Basic Info

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Nominee Information

Institutional Information

Member State Austria
Institution Name City of Vienna
Institution Type Public Agency
Administrative Level Regional
Name of initiative Alles gurgelt!
Projects Operational Years 1
Website of Institution

Question 1: About the Initiative

Is this a public sector initiative? Yes

Question 2: Categories

Is the initiative relevant to one of the UNPSA categories? Special Category: Institutional Resilience and Innovative Response to Covid-19 Pandemic

Question 3: Sustainable Development Goals

Is the initiative relevant to any of the 17 SDG(s)? Yes
If you answered yes above, please specify which SDG is the most relevant to the initiative. (hold Ctrl to select multiple)
Goal 3: Good Health
Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Which target(s) within the SDGs specified above is the initiative relevant to? (hold Ctrl to select multiple)
3.3 By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases
9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and trans-border infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
11.5 By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
11.b By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels

Question 4: Implementation Date

Has the initiative been implemented for two or more years Yes
Please provide date of implemenation (dd/MM/yyyy) 25 Jan 2021

Question 5: Partners

Has the United Nations or any UN agencies been involved in this initiative? No
Which UN agency was involved? (hold Ctrl to select multiple)
Please provide details

Question 6: Previous Participation

1. Has the initiative submitted an application for consideration in the past 3 years (2017-2019)? No

Question 7: UNPSA Awards

Has the initiative already won a UNPS Award? No

Question 8: Other Awards

Has the initiative won other Public Service Awards? Yes
If yes, please specify name, organisation and year. City of Vienna Administration Award 2021

Question 9: How did you learn about UNPSA?

How did you learn about UNPSA? GOVERNMENT

Question 10: Validation Consent

I give consent to contact relevant persons and entities to inquire about the initiative for validation purpose. Yes

Nomination form


Question 1

Please briefly describe the initiative, what issue or challenge it aims to address and specify its objectives (300 words maximum)
For almost two years, COVID-19 has been heavily impacting the way we live. By taking regular tests, you have the possibility to protect yourself and the people around you. The wide range of tests offered by the City of Vienna was thus complemented by the easy, convenient and safe possibility of PCR-home tests. All people who live, work or are educated in Vienna have the possibility of taking regular free-of-charge PCR mouth rinse/gargle tests for COVID-19. How does the project “Alles gurgelt!” work? People can register online ( to get a barcode in order to pick up test sets in one of over 150 drugstores in Vienna. The patented test set is accompanied by a webapp to gather the necessary data and to ensure the right application. After performing the test at home, people can hand in the sample in over 680 supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations. The postal service is collecting the samples all over the city and transfers them to the laboratory twice a day everyday. In a separate logistic channel, test sets are also provided in every school in Vienna with the possibility of handing them in and getting them transferred to the laboratory as well. With pooling methods and very structured processes, the laboratory can handle up to 500,000 samples every day. The test person then receives the result conveniently within a period of 24 hours via e-mail.

Question 2

Please explain how the initiative is linked to the selected category (100 words maximum)
The initiative is directed to provide an easy and convenient access to PCR-tests for everyone who is in Vienna. The initiative ensures resilience by building on a strong network of Viennese companies together with the City of Vienna and the Vienna Economic Chamber. The labor-saving and efficient test strategy is an innovative tool to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and to protect everyone who is in Vienna by getting everyone tested regularly.

Question 3

a. Please specify which SDGs and target(s) the initiative supports and describe concretely how the initiative has contributed to their implementation (200 words maximum)
The initiative supports Goal 3: Good Health, Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure as well as Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. Furthermore, the targets 3.3, 9.1, 11.5 and 11.b are tackled with the Alles gurgelt! initiative. How did the initiative contribute to that? Alles gurgelt! promotes that the pandemic is soon contained and thus a general welfare and health in the city is ensured. These measures are intended to maintain economic life. The tests are available to all Viennese free of charge and everyone is treated equally – therefore, the initiative provides a reliable and convenient test infrastructure for everyone in Vienna, including commuters from other regions. Companies have joined forces to achieve the goal of "fighting the pandemic" as soon as possible and the citizen benefits from this union in the present and sustainable. The initiative is aimed at ending the COVID-19 pandemic and provides learnings and insights for future pandemics or for ending epidemics in other regions worldwide. Furthermore, the initiative’s structure may be used as a reference for future plans to become more resilient to disasters as a region and to integrate the learnings into a holistic disaster risk management.
b. Please describe what makes the initiative sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms (100 words maximum)
The social aspect of the Alles gurgelt! project is guaranteed by making sure that anyone can use the PCR test free of charge and by providing a convenient and easy access. Economically, all participating companies provide additional jobs in Vienna through this project and thus contribute to the stabilization of the economy. Furthermore, the initiative is aimed to prevent future lockdowns and to sustainably normalize social, economic and cultural life in Vienna.

