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TOWARDS THE ELECTRONIC GOVERNMENT

Basic facilities

Section 1: Introduction

As stated in the ‘Modernising Government’ programme and the national ICT policy agenda,
the Cabinet wishes to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Information and
Communications Technology (ICT) to improve the standard of service to the business
community and the general public. A number of spearheads have been formulated:
- Companies and citizens should be required to submit certain information to the
government only once.
- There is to be an electronic system which enables all companies and citizens to
be uniquely identified for official purposes.
- In its communication, both internal and external, the government is to use open
standards thus decreasing reliance on any one supplier or platform.
- By the year 2007, sixty-five per cent of all public services (at national, regional
and local authority level) should be provided via the Internet.

Effective use of new technologies1 will also enable improvements to be made in the
enforcement of legislation and will (markedly) improve the efficiency of government at all
levels. It will strengthen our country’s competitive position and will help to achieve the
Cabinet’s ambitious objectives further to the European Union’s Lisbon Strategy. The Internet
and other web-based technologies will also provide new opportunities for citizens, groups,
companies and social organizations to assume greater personal responsibility. There will be
greater openness, transparency, responsiveness and public sector accountability.
Another important consideration is the reduction of the administrative burden on citizens and
companies. The use of ICT offers superb opportunities to simplify the requirements for the
submission of certain types of information. There are many potential benefits to be gained.

The use of ICT for such public administration purposes is often referred to as ‘the Electronic
Government’ or simply ‘e-Government’. The outlook for e-Government is now
extremely favourable. There have been strong political impulses such as the ‘Modernising
Government’ programme, various pilot schemes to reduce administrative requirements for
companies and citizens, and a full ICT policy agenda has been published. All stakeholders
recognize the importance of cooperation in providing the main government services.
Moreover, many useful projects have been implemented (or are in preparation) in several
subsidiary areas.

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Whether between government organizations or between the government and companies or citizens.

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The full realization of the Electronic Government will require the well-managed use of ICT
facilities. All technical obstacles have now been resolved. There are two main aspects to
process management:
A The provision of basic ICT facilities such as key registers, identification numbers,
authentication, standards for data transport and suchlike.
B The development of an effective usage of basic facilities in order to provide new or
improved government services, enforcement practices and social participation.

With regard to the first of these aspects, the basic facilities can be developed centrally.
Following the initiation phase, their use can (and must) be encouraged. There must be rapid
implementation, which in some cases may require coercive action. In terms of usage, the
basic principle will be ‘yes, unless’ (i.e. the ICT facilities must be used unless a convincing
counterargument can be provided.)
The realization of the basic facilities calls for further coordination between ongoing activities.
A joint process management system must be set up. Moreover, certain agreements
concerning responsibilities, ‘ownership’, administration and making operational must be
made.
A fully coordinated, cohesive programme is required because:
- If government departments are allowed to go their own way in the implementation
and application of ICT, the developments expected by the public and business sector
on the one hand, and the government itself on the other, can never materialize. The
initiatives which have already been undertaken, particularly in the executive
departments of central government and local authorities, are proceeding in the same
direction but not always by means of the same solution. Disparity is neither necessary
nor desirable. However, no project has been developed in such as way as to preclude
cooperation.
- The House of Representatives has recommended that certain binding agreements be
reached with regard to the key registers, the Citizen Service Number (BSN, see
below) and electronic identification passes.2
- Joint development has clear advantages in terms of both costs and image (a single,
united government) and will offer better service provision and enforcement
opportunities. The House of Representatives has called for the principle of ‘collect
once, use many times’ to be observed3, whereby the information provided by a
company or individual will be used by all relevant departments. This clearly demands
the implementation of shared infrastructural facilities.
- The use of ICT can greatly reduce the administrative burden for both companies and
citizens. Again, the use of shared facilities is essential. Wherever possible, the actual

2 Motion proposed by Van der Ham and Szabo, Parliamentary Documents II, 29: 362, no. 4.
3 Motion proposed by Szabo and others, Parliamentary Documents II, 29: 362, no. 8.

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implications in terms of decreased administration will be stated during each project. If
necessary, the effects will be accelerated in order to establish as soon as possible
whether the Cabinet’s ambition of reducing administrative ‘red tape’ by twenty-five per
cent is likely to be met.

