Digitalisation and ICT in the public sector

Updated: 3 May 2024

Next update: Not yet determined

Per cent of municipalities considering lack of skills as a large barrier to development of digital services
Per cent of municipalities considering lack of skills as a large barrier to development of digital services
Major barriers to the development of digital services. Per cent
Major barriers to the development of digital services. Per cent
Is a barrier to a large or very large extent
Central governmentMunicipalitiesCounty municipalities
Difficult to release resources for development work67.576.857.1
Higher ICT costs than expected52.665.542.9
Dependent on development in other public or private enterprises49.351.128.6
Lack of skills in the enterprise37.853.128.6
Lack of adjustments in the legislation and regulations35.930.235.7
Lack of joint public digital services and infrastructure30.650.335.7
Explanation of symbols

Selected tables and charts from this statistics

  • ICT spesialists recruitment. Per cent.
    ICT spesialists recruitment. Per cent.
    Have recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists during the last yearPercentage of those who recruited/tried to but had problems with recruitment
    Central government64.665.688.182.5
    County municipalities100.085.790.091.7
    Explanation of symbols
  • Sharing of open data. Per cent.
    Sharing of open data. Per cent.
    Shares open data
    Central government61.864.1
    County municipalities80.057.2
    Explanation of symbols

About the statistics

The statistics provides information on digitalization and use of ICT in the public sector. The public sector consists of the central government, municipalities and county municipalities. The topics covered are digitalization measures, digital services, digital purchases, sharing and use of open data, information security and ICT security, and ICT competence.

Government agencies: some of the respondents report on behalf of all units in a directorate. The directorate counts as one unit in the survey.

Employment group: The number of employees in a unit that reports on behalf of a directorate, includes the number of employees in all units in the directorate.

ICT strategy: a document which presents the organization’s goals of and guidelines on the procurement or use of ICT.

Outsourcing: an agreement in which an organization hires an external service provider to carry out ICT-functions.

Cloud computing: the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet).

Social media: employ web- and mobile-based technologies to support interactive dialogue.

Digital services: services which are integrated in the internal systems, and which make it possible to retrieve information from these systems and make it available to external users or which enable external users to submit data that are automatically sent to the internal systems.

ICT expenditures (2011-2012): Include purchase of ICT equipment and lease of computer equipment, purchase and lease of software, and purchase of external services. Expenditures for the enterprises own ICT employees are not included.

ICT expenditures (2018-2020): Include purchase of ICT equipment and lease of computer equipment, purchase and lease of software, purchase of external services, municipality/county municipality ICT expenses for inter-municipal cooperation, ICT related expenditures for digitalization. Value-added tax, leasing of broadband, use of telephone, and expenditures for the enterprises own ICT employees are not included.

Name: Digitalization and ICT in public sector
Topic: Technology and innovation

Not yet determined

Division for R&D, Technology and Business Dynamics Statistics


The frequency is annual from 2012.

The reference time for survey year 2024 is the 1st quarter; for 2023, the 2nd quarter; for 2015-2022, the 1st quarter; and prior to 2015, the 2nd quarter.

Not relevant

Non-revised and revised micro data are stored in accordance with Statistics Norway's guidelines for storing computer files.

The purpose of the survey is to measure digitalization and ICT in the public sector. Initially, the data on use of IT in the Norwegian public sector were collected separately for municipalities and the central government. "Use of Information Technology in the Norwegian Municipalities" was launched in 2002 and is the pioneer survey on IT in the public sector. From 2004, the survey had also been sent to the county municipalities. Both surveys were conducted annually except in the period 2013-2015.

Data collection in "ICT use in the Central Government" started in 2004. The figures were published annually until 2008, inclusive. The next survey was conducted in 2012 and has been annual since then. From 2018, it has been covering the whole public sector: the central government, municipalities and county municipalities. In 2021, the name of the survey was changed to "Digitalization and ICT in the public sector".

Policymakers, national and local authorities, business enterprise sector, academia and mass media.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on at 8 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

The Statistics Act § 10

Not relevant

For the years 2004-2008, the population in the survey of the central government included all the central government units registered in Statistics Norway’s Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises.