Question 4

a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant shortfall in governance, public administration or public service within the context of a given country or region. (200 words maximum)
The joint goal of the project is to prevent lockdowns, normalize social, economic and cultural life and reduce the workload of hospitals and medical staff. The City of Vienna ensures motivation of their citizens by making the process easy, fast and reliable: The citizens get PCR home-tests free of charge and can take them regularly. The samples can be handed in all over the city. In addition, the Vienna Economic Chamber was promoting the ramp-up of the project to their members and is especially supporting affected industries such as body-related service providers, hotels and gastronomy with an easy test strategy.
b. Please describe how your initiative addresses gender inequality in the country context. (100 words maximum)
The initiative is available for everyone in Vienna and does not discriminate.
c. Please describe who the target group(s) were, and explain how the initiative improved outcomes for these target groups. (200 words maximum)
The target group is everyone who is in Vienna: Everyone who lives there, goes to work there, gets educated there or wants to stay there for a holiday. In addition to the easy and convenient pick up of test sets in drugstores all over Vienna, the initiative provided additional access points for several groups: social and health care institutions got own deliveries already starting in the pilot phase of the projects and schools get their own logistic system. Furthermore, social workers as well as teachers who might need to assist others in using the test set where provided with video tutorials as well as onboarding sessions from the webapp provider. With this inclusive approach to testing, all target groups are able to feel safe with regular PCR test results and therefore life in Vienna can be normalized.

Question 5

a. Please describe how the initiative was implemented including key developments and steps, monitoring and evaluation activities, and the chronology. (300 words)
The initiative started on January 25, 2021 in a test run: At first, selected social institutions from the City of Vienna and selected companies from the Vienna Economic Chamber were provided with test sets to regularly test their employees. The test sets were already accompanied by a webapp to gather the necessary data and to ensure the right application. Furthermore, logistics to the selected institutions and companies and from there to the laboratory was organized. The laboratory already had processes for pooling and efficient analysis in place as well as the digital interface to authorities and the test set webapp. Shortly after implementation, crucial services such as a hotline for users and the creation of press information was added to the project team. After a few weeks of test runs, the initiative was formerly announced by the Mayor of Vienna and the President of the Vienna Economic Chamber and became an initiative for the whole Viennese population, starting on March 29, 2021. From this day onwards, everybody who lived or worked in Vienna was able to pick up test sets in over 150 drugstores in Vienna and return them in over 680 supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations every day. Every week, the project team monitored the performance of all project partners, created valuable learnings and transformed them into actions. In the end of May a test run with selected schools started to implement the initiative in a similar way. The concept was refined together with the Board of Education and implemented for all Viennese middle and secondary schools. This overall school testing started with the new school years in September 2021 with separate webapp features to fulfill the needs of the schools and a separate logistic system.
b. Please clearly explain the obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. (100 words)
The project has a structured project management which is responsible for a weekly reporting of all key figures as well as identified complaints from users (via the hotline) and error reports from all project partners. In weekly coordination meetings with all project partners and the steering committee the biggest obstacles are discussed together to find a joint solution.

Question 6

a. Please explain in what ways the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region. (100 words maximum)
Alles gurgelt! is a convenient test offer for all citizens which leads to a high-quality PCR result. The sample can be taken at home and handed in within a maximum walking distance of 10 minutes from home. The test set itself was developed and patented by a Viennese start-up. It combines a physical product with a web-based solution. In addition, the laboratory innovated their processes by using pooling and state-of-the-art machinery. The collaboration of the project partners (test set developer, laboratory, distribution partner, logistic partners, hotline and project management) ensures that results are available in a maximum of 24 hours.
b. Please describe, if relevant, how the initiative drew inspiration from successful initiatives in other regions, countries and localities. (100 words maximum)
c. If emerging and frontier technologies were used, please state how those were integrated into the initiative and/or how the initiative embraced digital government. (100 words maximum)
The consumer who tests with “Alles gurgelt!” benefits from end-to-end data transmission. There is automated communication from the user via the webapp and the laboratory to the official reporting systems. The verification of the person is done by scanning documents and the photo-monitored gargling process. The findings are automatically transmitted and entered into the Green Passport. The high-tech PCR laboratory ensures rapid and reliable evaluation of the samples thanks to automated pooling with a pipetting robot. Furthermore, a laboratory software was developed to optimize the laboratory process. The laboratory itself also performs next generation sequencing to quickly detect new mutations.

Question 7

a. Has the initiative been transferred and/or adapted to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions) to your organization’s knowledge? If yes, please explain where and how. (200 words maximum)
Yes, the initiative has been transferred from the City of Vienna to selected districts in Upper Austria. Learnings were shared among the responsible institutional players, e.g. among the regional health directorates. Furthermore, selected project partners stayed the same to ensure a good transfer. The project teams regularly shared obstacles and learnings.
b. If not yet transferred/adapted to other contexts, please describe the potential for transferability. (200 words maximum)
In addition to the actual transfer to Upper Austria, the Vienna Economic Chamber reached out to several other cities and regions to pitch the initiative.