With regard to the second of the aspects listed above, it may be stated that the development
of the various services requires a very different management approach. At the end of the day,
it will be the many hundreds of government organizations, each with its own relationships with
companies and members of the public, that must undertake this process. ‘Smart’
management will not involve compulsion but will guide and encourage, ensure convergence
of activities, and will offer best practice examples and innovative solutions.
This management approach is made necessary by the major differences between the
organizations concerned: from the smallest local authority to the largest ministry, each with its
own speed of development and its own strengths and weaknesses. It is also made necessary
by the enormous variety of activities involved. Here too, due regard to the overall aim of
reducing the administrative burden will promote progress. This is made abundantly clear by
the EU Member States’ common list of 20 basic public services (12 for citizens and 8 for
businesses) in which governments can make life a little easier through the use of new
technology (See Appendix 1).

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Section 2: A cohesive programme

The activities required to implement ICT facilities which will realize the Electronic Government
fall into seven ‘domains’. Together, these form the model for the public electronic ‘information
infrastructure’. They are:
A. Electronic access to the government
B. Electronic authentication
C. Uniform numbers for companies and citizens
D. Key registers
E. Electronic personal identification (chip cards)
F. Electronic information exchange
G. Fast connections between government organizations.

Facilities are to be developed within each domain, often by means of multi-year processes
and sometimes in combination, whereby activities will straddle two or more domains. (The
ICTAL programme, for example, is concerned with facilities for the chain between the
business sector and the government, and addresses activities in all the relevant domains.) In
this section, we describe the activities in each domain. Their cross-domain relationships are
indicated where necessary, and the formal responsibilities are stated.

2.1 Domain A: Electronic access to the government


The Electronic Government begins with the publication of information about the documents,
services and products offered by the government. Much has already been accomplished in
this regard. There are countless websites offering government information, from that of the
House of Representatives to that of the smallest local authority. Under the Secretaries-
General’s twelve-point plan included in the Modernising Government programme, extensive
activities are to be developed by central government. Several activities have already been set
in motion further to the report of the Wallage Commission (on the Future of Government
Communication), and the Cabinet’s response to that report.4

Every governmental organization (or department) is responsible for its own electronic
‘information desk’. If companies or citizens are to find the information they seek, further action
is required to ensure ‘user-friendliness’. It must be possible to access the required information
with just a few clicks of the mouse. The overall aim is to create a government which is active
and which is seen to provide information to companies and citizens, while also taking
advantage of the opportunities for interactive policy-formulation. This calls for the systematic
publication of government information and full access to the services provided by the
government. By linking the various types of information and services, it will be possible to
create a single, all-embracing government information point, without having to reorganize all

4
House of Representatives, 2001-2002 Session, 26: 387, no. 12

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the underlying administrative organization. Various (cooperative) processes are already under
way in this domain. Appendix 2 presents an edited list.

2.2 Domain B: Electronic authentication


One of the goals of the electronic government is to allow certain types of transaction to be
completed ‘on line’, rather than with paper and pen at an actual office. We already see this in
the banking sector, with electronic banking and ‘PIN’ payments, as well as in many types of
commercial services, such as online mail order companies (amazon.com, wehkamp.nl,
bol.com, e-bay, etc.). E-Government services will demand that:
- users (companies and citizens) can be certain that their personal information can only
be accessed in an authorized manner, and that it is impossible for anyone to assume
another person’s identity
- users can gain access to all government organizations in the same way (rather than
having to remember a separate password or PIN number for each)
- the services are provided by a modern, efficient government which uses and re-uses
the information it already has without requiring the user to re-enter details at every
visit (i.e. ‘collect once, use many times’)
- the government has a uniform system of recording information pertaining to the
company or citizen, in the interests of effective administration and enforcement.
These points are also relevant to a number of other domains, which are examined in further
detail below. Here, we must first consider authentication methods.

Electronic authentication involves establishing that the person attempting to access a site is
who he says he is. This can be accomplished by means of a password, PIN code or ‘digital
signature’. Various forms of online authorization and identification (known by the portmanteau
word ‘authentication’) already exist in the Netherlands, and are used by banks (for online
banking), the police (online reporting of incidents), the Tax and Customs Administration
(online tax returns), Chambers of Commerce, some local authorities and a number of
independent administrative agencies. At present, each has its own system and its own
systems administration organization.