In 2012, the population was reduced to only cover the central government units with decision-making authority. Some respondents report on behalf of sub-units in a directorate. From 2013, units with less than 10 employees are not included in the population. As of 2017, the church is no longer included in the central government, and hence no longer part of the survey.

Data are collected through an electronic questionnaire via Altinn.

Until 2020, the municipalities and county municipalities reported the data electronically as a part of KOSTRA.

The sample consists of the central government units with at least 10 employees, and all the municipalities and county municipalities.

In 2024, there were 209 central government units in the survey sample.

All the respondents submit the electronic questionnaire via Altinn. The data collection is announced via Altinn, and respondents have usually about three weeks to complete the questionnaire.

The data are checked for errors manually and in an internal system for editing. The respondents are contacted if needed.

2011-2012: The total ICT expenditure includes estimated figures for the non-responding units. The estimates are based on information from the reported ICT expenditure, either of the whole sample, or the industry group the non-responding unit belongs to.

Until 2020: For some municipalities and county municipalities it is complicated to report data on expenses in computer equipment, software and related consultancy services. This is because the required data are not registered as separate items in the accounting system. Therefore, some of the reported figures are believed to be inaccurate. Some municipalities and county municipalities have explained it in their comments.

In 2024, the response rate among the central government units made up 100 per cent. All the 14 county municipalities and 354 of 357 municipalities answered the survey. Oslo is both a county municipality and a municipality, and reports as a municipality in this survey. Because of this, the sample consists of 14 county municipalities.

Most questions are included in the survey every year while others are less regular. For example, in 2021, 2023 and 2024 problems related to ICT security were not mapped. Measures/practices to manage ICT security were not included in 2021 either (municipalities and county municipalities did not get the question in the period 2019-2021).

Not relevant

It is not possible to identify the respondents in the published figures.

In 2009-2011, the survey was not conducted.

Despite the changes in the population for the central government after 2008, the figures for 2012 and later years are still comparable to the figures for 2008 and earlier periods, though not directly.

Some questions in the survey are about the activities the units performed in periods earlier than the reference period. Due to the regional reform 2020, it was challenging for some of the county municipalities to answer these questions. Therefore, in the tables where earlier periods are the reference period, no values for the county municipalities were published in 2020.

For the 2020 figures, the units reporting are the municipalities as of January 1st, 2020. In questions concerning periods earlier than 2020, the new municipalities were asked to report on behalf of the former municipalities.

Because the regional and municipal reform of 2020 resulted in fewer and larger units, caution should be exercised in comparing figures for county municipalities and municipalities from 2020 with earlier periods. It applies particularly to the figures for municipalities by the number of inhabitants.

The 2024 figures for municipalities and county municipalities are produced according to the new administrative division as of January 1st, 2024. Changes in regional division are believed to impact comparability of 2024 with earlier periods. An overview of changes in regional division is presented in article “Alle endringer i de regionale inndelingene” (in Norwegian only). The division of county municipalities and The division of municipalities are available in Statistics Norway’s code system Statistical Classifications and Codelists (Klass).

Measurement errors occur in the process of measurement. Examples are ambiguous questions, misunderstood questions or erroneous data from the respondents. The quality of the answers can also depend on the competence of the respondents. Some public enterprises buy external ICT services, and it can influence the data quality.

Processing errors can occur when Statistics Norway processes the data. In this survey such errors can occur if correct answers for some reason are assumed to be false and corrected. Usually, the respondent is contacted before any corrections are made.

Non-response includes unit non-response and item non-response. The response rate is high, 98-99 per cent for the central government units and municipalities, and 100 per cent for the county municipalities. The item non-response is typically low.

Sampling error refers to the uncertainty caused by the fact that the figures are based on a sample of units and not the entire population. This survey is almost a total count. The unit non-response in the survey is quite low, but still may contribute to some sampling error.

Revision is planned editing of figures that have already been published. See Principles for revisions in Statistics Norway. The published figures in this survey are final, and revisions happen seldom.


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