Question 8

a. What specific resources (i.e. financial, human or others) were used to implement the initiative? (100 words maximum)
To implement, the City of Vienna asked the supreme health authority of Austria for permission to carry out the program and for the coverage of costs. It is carried out as a testing offer for the entire Viennese population, employees of Viennese companies and Viennese pupils as a screening program according to § 5a Epidemic Act 1950. Human resources are used from the municipal departments (health, press and education), the Vienna Economic Chamber and all project partners (laboratory, test set developer, service hotline, distribution and logistics, project management) by structuring the initiative as a project with regular updates and meetings.
b. Please explain what makes the initiative sustainable over time, in financial and institutional terms. (100 words maximum)
Fast tests are an effective mean to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the City of Vienna and the Vienna Economic Chamber create a “protective shield” for their citizens. With a PCR test, people have a valid negative result for a period of 48 hours after performing the gargle test. By repeating this process regularly, citizens are safe and social, economic and cultural life can be normalized. The “Alles gurgelt!” project is a labor-saving test strategy as people can take the sample by themselves at home with digital assistance. Compliance and also data security is ensured via the webapp.

Question 9

a. Was the initiative formally evaluated either internally or externally?
b. Please describe how it was evaluated and by whom? (100 words maximum)
Before carrying out the initiative, the City of Vienna applied the principles of economy, practicality and efficiency to ensure audit security. The same principles are used during the project for each decision which is made. Furthermore, the project has an expert panel (advisory board), consisting of scientific experts in the fields of diagnostic corona testing, virology, epidemiology and models, logistics, new media and health economics. These experts give regular input on different topics of the project. Moreover, the COVID-19 crisis unit of Vienna gets a weekly report of the project to evaluate and decide next steps.
c. Please describe the indicators and tools used (100 words maximum)
Weekly reports are provided from all project members and are discussed together: Indicators include the positivity rate, distributed test sets, collected test sets, participation rates, delayed samples, turnaround time, etc. The report is provided in a written form to the decision makers. Another evaluation tool is the weekly coordination meeting between all project partners and the steering committee of the initiative. In this meeting indicators are presented and together learnings and decisions are drawn.
d. What were the main findings of the evaluation (e.g. adequacy of resources mobilized for the initiative, quality of implementation and challenges faced, main outcomes, sustainability of the initiative, impacts) and how this information is being used to inform the initiative’s implementation. (200 words maximum)
The findings of the evaluations are being used for continuous optimizations and adaptions of the project. Especially the pass-through time and the number of delivered test sets are important for the planning of the needed resources of laboratory capacity and number of produced test sets. With every evaluation, adequacy of resources used as well as quality issues are challenged together in the project team.

Question 10

Please describe how the initiative is inscribed in the relevant institutional landscape (for example, how it was situated with respect to relevant government agencies, and how the institutional relationships with those have been operating). (200 words maximum)
The initiative was set up by the City of Vienna (MA 24 and MA 15 – the responsible municipal departments for healthcare) together with the Vienna Economic Chamber. Decisions on measures for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic are made by the COVID-19 crisis unit of the City of Vienna. The initiative is based on a tender from the Bundesbeschaffung Austria for the execution of the SARS-Cov-2 laboratory analysis by means of PCR tests incl. logistics, software and test set for the City of Vienna. The best bidder was selected to carry out the initiative and in addition to that, municipal departments from the City of Vienna such as the Press and Information Service and the Board of Education became part of the project coordination team to ensure efficient operations.

Question 11

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe which stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative and how this engagement took place. (200 words maximum)
The initiative was from the beginning onwards a collaborative project between public institutions (several municipal departments of Vienna and the Vienna Economic Chamber) and private companies (laboratory, test set provider, service hotline, distribution partner, logistic partners). All project partners are committed to a good partnership and started early on to work together in weekly meetings to design, implement and regularly evaluate the initiative. During the implementation phase, crucial stakeholders from politics were updated regularly and included for the engagement of the public. Users, as the most important stakeholders, were engaged through a campaign by the press department of the City including advertising from the mayor, with different celebrities and on different channels. Furthermore, organizations, social services, youth camps and schools were addressed separately to appeal every age and their needs individually. These customized solutions have succeeded in making access to testing convenient and encouraging engagement among all audiences.

Question 12

Please describe the key lessons learned, and how your organization plans to improve the initiative. (200 words maximum)
The easy, safe and convenient test strategy “Alles gurgelt!” proved to be a very effective tool to detect the virus early. We learned that the collaboration of all project partners and the weekly exchange and discussions are crucial for project success. With that, we were able to find fast solutions and overcome any obstacle. It proved valuable that we started the initiative with a smaller target group and get feedback from them before doing the rollout for the whole city and before developing a concept for Viennese schools. We are constantly trying to get better in all aspects of the project: in the webapp new features are implemented regularly to make the digital assistance easier, the laboratory constantly reviews processes and time wasters to make the analysis more efficient and the logistics providers are optimizing routes and stops to make the delivery to the laboratory faster. The constant management attention from key stakeholders of the City of Vienna makes it possible to identify challenges early and react fast together with the project partners.

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