Innovation is the ultimate way to change the way we do things. By supporting innovation, we can encourage the development of services that are more inclusive, more personal, more user-friendly and safer. We will also use the opportunities offered by data to improve the way we tackle societal issues and challenges. The way in which our living environment and our cities are laid out, a process in which maintaining social distancing is one of the challenges facing society, is also a digital and data challenge. Innovation is never a goal in itself, but simply a means to offering quick solutions for the issues facing society, and to improving government services.
What have we achieved:
Within NL DIGIbeter, we use innovative model projects to tackle societal challenges. In NL DIGIbeter 2019, we described four example projects: use of water in periods of drought, work and income, government services relating to death and government services relating to moving home. The latter two examples fall into the category of the life events approach. They place the citizen or the entrepreneur in the spotlight. Together, all levels of government are examining who contributes which element that makes it possible to provide good (digital) service. This approach is a common thread throughout NL DIGIbeter. All components of government contribute to the eventual result, namely offering citizens and businesses better service and improving the way in which societal challenges are tackled.
Life events method
We have chosen to start at this point by reporting on the overall approach.
To bring about a better match between government services and the world in which citizens and entrepreneurs live and operate, we have developed an approach based on life events. Life events is the term used to describe any far-reaching occurrence such as moving home or starting a new business.
In the ‘Life events method’, we operate across the boundaries of individual government organisations. Based on interviews with citizens and entrepreneurs, together with all the relevant government organisations, we assess the bottlenecks in communication and service provision, and work towards achieving real improvements. Wherever opportunities emerge in the short term, we solve the problems straight away. Other potential solutions are further elaborated in consultation with the relevant government organisations. We have set to work on eight life events.
A loved one has died
I am moving home
In elaborating the life events ‘I wish to go to university’ and ‘I am preparing to give/receive care’, further studies are being carried out among (potential) students and clients/family care givers.
Start a business
For the business domain, we are working alongside the Chamber of Commerce and the Tax and Customs Administration on improving the way in which entrepreneurs can register when they wish to start a business (‘I want to start a business’, see page 88). The life events ‘I have to stop as an entrepreneur’ and ‘Death of an entrepreneur’ have been further elaborated. We are now in the final stages for the life event ‘I am making my business sustainable’.
Decisions on improving programmes for these life events will be taken towards the summer. Our ambition is to organise government services from the perspective of the world of people, across the boundaries of individual government organisations. We are actively encouraging this process via the websites ondernemersplein.nl and rijksoverheid.nl.
These websites offer better access to government information via checklists on life events. Increasingly, this approach means that citizens and entrepreneurs are able to receive a single response from all levels of government. We have launched a new investigation into how the checklists on life events can be personalised and further developed, in collaboration with rijksoverheid.nl and MijnOverheid. A valuable source of inspiration for this process is the ‘moments of life app’ used in Singapore. The terms and conditions for the Digital Government Innovation Budget now include the requirement that attention must be focused on the role of innovation in the chain of each life event.
We intend to broaden use of the life events method within digital government. For the life event ‘From unemployment to work’, for example, we are mapping out the opportunities that can be offered by standardising the terms used. It is not uncommon for the same term to mean different things to different people, or that different terms are used to mean the same thing, without there being a substantive reason for doing so. It is the task of government organisations to join forces in organising government services in such a way that it is both clear and understandable to citizens and businesses.
At the same time, within this framework, each government organisation must be free to make its own choices, appropriate to its own task and target group, and applicable to the stage of development of the organisation.
We will be investigating how this can be taken into account, and how the process can at the same time be accelerated. We will be working alongside a series of stakeholders such as the expert group User Needs First (Gebruiker Centraal), the People First (Mens Centraal) programme and the Standardisation Forum.
A loved one has died
It was decided in the coalition agreement that government services must be organised more from the perspective of the citizen or the entrepreneur. Taking Ellen as our example we see how (digital) government services tie in with dealing with the issues arising from the death of her mother.
Ellen (aged 24) is studying in senior secondary vocational education (MBO) to become a furniture maker. Last week, her mother died. Ellen always enjoyed a close relationship with her mother. Following her parents’ divorce, the two of them lived together in Rotterdam. Now, following the death of her mother, she has a lot to deal with. Fortunately, her uncle is there to help her.
What steps must Ellen take to organise the issues surrounding the death of her mother?
The undertaker pays a visit
The undertaker reports to the municipal authorities that Mrs M.A. Niesten, Ellen’s mother, has died. Via the Personal Records Database (BRP), other government organisations are informed, so that her mother is automatically removed from their records. Such services as pension payment, State Pension (AOW) and care benefits are halted.
What I need to arrange
Ellen has so much to deal with. She has no idea where to start. Her uncle types the Google search ‘death and government’. On the government website rijksoverheid.nl, they find the checklist ‘Death, what do I need to arrange’. Here, in clear language, Ellen and her uncle find out what they need to do.
Requesting assistance from the information point
Many of the things Ellen and her uncle need to arrange are digital, and both have limited digital skills. Ellen decides to visit the information point at the library.
Mountains of post
Ellen is faced with a huge pile of correspondence. From both public parties and businesses and organisations. Sometimes she can no longer see the wood for the trees. It is a huge job to mail or write to all those organisations!
Ellen and her studies
Ellen is currently studying, and due to the death of her mother, she is now entitled to an additional student grant. Thanks to the help of the information point, she is able to apply for the grant from the Educational Executive Agency (DUO) using her DigiD.
Most important issues dealt with
Ellen has applied for an additional student grant from DUO and has received a confirmation of her application via MijnOverheid (MyGovernment). Now that she has more experience of arranging her affairs digitally, she is pleased that everything is available easily and clearly, in one place. Ellen is relieved that the most important issues have been dealt with.
What facilities does Ellen use?
Personal Records Database (BRP)
The Personal Records Database (BRP) contains personal data about the residents of the Netherlands. In the future, people will be able to take more control (data control) and see what has been done with their data (MijnOverheid).
The website rijksoverheid.nl is the common website for all twelve Ministries. Information is provided on the basis of life events. In this way, the information matches better with the needs of citizens and entrepreneurs.
Information point at the library
Digital Government Information Points are available to people who have trouble with digital services and who have questions about doing business with government. The Information Points are located in libraries. This lowers the threshold and makes them easy places for people to drop in on.
When the programme was launched in 2019, 15 libraries joined in.
Pilot ‘One call is enough’
A pilot study is being carried out to investigate whether it is possible to rely on a single contact with a contact person and how this approach improves communication. A system will be created that allows you to inform an organisation of someone’s death, with just a single telephone call. That organisation can then check with the Centre for Family History so that it is no longer necessary to submit a death certificate.
The DigiD app enables people to simply log into government services.
You can receive digital post from the government via MijnOverheid. It is also the place where you can access all your personal data.
This persona is entirely fictitious and was prepared on the basis of surveys and interviews by ‘People First’ in combination with input from the digital government programmes.
Do you want to know more about innovation? Read the: We invest in innovation (PDF, 223Kb)