PESEL2 – communication about the programme implementation progress
PESEL 2 programme objective
The strategic objective of the PESEL2 Programme “Reconstruction and integration of state registers” is to improve the provision of services to Polish citizens and entrepreneurs by providing the possibility to access the PESEL register information and by the construction of an Integrated IT System PESEL2 as a reference register for the population registry in the course of creating a modern information infrastructure of the State. Operational objective of the programme is to allow for the on-line use of the system to access the data contained in the PESEL system registers.
PESEL2 project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and implemented under the National Development Programme for 2004-2006, consisting, inter alia, of the Sectoral Operational Programme “Improvement of the Competitiveness of Enterprises” (SOP ICE), Measure 1.5 Development of on-line access system for entrepreneurs to public information and services.
The PESEL2 system consists in the integration and reorganisation of the existing State registers. It needs to be stressed that the information resources of the PESEL2 will contain only the data contained in the current PESEL system, without, however, such data as e.g. education. In particular, the planned scope of information gathered does not cover such information as the level of income, taxes, place of medical treatment and reasons behind it, as well as the number of parking tickets. The system will not contain information regarding the arrears in ZUS payments and regarding the settlements status in the Tax Office. The planned scope of information to be gathered in the system shall not cover the data regarding bank accounts of citizens, or the status in the Police registers. Information regarding the use of social care benefits will also not be included.
Development of the programme and implementation of tasks until November 2007
At the beginning of 2005 Ministry of Science and Informatisation, as the Implementing Authority for Measure 1.5 of SOP ICE announced a competition for projects to be implemented under this measure. One of the projects selected in the competition was the project submitted by the Ministry of Interior and Administration "Reconstruction and integration of state registers”, commonly known ad the PESEL2 Project.
In September 2005 an agreement has been signed between the Ministry of Interior and Administration and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for co-financing of PESEL2, where the Project implementation period was set to last from 1 June 2005 to 31 December 2007, and the total project budget amounted to PLN 200 million.
In August 2006 Project Office was created and planning and organisational work began. Public procurement proceedings were also commenced for the selection of a consultant in the design of system architecture, technical assistance and management services. Final resolution of these proceedings was reached as late as in June 2007 – UNIZETO was selected as the consultant to the Project.
By the end of 2007 Project Leader changed three times. In the course of implementation the concept for developing technical documentation of the project changed – initially it was planned that the development of the technical documentation will be outsourced, but it was decided that a major part of the documentation will be elaborated by the specialists themselves.
Subsequent annexes to the Project co-financing agreement limited both the value and the scope of the project:
- In December 2006 – Annex 2 was signed, reducing the project value to PLN 167 million.
- In October 2007 – Annex 3 was signed, which reduced the value of project implementation to PLN 126 million and limited the scope of services to be provided from eight as planned to five.
Review of PESEL2 programme implementation carried out by the Steering Committee revealed that there is a significant discrepancy between the declared aims and the actual project implementation capacity. Previous failure to contract works on PESEL2 programme implementation raised doubt regarding the sense of continuing the programme and threatened that the EU co-financing from SOP ICE in the volume of PLN 126 million will be lost.
In the period from 2005 to 2007 only consultation was contracted, and the whole part relating to the purchase of equipment and software development remained at the planning stage. The assumption that it is possible to contract and implement practically the whole system on only 7 months (by June 2008) – does not seem rational, since the preparatory works could not be completed in 2 years.
In the light of previous failures and enormous delay two options were considered – to abandon the programme implementation entirely or make the programme objectives more realistic and limit it to those parts, for which there is high probability of completion/ Since the PESEL2 programme remains of key importance for the development of eGovernment in Poland and other important IT projects strongly depend on PESEL2 (pl.ID, ePUAP), the Steering Committee decided in December 2007 to continue the project. The decision was taken despite the risks involved in the continuation of the project, whose previous implementation was unsuccessful and threatened that the EU funds are withdrawn.
A recovery plan for the development of the PESEL2 system has been elaborated, limiting the scope and making the functionalities more realistic under the SOP ICE financial perspective. Significant part of the work on the development of the programme will focus on the modernisation of the PESEL central register. The decision is based on strategic premises – technologies used for the development of the previous version of the PESEL system are obsolete now and in practice make any development of the system impossible.
The number of services to be implemented by June 2008 was limited to 2. Those tasks, whose completion in the current financial perspective is not probable at all have been abandoned. At the end of December 2007 Annex 4 to the Project Implementation Agreement was signed with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. The Annex constitutes a measure of the implementation of the recovery plan, consisting in the completion of those parts of the target PESEL2 Project by 30 June 2008, whose completion is possible in such a short period. Transposition of the remaining tasks, including the development of the local layer (provision of computers and network infrastructure to gminas and modernisation of local software) along with the implementation of new information flows in the system will be implemented under the pl.ID project, which is a continuation of activities began under the PESEL2 Project.
In consequence, taking account of the impossibility to spend funds under the project, financing has been reduced dramatically, by ca. 75% - from PLN 126 million to 31 million. Since it became unrealistic to absorb all funds under the PESEL2 project, it was decided to allow for the absorption of major part thereof under other projects implemented as part of the SOP ICE, otherwise those funds could be withdrawn entirely. The scope of the project was limited to the modernisation of the central layer and provision of only two services through that central layer, namely: “on-line access to issued and annulled documents” and “on-line verification of personal and address data”.
The functioning of the „on-line access to issued and annulled documents” service will consist in the beneficiary entering the data identifying the ID document used by the citizen. The result will be the display of a respective scope of data resulting from respective legislation, referring to the information contained in the ID document. While the „on-line verification of personal and address data” process will consist in sending a query regarding a very specific scope of data, returning an answer whether or not the data is available in the PESEL2 system (YES/NO).
The result of the analysis of the situation and introduction of the recovery plan is the annulment of the proceedings for the purchase of hardware for Gmina and Civil Registry Offices. It was deemed unreasonable to purchase hardware for gminas, since it is not possible to prepare the applications which were to allow for the use of that hardware.
Future of the PESEL 2 programme
Implementation of the PESEL2 programme (and continuation thereof – PL-ID programme) as a system, which can significantly support the government administration, self-government and business activities is undoubtedly vital for Poland. It is difficult to imagine the development of eAdministration without the access to the register of citizen data. Experience of many countries shows, that it is a necessary minimum for supporting the administrative and economic processes in a modern State.
Ineffectiveness of project implementation to date, which led to the need of significant limitation of project scope still poses risks to the timely completion of assumed tasks, which in turn may threaten the EU co-financing. Still, in the opinion of the Steering Committee, the importance of the PESEL2 project justifies the risk.
Apart from the failure to meet the deadlines in the technical implementation of the project, we encounter also delays in legislative work. It refers mainly to the potential novelisation of the Law on Population Registers and Identity Documents, which introduces very rigid limitation of the possibility of electronic access to services particularly to those institutions, which are particularly interested in such services. The restrictive approach to providing teletransmission access to data, present in the abovementioned Law, requires an adjustment to the reality of a modern state.