Current Public Administration Magazine (July - 2015) - Improving Services by Digital Technology

Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine

Information and Communication Technology

Improving Services by Digital Technology

The present Government is determined to reduce the regulatory burden, for both individuals and businesses. It also intends to prioritise the digital provision of public services. This will al Identity. It is a personal combination of a username and a password. With a DigiD, you can safely use the online services of public authorities.

Digital security and identity

If you conduct online transactions with public authorities, it is very important that nobody else should be able to use your identity. Information relating to private citizens and businesses is therefore rigorously protected, and access to them is strictly regulated. The Personal Data Protection Act regulates how organisations handle personal information.

Municipal Personal Records Database (GBA)

The Municipal Personal Records Database (GBA) contains the personal details of everyone who lives in the Netherlands. The public authorities use these details to help them perform their tasks, such as paying benefits and collecting taxes.

Details passed on to the Municipal Personal Records Database

Citizens have to inform the Database when certain changes occur in their lives: if they have a baby or marry abroad, for instance, or if a family member dies. Some changes are recorded automatically. If you marry in the Netherlands, for instance, the Registrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Registered Partnerships will inform the Municipal Personal Records Database.

Compact government

A priority of the present government is to make public administration as compact as possible.

This means improving public services (in part by using digital technology), managing operations more efficiently and intelligently, making the labour force more flexible, having a more efficient division of tasks among public authorities, and increasing opportunities for the citizen while reducing regulation.

The goal is an effective public administration, close to the people, that brings out the best in individuals and communities.

As the coalition agreement says:

  • Central government, the provinces, the municipalities and the water authorities will restrict themselves to their core tasks. For the provinces, these lie in the areas of spatial planning, the economy and the natural environment.’
  • ‘The tasks of government will be performed at a level that is as close as possible to the people.’
  • ‘No more than two tiers of government will be concerned with the same subject in a given policy area.’

Central government is transferring some of its tasks to the municipalities, provinces and water authorities. The municipalities and provinces, for instance, are taking over tasks in areas of special concern to their residents, such as youth care and public transport. The principles of the coalition agreement have been translated into the terms of the administrative agreement between central government and the municipalities.

The public authorities want to reduce the number of tiers of government. Central government, the provinces, the municipalities and the water authorities need to work in concert for citizens and businesses. But they cannot do so if their powers and responsibilities are fragmented.

As a rule, a single public task may not be carried out by more than two tiers of government. A more efficient division of tasks leads to fewer rules, fewer political office holders and fewer public servants. What is more, it saves money.


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