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If you want to contribute with feedback and changes to the Three Year Plan for ICT in the Public Administration, visit the Github repository.

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5. Interoperability Model

The Interoperability Model is a supporting axis necessary for the functioning of the entire Public Information System.

This Model makes it possible to collaborate between Public Administrations and between these and third parties through technological solutions that ensure interaction and exchange of information without constraints on implementations, avoiding ad hoc integrations.

The Interoperability Model:

  • Enables the development of new applications for PA users consistent with the activities described in Chapter 7 “Tools for Generating and Delivering Digital Services” and with the objectives of the Plan;
  • Ensures dialogue within individual ecosystems and between ecosystems;
  • Regulates the use of Intangible Infrastructure components by regulating their sharing and publication;
  • Regulates the ways in which data streams are sent to the Data & Analytics Framework;
  • Ensures, in the respect of the right to privacy, access to public administration data also by third parties;
  • Is designed in accordance with the principles still valid in the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) version 2.0 [66], published in 2010 under the program Interoperability Solutions for Public Administration, Businesses and [67] Citizens (ISA, 2016 ISA²).

5.1. Current scenario

In October 2005, CNIPA (today AgID) published a set of documents that constitute the technical reference for interoperability between public administrations. These documents outline the technical and implementing framework of the Public Co-operation System (SPC Coop). AgID is in the process of consolidating the definition of the new Interoperability Model which goes beyond the previous model and will be defined with appropriate guidelines.

The new Model, as anticipated by the recent changes to the CAD with the repeal of Article 58, allows to overcome the need for agreements for the exchange of point-to-point information.

5.2. Strategic objectives

  • Harmonise the architectural choices of the Public Administration, specifying the conditions required for joining the PA Information System.
  • Create the technological conditions that encourage the development of innovative, citizen-oriented, business and government-based application solutions by administrations and businesses and enabling the use of the services described in Chapter 4 “Intangible Infrastructures”.
  • Promote the adoption of the API first approach to foster the separation of back end and front-end levels with open logic and public standards that guarantee other players, public and private, accessibility and maximum interoperability of data and services.
  • Prioritise technology standards that meet the need to ensure interaction between public administrations and those with citizens and businesses.
  • Enable data flow useful to the population of the Data & Analytics Framework.
  • Simplify the procedures for the exchange of services between Public Administrations and, where possible, between Public Administration and private individuals, through publication of participation rules in the guidelines.
  • Ensure compliance with the guidelines and promote the quality of the PA’s services.

5.3. Lines of action

The Interoperability Model defines the guidelines that all Public Administrations will have to take to ensure interoperability of their systems with those of other subjects and the overall implementation of the PA Information System.

Technological standards will reflect the best practice in the interoperability of information systems and / or will adhere to established standards, including within the EU.

All administrations must adhere to the new interoperability model’s technological standards and interoperability profiles to define and present compliant Application Programming Interface (API).

APIs will have to resort to best management practices (API management), including in particular:

  • Traceability of different versions of APIs in order to allow non-destructive evolution (versioning);
  • Coordinated documentation with the API version (documentation);
  • User management, in particular authentication and authorisation;
  • Usage restrictions related to the characteristics of the API itself and the user class (throttling);
  • Traceability of requests received and their outcome (logging and accounting), also for the purpose of non-repudiation of communication;
  • Testing environment
  • Software interfaces for third-party strategic services (SDKs);
  • An adequate level of service according to the type of service provided (SLA);
  • Scalable resource configuration;
  • Publishing usage metrics (analytics).

In this perspective, there is no single centralised element (middleware) which mediates access to PA services and instead it is expected that AgID, directly or indirectly:

  • Furnishes a distributed catalogue of APIs and services available with a unique access interface;
  • Verifies compliance with the rules of the Interoperability Model as a condition of access to the catalogue;
  • Continuously checks compliance with the requirements for registration to the catalogue;
  • Assists in resolving issues with appropriate cooperation tools (e.g. Help desk, forums, mailing lists and newsletters);
  • Establishes, publishes, and monitors usage metrics;
  • Provides libraries and SDKs to provide many of the features defined in the guidelines.

Consistent with the repeal of Article 58 of the CAD, there will no longer be agreements between administrations; AgID will establish API membership guidelines.

Public Administrations will be responsible for defining the terms of use of the APIs they are exposed to.

The rules for the adherence of private individuals will then be defined.

In order to promote and coordinate all activities, AgID:

  • Will support the activities described in Chapter 6 “Ecosystems” and, more generally, the administrations involved in adapting their systems to the new interoperability Model;
  • Will ensure that the Interoperability Model is constantly updated from a technological point of view.
Subject New Interoperability Model Guidelines
Time Frames By December 2017
Players AgID
Description

Issue of useful guidelines for Public Administrations and other players in the PA’s Information System to adhere to the Interoperability Model. More precisely, the indications that will need to be adopted (in terms of technology standards, interoperability profiles and communication protocols) will be provided for the implementation of the APIs needed to adapt the components described in Chapter 4 “Intangible Infrastructure” and in Chapter 6 “Ecosystems”. Indications will also be provided for the implementation of new end-user applications, described in Chapter 7 “Tools for Generating and Delivering Digital Services” and for populating the Data & Analytics Framework.

The publication of the guidelines will be preceded by the issuance of a document showing the evolutionary roadmap from the old to the new model and a phase-out plan for the old-model infrastructural elements that are being decommissioned.

Result
Guidelines for Transit to the New Interoperability Model
(Release date: May 2017)
New Interoperability Model Guidelines
(Release date version 1.0: December 2017)
Subject Adoption of the Model by PAs
Time Frames From May 2017
Players AgID, PA
Description For existing platforms and ongoing design activities, PAs adopt transition guidelines, while new designs are adapted to the new Model.
Result
   
Subject API catalogue
Time Frames From June 2017
Players AgID
Description

AgID will create a special API catalogue, which will allow the PA to share APIs. Through the information recorded in the catalogue, a display point is created in which user-shared APIs will be censored and documented, and useful to developers and other stakeholders involved in ecosystems. However, in respect of the privacy rights regarding the data processed, APIs may also be used by parties outside the PA.

AgID will define a set of usage rules and a governance model for management.

Result First release of the catalogue (release date: December 2017)
Subject API population catalogue
Time Frames From January 2018
Players PA
Description PAs, in implementing the rules of the Interoperability Model, will follow the implementation of APIs and the subsequent population of the catalogue in order to facilitate their use by developers.
Result

Notes

[66]*https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/sites/default/files/5e/db/a3/isa_annex_ii_eif_en.pdf*
[67]*https://ec.europa.eu/isa2/isa2_en*