Government organizations which offer online services will no longer have to implement their
own individual authentication systems thanks to the universal Government Access Facility
(OTV). The first version of the OTV is to become operational in 2004 and is intended to bring
together the providers of authorization systems, their users (companies and citizens) and the
government departments themselves. In the form currently foreseen, the OTV will accept that
there are various authorization systems and suppliers, such as the card-readers used by
banks and the simple code as used by the Tax and Customs Administration) all of which are
suitable for low-risk transactions, as well as the software certificate system proposed by the
Chambers of Commerce.

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The OTV will not only enable companies and citizens to undertake secure transactions with
the government, but will meet the important condition of enabling the information about the
user held by the government to be re-used by its various departments. In addition, users will
be able to see which government departments hold, or have access to, information about
them, and the content of the information concerned. This answers the demands of the
Personal Data Protection Act with regard to the right to rectification of incorrect information.

The House of Representatives has recently called for a single, uniform authorization system
to be implemented for all government services. This does indeed seem an appropriate way
forward if we wish to ensure that companies and citizens do not have to remember countless
passwords and codes. A single system will enable large-scale use of (existing) electronic
keys. Moreover, many government organizations do not conduct a sufficient number of
transactions to warrant investment in an individual authorization system. The ‘shared’ system
will greatly reduce the number of passwords or codes that a person has to remember, while
relieving a number of government organizations of the costs and inconvenience of
implementing their own authorization measures.
The proposed authorization system will have no more than three layers of security:
• the high security level, in line with the PKI standard5, providing an electronic signature as
defined and required by the Wet Elektronisch Bestuurlijk Verkeer (‘Electronic
Administrative Data Transport Act’)
• the medium security level, in line with the current tools used for Internet banking and the
software certificates (as proposed by the Chambers of Commerce)
• the basic security level, requiring an identification number and/or password, as currently
used by the Tax and Customs Administration.

The degree of security offered by any authentication system does not generally rely only on
the system itself, but also on the manner in which any card-reader, passwords or codes are
issued (e.g. sent by post or collected by the user from an office) and the manner in which they
are administered. Greater care in supervising the issuing process can raise the authorization
system to a higher level of security (e.g. Internet banking becomes ‘high security’ or
passwords become ‘medium security) although a greater complexity may also be expected.6
It is not appropriate to implement all three security levels into one and the same authorization
system at once.

We now wish to propose a way forward for the lower two levels. At the basic security level,
each government organization will use the username/password combination as standard. For
the medium security level, we regard the software certificates as the most promising

5
PKI = Public Key Infrastructure
6
As part of the ‘e-OK’ project being promoted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, representatives of the public
and private sectors are discussing a classification schedule that will define the security levels of various
authentication systems.

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standard. Means of implementing this system are currently being investigated as a matter of
urgency. At this level of security, it might also be possible to implement the system used for
Internet banking, provided that all banks are willing to cooperate.7
The OTV is intended for the use of all governmental organizations. It therefore seems only
logical that its development, process management and operationalization should be
undertaken jointly by all stakeholders, under the overall political responsibility of the ministers
for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations and of Economic Affairs. The system itself
will be supplied by market parties: knowledge of the underlying processes for electronic data
transfer can be developed more rapidly within the private sector than within the public sector,
particularly in terms of technological advances.

2.3 Domain C: Uniform numbers for companies and citizens


If data is to be stored, managed and retrieved efficiently, all users - companies and citizens -
must have a unique identifying reference number. In principle, the identification number will
have a purely administrative purpose, allowing large-scale databases to be maintained and
managed. The number will also be required for automated data exchange. However, on its
own an identification number has no value in its own right. It is only useful for the purposes of
access authorization if it is accompanied by passwords, certificates and suchlike, whereby the
risk of an unauthorized user passing himself off as someone else is greatly reduced.

We now wish to resolve the ‘number issue’ once and for all. In the interests of privacy, a
single, transparent, number system which is subject to clear protocols is far preferable to a
proliferation of different numbers for different purposes, a situation which represents chaos (at
best, ordered chaos.)
A clear and useful report on the ‘Citizen Service Number’ has now been published.8 Certain
requirements have also been set by the European Union with regard to numbers and the
company information to be included on all invoices, which greatly simplify the decision-making
process in this regard. In effect, two types of number are involved: the so-called Citizen
Service Number and the Business Service Number.

