Jointly agreed by the federal and state governments: the IT state treaty
The IT state treaty concluded by Germany’s federal and state governments provides the legal basis for the work of the IT Planning Council. The treaty entered into force on 1 April 2010, with a revised version providing for the establishment of FITKO taking effect on 1 October 2019.
The IT state treaty:
- Defines the functions of the IT Planning Council
- Regulates the composition of and passing of resolutions on the IT Planning Council
- Tasks the IT Planning Council with the establishment of FITKO (Federal IT Cooperation) so projects can be implemented at the operational level
- Sets out the supervisory structures and funding of the IT Planning Council.
Agreement on the establishment of the IT Planning Council and the basic principles underlying collaboration when utilising information technology in the federal and state administrations – agreement to implement Article 91c of the German Basic Law or Grundgesetz (IT state treaty) in the consolidated version dated 13/12/2019.
Remit set out in German Basic Law
The second reform of federalism, which entered into force on 1 August 2009, provided the backdrop for the establishment and commissioning of the IT Planning Council. This reform led to various amendments to the German Basic Law, or Grundgesetz, including Article 91c. This article states that the federal government and states can join forces and simplify their collaboration on matters relating to IT, e.g. by adopting common standards. It establishes the legal conditions for seamless electronic communication without media discontinuity between authorities at the federal, state and local levels.
This makes Germany one of the first countries to grant structural regulations for information technology the status of constitutional law.
Coordination between federal government and states
Conference of the head of the Federal Chancellery and the heads of the State and Senate Chancelleries of the federal states
The heads of the federal and state governments typically meet twice each year to discuss subjects affecting the relationship between the federal and state governments. This also regularly includes matters relating to information technology and the digitalisation of administration. Preparations are made for these conferences in meetings between the heads of the State and Senate Chancelleries in the federal states with the head of the Federal Chancellery as chair. The conferences of specialised ministers are involved and asked to provide statements on selected topics.
In addition, the conference of the head of the Federal Chancellery and the heads of the State and Senate Chancelleries recognises the IT Planning Council’s annual report on its activities, as the IT Planning Council is required to report to this conference. It is also updated on the status of the national e-government strategy and assigns the IT Planning Council control projects for implementation.
Business plan and Conference of Ministers of Finance
In accordance with Sect. 9 of the IT state treaty, the IT Planning Council receives funding from the budgets of the federal and state governments in order to fulfil its functions. The IT Planning Council must submit and approve a business plan. This plan must then be approved by the Conference of Ministers of Finance of the states as well as the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) in consultation with the Federal Ministry of Finance. The business plan and any amendments must also be submitted to the conference of the head of the Federal Chancellery and the heads of the State and Senate Chancelleries of the states.
The IT Planning Council has an additional digitalisation budget of up to 180 million euros (Sect. 9(2) of the IT state treaty) at its disposal for the period from 2020 to 2022. This budget is to be used to fund projects and products that drive the comprehensive digitalisation of Germany’s administrative sector as prescribed by the Online Access Act (OZG).