from all over the World, but surprisingly 524 people from 63 countries visited the conference. President of Estonia, H.E. Mr. Toomas Hendrik Ilves enriched and honored International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance in Tallinn on 26th of September. He gave a brilliant and motivating speech on e-Estonia development story after the Soviet period, spoke about e-governance and democracy and how ICT became the engine for Estonia progress. The conference took place in the framework of Nordic IT Week, and there were many e-government related seminars, conferences and meetings also held on September 29th. ICEGOV2011 is co-organised by UNU-IIST Center for Electronic Governance as a series organiser, e-Governance Academy Foundation as the main organiser, and the Center for Technology in Government, University of Albany.

How to improve the e Participation in public sector

Võru County government organised within the DLA project a seminar on 10th November in Võru about the use of the information and communication technologies in public sector. Different specialists pointed out the fact that even if the Estonian law provides that the local government must have a website, the existing websites vary a lot between authorities.

For the citizens it is often difficult to obtain information from local government websites, because the web pages differ in content, standards and design. Therefore the Ministry of Interior has launched a project in order:

  • To improve the access to information and services via internet;
  • To improve the opportunities for citizens to participate in decision-making and feedback via the website of the local government;
  • To provide tools to make and publish quality websites and suggest user-friendlier website information architecture suggestions.
In 2011 the national Strategy paper On the use of the information technologies on local level will end. Several discussions will be organised to create a new strategy for 2015-2015.
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