An ill country in Europe

Piotr Piętak

The results of the report of the Supreme Chamber of Control in the matter of implementing e-administration in the years 2007 – 2010 are alarming. At that time, the computerization of the Polish administration was to cost 2.5 milliard zlotys. The plan was not done and hundreds of million zlotys were wasted in badly coordinated projects. Other 6 milliard zlotys from the state budget will have to be spent in order to finish them.

It results from the completed projects of the Supreme Chamber of Control that in the years 2007-2010 there was a real computerization catastrophe in Poland. Only 5 projects are functioning among planned 28 projects. So, 23 projects are not functioning and, what is worse, it is not known what to do to make them function. The country of the Prime Minister Donald Tusk has beaten a record in incompetence. However, the most important fact is that the European Commission starts to punish our country for this incompetence and corruption. In July 2010 it punished the Polish police with 1 million euro for the questioned competition for the SIS II system (movement control in the Schengen sphere), CBA has been doing investigation in the Centre of Informative Projects recently and it has already arrested two directors for corruption, which may lead to withdrawn financing of our biggest informative projects by EU, for which we have already paid hundred millions zlotys.

Sweeping under a carpet

In the light of these facts there are evident causes of setting up the Ministry of Administration and Digitization. In this bureaucratic and administrative way there are attempts of concealing responsibility for the e-administration catastrophe away from EU clerks who will come to Poland to control on what the EU money has been spent. The Ministry of Administration and Digitization is a trick of bureaucrats who, in this way, want to make it impossible to find responsible people for the biggest civilisation defeat of Tusk’s government.

So, what are the particular reasons for the defeat of the e-administration under the government of the Prime Minister Tusk?

In my opinion the first and the most important reason is a general philosophy of liberals which was explained by Minister Jacek Rostowski in the clearest way, who stated during a dispute with Beata Kempa: ‘We, the Civic Platform, in contrary to you, trust people (read: officials)’. It means that in the public administration nothing like ‘trustfulness to clerks’ exists (we can trust a co-worker). However, there are precise administrative procedures making it possible for the political authority to have control over the administrative apparatus. In fact, it is a basic problem of every authority of the Third Republic of Poland. How to gain a real authority over bureaucracy after gaining the authority in the country after the election? The Prime Minister Tusk and his ministers did not notice this problem; hence there are many corruption scandals. Another reason is connected with the first one. In the government of Tusk – especially in the computerization - vice-ministers did not supervise department subjected to them. The vice-minister for computerization Witold Dróżdż admitted it in the interview given to the weekly ‘Computer World’, published in 2008. The question ‘How do you see your role in the project and in the management of tele-information projects in Ministry of Interior and Administration?’ is answered by the vice-minister as follows: ‘I intend to keep away from technical details. It is a task for the managers of projects; while my task is to supervise and support the team where the direct engagement of the vice-minister is necessary. And in order to make the functioning of departments subjected to me more efficient, we are setting up the Centre of Information Projects in the Ministry of Interior and Administration which will consist of project teams PESEL 2, e-PUAP and Polish ID. It was a courteous confession, full of contradictions. How can one supervise the work of IT workers while ‘keeping away from technical details’? The duty of the vice-minister is not ‘supporting the team of IT scientists but continuous controlling. However, certainly, it is impossible, if one does not know technological details, that is, Information Technology. We know what fruits such a philosophy brought. In the Centre of Information Projects created three years ago, CBA has uncovered a few corruption scandals which may result in suspension of money assigned for the computerization of the public administration in Poland.

Causes of the collapse of e-administration

During the first term of office of the Prime Minister Tusk, the causes of the collapse of e-administration have a common factor: they are anti-conspiracy. – If you from the Law and Justice party only control officials, so we, who are tolerant, liberal and progressive members of the Civil Platform, so we will leave them alone. If your vice- ministers were supporting information projects – it was a generally known fact – so, we will not do it – as the vice-minister Dróżdż states. Such an attitude contributed to the information destruction of the country in the years 2007-2011. It was an anti-state philosophy of hatred and contempt towards the Law and Justice could be observed also on the level of a method of realizing information projects. The leading project of the government of the Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński was PESEL2. How was this project characterised? According to the philosophy of the governments of the Law and Justice, its assumptions and realisation were transparent and the officials of the Ministry of Interior and Administration often discussed the project with information associations, with the public opinion. On order not to be vain in words, I will quote the words of the vice-chairman Sobieski’s Institute which published a very critical report about the project PESEL2. After the publication of the report, the Ministry of Interior and Administration suggested carrying out a discussion on this issue in the open forum. In the interview given to the weekly ‘Computer World’, the vice-chairman – Krzysztof Komorowski answered a journalist’s question: ‘What are your conclusions and reflections after the discussion?’, with words: ‘My first reflection is that I have been in the technology information department for 25-26 years and it has been my first discussion of this kind with the representatives of the government, so the conclusion is obvious that this government is open to this kind of discussion and it is a very optimistic conclusion to me. It was worth writing this report in order to carry out such a discussion. It is an improbable sensation for me’. Another feature of PESEL2 was its anti-oligarchy, that is, the management of the Ministry of Interior and Administration announced that there would not an auction for doing it, as it had been so far, for example in the information technology system of the Department of Social Insurance, but the project PESEL2 will be divided into several modules, so there will be several auctions and several companies which will do it. It was a stone of insult towards the post-communist oligarchies connected with information technology companies. Somebody dared to fight here against the monopoly PROKOM – because this company had won most auctions in the public administration so far. The transparency and fight against the monopoly are the features of the European civilisation – it is its cornerstone. The first decision of the vice-prime minister Grzegorz Schetyna and the vice-minister Dróżdż was an immediate liquidation of the project PESEL2. What consequences did it have? Without the realisation of PESEL2 introducing biometric evidences was impossible, and which were to be used as an NHS card; and this had a disastrous influence on the whole development of computerization, and especially the relationship: a patient – doctor, which we are experiencing today. I will say openly that the idea of punishing doctors for not fulfilling absurd bureaucratic duties is an evidence for the contemporary barbarism which appreciates only the administrative reporting. The pioneer of this anti- civilisational way of thinking was Lenin for whom the country was a machine to control all actions of its citizens, through administration equipped with tools of punishment. It is astonishing that the government of Donald Tusk is using this type of method more and more often in its ruling practice. One can think and imagine a little in order to understand that this kind of rules and law will threaten many citizens of the Third Republic of Poland. The common sense and minimum of imagination suggest that following the professional ethics based on examining a patient, presenting a diagnosis and prescribing medicines or medical examinations, with imposed administrative duties on a doctor, whose not fulfilling is punished, may be difficult in many cases, for example, in the case of a big number of patients. In the situation of haste and fright, the diagnosis may be wrong. Isn’t this evident fact understood by the officials of the Prime Minister Tusk? Don’t they understand that in this way they are putting one of the last capitals, which Poland owns – the National Health Service – into a more and more de-organisation? Poland is slowly becoming a country whose standards of functioning are contradict with the basis of the European civilisation.


"Niedziela" 08/2012

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: