50th ICA Conference


The Role of ICA in the World of Digital Processing Throughout Our Conference History

Although Digital Processing or computing is a relatively young industry The International Council for Information Technology in Government Administration (ICA) is to celebrate its 50th Golden Anniversary Annual Conference in Medellin, Colombia during November 2016. Rarely, if ever, has any organisation given so much support and guidance for so many years to so many senior officials within any environment.

It is generally accepted that ENIAC was the first general purpose computer (1946) although in fact it was only used for what might be termed as military purposes. The first time-critical business application computer was designed and built by J. Lyons & Co., a company better known for its Corner House Tea shops in the UK. In 1951 the LEO I computer became operational and ran the world's first regular routine business office tasks. The company went on to form the LEO Computers Ltd in 1954 then its LEOII computers were installed in many British companies including Ford, British Oxygen and the 'clerical factory' of the Ministry of Pensions & National Insurance at Newcastle in 1958 where it ran the payroll for over 6000 staff. In 1961 the same site installed the largest computer in Europe, the EMIDEC 2400 with the then unheard of 16KB of store, shortly doubled to 32KB, to run the Graduated Pensions payments for the whole of the UK. Over the next few years most large organisations throughout the world in both the public and private sectors bought computers for their large scale administrative needs but there was little coordination in the selection and procurement process and procurement was usually only for a single task; payroll, record keeping and the like.

It was in this environment, back in 1967, that a number of Government officials decided upon an unofficial meeting of data processing authorities in federal administrations. This meeting of minds led to a more formal meeting in Edinburgh in 1968 when the participants decided in favour of institutionalising these contacts among central governmental data processing authorities on an annual basis. It started as a kind of informal forum, without creating an official organisation. This was the beginning of ICA. At its second conference ICA established its international study groups to examine topics of joint interest between annual conferences. These twin activities are to this day the main processes by which ICA fulfills its objectives.

For nearly 50 years ICA has maintained and realised its aims and objectives in what remains the most volatile of environments in terms of both technical and social evolution. From the single task computer of the 60’s to the Digital Environment of the 21st Century ICA remains the impartial and informal organisation of cumulative wisdom and expertise. Its success is due in part to its (arguably) unique role in that it has no political or commercial business interests and works outside geographical boundaries and other constraints.


Landmark Conferences

3rd ICA Conference:
“Formulation ADP policy, organisational structure, ADP in economic and social planning”

Was the fledgling profession of ‘computing’ on a course out of control? Two areas of concern needed immediate action. On one hand there was the development of standards for punch cards, punch tape, magnetic tapes and languages. While on the other, there was strong suspicion concerning binary/octal/hexadecimal methodologies which were questioned in regards to privacy and protection of information. A widespread fear of what was termed as the “1984 syndrome” was putting up resistance to new technological breakthroughs.

Jerusalem, Israel
26-29 January, 1970

10th ICA Conference:
“ADP in government – achievements and prospects”

The apparent “sea change” or quantum leap in the process of administrative systems was acknowledged. First strategic review of ICA ‘Quo Vadis’ was published.

The Hague, The Netherlands
28-30 September, 1976

18th ICA Conference:
“Policies and strategies for information processing in government”

Personal Computers (PCs) begin to have a strong impact on government processing tasks. On a side note, the “1984 syndrome” turned out to be a bit different for ICA during this conference. The organization was left without a leader and for causes outside of ICA’s control. Dissolution was avoided through unity and creation of Editor/Treasurer post for secretarial support.

Nicosia, Cyprus
23-26 October, 1984


25th ICA Anniversary Conference:
“The economics of IT in government – are the benefits real?”

The foundations for system projects calling for abolition of current budgeting and accounting procedures including ROI get challenged. This called for an IT constitution and commitment to OS architectures.

Atlanta, USA
28 Oct.-1 Nov., 1991


29th ICA Conference:
“Getting the most from IT”

Major Strategic Review led to formalisation and introduction of Technology into all ICA Procedures presenting an innovative ICA into 21st Century. The identification of a future crisis to be known as the Millennium Bug was recognised for the first time.