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In fact, the banks now represent the main user and provider of this security level. It is worth remembering that the
banks already have some 4.5 million retail online banking customers, and that the same authorization system is
used by a number of institutional customers such as universities, colleges, libraries and the government itself. A
trial project involving the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality is to commence shortly.
8
A communiqué concerning the BSN has since been submitted to the House of Representatives (reference TK 29:
362, no. 15).

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The Citizen Service Number (BSN)
The Citizen Service Number will be issued by local authorities. It will be based on the existing
tax and social security (‘SoFi’) number which all Dutch citizens already have.
A Citizen Service Number will be issued to all persons who:
- can be formally identified
- have dealings with the Dutch government.
On its own, the Citizen Service Number is meaningless. It only becomes significant if it is
used within a sector “according to the rules that the sector concerned imposes on its use”
(usually by means of legislation). Within the social security and taxation sector, the Citizen
Service Number will therefore be used in exactly the same way as the current ‘SoFi’ number,
while it will also serve as a unique identifying number in the healthcare sector, in education
and in such areas as the registration of foreign nationals. The actual form of the identifying
number may vary slightly according to use, but each form will be derived from the Citizen
Service Number in a clear and legally defined manner. Responsibility for the use of these
numbers will then come to rest with the various public domains (i.e. social security, national
security, safety, law enforcement, healthcare, education, etc.) and specifically with the
respective ministers.

The introduction of the Citizen Service Number entails shifting the task of issuing the numbers
from the Tax and Customs Administration to the local authorities. Overall political
responsibility will lie with the Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations, while
responsibility for their actual use will fall to the various other ministers. A special responsibility
is set aside for the Minister for Immigration and Integration with regard to the issuing of
Citizen Service Numbers to certain categories of foreign nationals resident in the Netherlands.
The Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations’ management of the system
must closely involve users and local authorities.

The Business Service Number (BN)


For the purposes of information exchange between the government and the business sector,
the Business Service Number will fulfil exactly the same function as the Citizen Service
Number for citizens. It may be appropriate to base a company’s BN on the existing Chamber
of Commerce registration number or its VAT registration number. All companies which supply
taxable products or services already require a VAT number (under EU invoicing regulations).
The vast majority of companies and self-employed persons are VAT-registered. In the case of
a sole proprietorship company, the VAT number is derived from the principal’s SoFi number.
Companies which are exempt from VAT or are zero-rated can be given a fictitious BSN. While
the VAT number provides an obvious basis for the Business Service Number, other options
exist.

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Political responsibility for the management of the BN system will rest with the Minister of
Economic Affairs. If the management of the key data for companies and their owners is
delegated to the Chambers of Commerce (as the central point of contact for businesses), it
seems only logical that the Chambers should also administer the BN system. The numbers
will then be issued through the central contact points. This clustering of activities will also
have advantages for those public domains which consider a single number for each company
or proprietor desirable. For example, a healthcare institute’s BN can serve as its unique
identifying number for all healthcare sector purposes. Here too, the relevant ministers will be
responsible for the use of the number. The introduction of the BN system is to be investigated
under a new programme to be run under the auspices of the Minister of Economic Affairs.

2.4 Domain D: Key registers


Centralized storage and management of data will rely on so-called key registers. These form
the hub of all data exchange concerning companies and citizens. The key feature of this
system is that all information need be submitted only once whereupon it will be available to all
authorized users. By definition, the key register will contain information which is required by
various governmental organizations. The register must therefore meet certain minimum
criteria. It must:
- function as the unique source of certain information, to be accessible to all
authorized government departments
- contain uniformly defined data
- have only one manager/administrator (local or national)
- have adequate privacy- protection measures
- be subject to an ‘update’ system whereby certain (government) users are obliged
to report any omissions or amendments to the administrator; this will safeguard
the quality of the data over a longer period.

The use of centralized key registers offers advantages to those organizations which will no
longer need to maintain their own administrative databases. They will be able to derive all
necessary information from the central source (electronically, of course). However, the
administrator of the database will occasionally be required to make additional investments in
order to ensure that the register continues to meet the minimum requirements.
It is considered extremely important that all government organizations should be obliged to
use the information in these key registers. The implementation period will take into account
the normal investment cycles for updating or replacement of automated systems, thus
avoiding unnecessary expense.

