BiscayTIK Foundation - Historical Background

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Historical Background

Biscay is one of the three historical territories of the Region of the Basque Country. It has a population of 1,200,000 and its capital city is Bilbao. The population is divided into 112 municipalities of very different sizes. Although Bilbao has 350,000 inhabitants and municipalities like Getxo and Barakaldo about 100,000 each, the population of most of the municipalities in Biscay is less than 5,000 inhabitants. In the case of small councils, the resources are limited and they often have a staff of just one or two people.

Over the last few years, the Regional Government of Biscay has shown a strong commitment to using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). In fact, in 2007 almost half of the population over 14 years of age in Biscay had Internet access at home and used it regularly. Besides, there were already some technological and legal tools that made it possible to identify users’ identities and signatures on the Net by using cards like the Spanish e-Identity Card, the electronic Health Card (ONA), Izenpe (Authorised certification service provider for electronic signatures) and Bizkaibai (Virtual Office of the Provincial Treasury and Finance Department).

In this context, the Regional Government of Biscay considered that the moment had arrived to undertake an ambitious project related to the application of ICTs in councils and associations of municipalities that would optimise their internal management and also develop an e-Government service that would allow citizens to carry out administrative procedures online.

As well as all of this, the existing technology guaranteed the feasibility and sustainability of such a major project over time, with an acceptable degree of centralisation and an optimisation of all costs involved. For the first time ever, there was a scenario with all of the necessary elements for technology to make life a little easier for the people of Biscay. And so BiscayTIK was born.