The German Federal Ministry of the Interior announced on 8 March 2012 the launch of a new eGovernment initiative in spring 2012. This initiative is intended to satisfy the information needs of the federal, state and local authorities in relation to De-Mail and the new identity card by developing a broad internet-based knowledge platform, and by supporting the practical implementation of infrastructure in targeted projects.
In Germany, citizens are able to complete many administrative procedures online, anytime and from anywhere. In many cases, however, the electronic settlement is not enough and documents need to be personally signed and printed.
De-Mail is a communications service project aimed at enabling the exchange of electronic documents between citizens, public authorities and businesses in a encrypted, protected and verified manner over the Internet. On 6 March 2012 during CeBIT, three providers received from the Federal Government Commissioner for Information Technology their approval as the first registered De-Mail providers; the introduction of De-Mail is therefore imminent.
With De-Mail and the electronic identity card, authorities will be able to offer significantly more high-quality services, in less time and with no disruptions. They will therefore be able to reduce administrative costs and to meet the citizens' expectations of a modern public administration.
Although decision-makers in the public sector have seen the potential of both new infrastructures in the German public administration, there is a great need for comprehensive information on the use of De-Mail and the online functions of the new ID card. In addition to the organisational adaptation of the -so far, still often paper-based - work processes and the technical adjustment of the specific procedures, there are also a number of legal issues to be resolved like, for example, requirements pertaining to documents in written form.
The comprehensive exchange of specialist knowledge across administrative levels of federal, state and municipal governments is meant to serve three purposes:
The first measure of the eGovernment initiative concerns the timely publication of as much knowledge and experience as possible on the Internet. It is planned to provide comprehensive information on best practice projects as well as on technical, organisational and legal issues relating to the integration of De-mail and the new identity card.
In addition to specific information regarding implementation projects, there will also be contact persons with experience in integration. With the public knowledge platform, a solid information basis will be created for decision-makers in the federal, state and local authorities.
The key measure will be the support to pilot projects and implementation projects. In this way, best practice solutions for federal, state and local authorities will be identified and piloted. According to the 'one-for-all' principle, attractive applications and procedures with high added value for many users in the German administration should be located and implemented.