22-27 October, 1995


36th ICA Conference - Singapore :
“Innovating and Transforming Government through Information Technology”

The emergence of E-Government along with citizens’ needs for access to information became the major topic for the next decade and to this day. Technical milestones include the evolution and rise of Social Networks, mobile technologies, BYOD, Cloud, etc. while the need to integrate the public sector with business and citizens’ demands brought in the limelight service delivery, security, cross-platform delivery, and the major factor-user satisfaction.

22-24 October, 2002


50th ICA Golden Anniversary Conference:
“Digital Government: Designing for the citizen experience”

Tailoring digital government to improve citizen experience. The role of the CIO in this leading digital transformation is ever evolving. A look at tools and methodologies to bring forth solutions and experiences that will make citizen digital engagement not just an aspiration but a reality.

Medellín, Colombia
13-16 November, 2016



National Representatives

Each member country or organization appoints a National Representative and a Deputy National Representative to the ICA Council. National Representatives actively participate in ICA's work on behalf of the member country or organization and are responsible for contributing to the formulation of ICA policy and priorities, participation in Study Groups, for electing its officials and for ensuring its financial stability. The National Representative is the prime contact for the Programme Committee in setting up the Annual Conference, for the Treasurer in arranging for payment of the annual membership fee, for the Vice-Chairman in establishing Study Groups for the Editor in producing ICA publications.

Select the link for the list of ICA National Representatives.

ICA Publications

All ICA publications can be found on this web site www.ica-it.org. ICA publish a "General Issue" every year. This publication provides a forum for regular in-depth consideration of topical issues. It contains the latest news on ICA activities as well as articles of general interest to those concerned with the use of IT in the public sector. In addition, once a year, the Proceedings Edition of ICA Information provides a full record of ICA's Annual Conference. Study Group Reports are special publications. ICA also publishes occasional documents and advice on topics of current interest.

Annual ICA Conference

One of the ICA`s major activities is the ICA Annual Council Meeting held each fall preceding the annual ICA Conference of National Representatives. The practice is to rotate conferences among member countries and this year, the ICA is held its 47thannual conference in Lisbon, Portugal in October 2013.

The ICA Conferences have been held as follows:

A list of ICA conferences and themes, prior to 1999, is available as part of the History of the ICA.

Each conference is organized around an overarching theme, one that is of strategic interest for ICA members. The conference format allows delegates, normally no more than five per jurisdiction, to share knowledge through formal presentations, panels, working groups, plenary sessions and round table discussions.

ICA's Relation to other Major Organisations

ICA maintains ongoing relations with several international organizations with activities in the IT field, for example:

  • The European Commission in Brussels
  • The Commonwealth Network of Information Technology for Development (COMNET-IT)
  • European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA)
  • International Institute for Administrative Sciences (IIAS)
  • Conferencia de Autoridades Iberoamericanas de Informatica (CAIBI)
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP)

These relations mainly take the form of mutual attendance at meetings and conferences and the sharing of best practices and contacts in emerging technology management.

Vision, Mission and Values

Our Vision

ICA aims to be recognised as the world’s foremost international networking forum for the exchange of information and insights among leading government information technology organisations.

Our Mission

  1. To provide a valuable international forum for senior government officials from all over the world, focused on how latest developments on information technology can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government services and operations;
  2. To share information and insights, support the formulation of information technology strategies, laws, policies and practices;
  3. To facilitate the exchange of ideas, knowledge and experience by holding annual conferences, expanding member networks, creating high value content and gain further visibility of our work via communication means.

Our Values

Our values define who we are as an organisation. They influence the way we work with each other and the way we engage with our partners and potential members.

  1. Networking – we are an informal forum providing possibility to network and share ideas with fellow colleagues in the governments all over the world. 
  2. Professionalism – we seek for professional relationships and high quality expertise in ICT. We aim to be a trendsetter for ICT use in the government.
  3. Innovation – we share our knowledge and best practices in order to build on excellence in IT development and implementation in the government. Exchanging ideas and know-how on newest IT trends is our great advantage. We seek to see ahead of changes and thus create a sustainable value for our current and future members.
  4. Global – we are a global community, uniting members from Europe, Africa, North and South America, Oceania and Asia.