3.1. Public Partner: The city of Bremen's public administration
As explained in section 1.2., Bremen Online Services complements both the city's public administration reform efforts and the regional development strategy. As in any city with more than half a million inhabitants, Bremen's public administration is hardly a monolithic block. It consists of public agencies within seven divisions (justice; interior and sports; culture; building, planning, and environment, education; social and labor affairs; economics and harbor), each of which is headed by a senator, who make up the cabinet of the state and the city. The cabinet is led by the mayor and the second mayor, which, at the moment, head the justice department and the finance department, respectively. In addition, the city owns numerous independently managed agencies, which operate in (potentially) competitive markets, such as hospitals, libraries, waste utility, construction companies, personnel management and accounting. It also maintains partnerships and/or holdings in for example, banks, investment agencies, communication provider, theater, and parking garages (in all over 220 such entities).
The city plans to develop its public service delivery further into what is described as a principal-agent model: The city and its divisions and agencies act as the principal, which guarantees delivery, and steers and delivers core state functions (police, judiciary, and finance). Most, if not all, of the other services should be provided by two types of agents: the first ones build a "market of service delivery" characterized by competition, free agents, and service and framework agreements. To achieve this, the city plans to privatize the respective agencies active in this field. The second type is a "citizen commune" characterized by self-organization, decentralization, and contracts on services, goals and public funding. This is to exploit social engagement and competence from the bottom-up, and support it with public means.
Bremen Online Services will allow all agencies, public, private or from the third sector, to deliver their services in an electronic fashion. Because it also acts as an electronic counter, it can support new models of service delivery as well, where citizens will find the service they need without regard to the status of the particular service provider in question.
For the first three years, the Office for New Media and eGovernment (formerly IT) is in charge of the project. This office is part of the General Organization and Personnel division of the Senator for Finance, and sets the overall IT strategy for all city departments and enforces compliance with IT standards. The office partners with the other departments and their IT specialists, as the latter maintain the control over their own IT systems. In order to insure wide spread involvement throughout the city's departments, the office adopts a cooperative leadership style. It is also paramount to provide the individual departments with the necessary funding for personnel and IT resources so that they can participate in Bremen Online Services. After federal funding ends, Bremen Online Services will have to sell their services to these departments as well as to other local governments.