Being able to access public administration services online is extremely practical. Citizens not only save a lot of time in this way. In addition, they are no longer tied to the often very limited opening hours of public offices. Online access also has many advantages for companies. There is no need to go to the relevant authorities, which saves a lot of working time. A few years ago, the federal government set the goal that the 100 most important administrative services should be available online. Furthermore, the Bundestag passed the Online Access Act (OZG) in August 2017. This stipulates that all public administration services must be available via the Internet by the end of 2022. In the light of this development, it is time to review the progress of implementation so far.

 

OZG: Study examines implementation to date

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy has commissioned a study on this topic. It will review the implementation of the objective of making the 100 most widely used administrative services available online. In order to examine this issue, the authors first identified the administrative services that citizens and businesses use most frequently. For the 100 most important services, they checked whether and in what form they were accessible online. The result is initially positive. Of the 100 administrative transactions checked, slightly more than half can already be used via the Internet. This means that a significant part of the objective has already been achieved. However, a lot of work is still needed to make the other services available online.

 

The majority of the available services are uniformly designed for the entire federal territory.

The study did not only examine whether the corresponding services could be used online. It was also determined whether the requirements of the companies using them had been adequately implemented. An important aspect, for example, is whether the respective services are uniformly designed nationwide. Many companies do not limit their activities exclusively to a single federal state, but are active throughout Germany. However, if the offers for an administrative process differ depending on the location in terms of user guidance, functional logic and the design of the user interface, companies will incur considerable additional costs. The study found that most of the services available online are consistent. In total, this is the case for 44 of the 100 most used services.

 

 

No Single Point of Contact available

Many companies make use of several online public administration services. However, the study identified a major problem: There is no Single Point of Contact. It would be very helpful for companies if a central portal were available, through which all services could be accessed. However, this is not yet the case. There are 21 different online portals for the 44 services available nationwide. A total of 15 user accounts are required for their use. This significantly increases the processing effort for the companies. Each individual user account requires time-consuming maintenance - for example, to assign authorizations and manage master data. That's why the single point of contact is at the top of companies' wish lists. However, it remains to be seen whether the CMA will bring improvements in this area.

 

Possibilities for automatic processing so far insufficient

The handling of online services can look quite different in different companies. A small one-man business usually fills out the respective forms directly via the web browser. Alternatively, it is possible to install software provided by the relevant authorities on your own computer. This speeds up the process, especially for services that are regularly used. Large companies, on the other hand, claim to automate the processes. This requires a machine-to-machine (M2M) interface. It would be desirable for all public offices to offer all three options. But especially in the area of M2M interfaces there are still considerable deficiencies. This service is currently only available for 23 of the 100 most important services.