“Correspondence between the public and the administration will be based on digital mail,” said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg at the presentation of the Government’s new digitalisation programme today. He announced that the next major Government reform will be full digitalisation of the public sector.
Digital communication is to be the main means of contacting the administration. Relevant services will be provided online and members of the public will have to actively select paper-based solutions if they prefer this option.
“We will use information technology to make public services better, simpler and more efficient. We will meet the general public and the business sector where they are and when it suits them. Digitalisation will mean a more efficient public administration and will release resources to address major welfare issues,” said Mr Stoltenberg at the presentation of the Government’s new digitalisation programme today.
This work will begin with three important tasks: amending the Public Administration Act and reviewing other legislation to remove any obstacles to digitalisation of the public administration; establishing a secure system of digital mailboxes whereby all individuals and companies would each have a single mailbox for all digital mail from the public administration; and carrying out a tender for high-security electronic identification solutions. A system for contact information and reservations against digital post will also be developed. Many services have already been digitalised, but great potential still remains.
“For example, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration is discontinuing its system of issuing vehicle stickers, and will now check digitally whether the annual motor vehicle tax has been paid,” pointed out Mr Stoltenberg.
Letters, forms and invoices will as a rule be sent, received and processed digitally. Automation will be used where expedient. In other words, the Government intends digital mail to eventually replace correspondence by letter.
Minister of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs Rigmor Aasrud commented, “Ninety per cent of us use the Internet every day. Now we want the administration to fully digitalise its services and communicate in a good way with its users where they are – in other words online. I think people expect this.”
The Government’s digitalised administration system will be based on the following principles:
- Digital communication is to be the main means of communication with the public administration.
- The public administration is to provide comprehensive and user-friendly digital services.
- Logging on to public services online is to be simple and secure.
- Each individual and company is to receive mail in a single, secure digital mailbox.
- Individuals and companies will be notified of incoming mail by text message and email.
- Assistance will be provided to help people access and use digital services.
- The ICT systems are to take the public administration’s processes and organisation into account.
- Personal data will be protected and information security assured.
- Digitalisation of areas covered by several services will be coordinated.
The Government is also developing a strategy for ICT and value creation, “Digital agenda”, which will be presented during the course of 2012.