Appendix 3 presents a list of proposed key registers, together with the minister responsible
and the current status of their implementation. Some registers (the so-called ‘authentic

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registers’, of which six are proposed) will first require a legislative basis to be established,
particularly where tasks and responsibilities straddle more than one government layer.
The Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations has overall responsibility for the
system of key registers. The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations will oversee the
necessary preparatory activities by means of the ‘Streamlining Key Data’ programme. At the
request of the House of Representatives, this will involve identifying any new legislation
required to support the introduction and operationalization of the system. Attention will also be
devoted to the coordination between the various key registers, the financing arrangements,
the mandatory usage, the data exchange infrastructure, and views concerning the information
that must be included in the system.
In the interests of efficient administration, it is also important that the registers should include
well-structured metadata (‘information about the information’). Accordingly, complementary
activities will include the preparation of a data glossary, further harmonization of information
and descriptive terms, and the creation of an electronic index.

2.5 Domain E: Electronic personal identification (chip cards)


The objective of electronic identification tools is to enable all persons to be identified beyond
question with just one type of document.9 At present, identification relies on various official
documents such as a passport or National Identity Card for those persons registered with
local authorities (the GBA databases), a SoFi card for EU/EER residents, or a ‘foreign
citizens’ card for others. All such documents carry a unique number. A number of other
documents, such as the driver’s licence, can also be accepted as valid identification.

The introduction of a chip card, or the addition of a chip to the existing forms of identification,
will enable information to be read from the document electronically. Such information may
include the new Citizen Service Number and, eventually, the unique biometric characteristics
of the holder. The chip card will render it possible to provide a wide range of public services
for which unique identification is required. It will also greatly reduce fraud.

The introduction of the chip card will not necessarily mean its immediate use on any large
scale. An infrastructure must first be developed. The chip must be read, and the systems
behind the chip-reader must be able to process the information contained in a useful manner.
This calls for major changes to the working processes and systems of various organizations.
The banks have long used a similar infrastructure (the ATM or PIN machines which read a
magnetic strip on the customer’s card), whereupon the technologies in use have been subject
to international standardization. It therefore seems appropriate to examine whether the same

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Uniform identification must always be viewed as a means to an end. This section is confined to the possibilities
presented by the use of ‘chip cards’ for identification purposes, and does not consider the overall aim nor
government policy regarding identification cards).

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technical standards should be adopted for electronic identification purposes. (Eventually, the
current magnetic strip or imbedded chip may be replaced by the EMV chip10).

The introduction of the system demands streamlined process management and a well-
thought-out scenario. To develop several different electronic identity passes simultaneously
would simply be a waste of money. Given the demand for standardization and effective
investment, there should be just one chip card for each person. In February 2004, the House
of Representatives passed a motion calling for this system to be implemented no later than 1
January 200711.
It is important not to try to do everything at once. A first move might be to add a chip to the
existing National Identity Card. This would contain all the information that is currently to be
found in the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) of travel documents, such as the SoFi number
and later the Citizen Service Number.
The current Dutch National Identity Card can itself be used as a travel document. It seems
appropriate to maintain this relationship and to have the new electronic National Identity Card
developed, introduced and managed under the responsibility of the Minister for Government
Reform and Kingdom Relations.

2.6 Domain F: Electronic information exchange


Information exchange raises a number of issues. There must, for example, be open standards
for all electronic data exchange between government departments, and between the
government on the one hand and the business sector and general public on the other. Given
the importance of open standards, the Dutch government is to take an active role in their
implementation. The government will also follow closely the developments in relation to the
development of open standards in the European context. Harmonization of data is also
necessary. Further activities in this regard will be undertaken as part of the ‘Streamlining Key
Data’ programme.

Attention must also be devoted to data transport. In the first instance, this will involve the
transmission of electronic messages from companies to the government. The model that has
been selected for this purpose is the Overheids Transactie Poort (‘Government Transaction
Port; OTP) which was developed as part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ ‘ICT & the
Administrative Burden’ programme. The OTP – which is a joint initiative by four ministries
(Economic Affairs, Social Affairs and Employment, Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and
Finance) - is at an advanced stage of development whereupon it now becomes necessary to
make certain decisions concerning its management and administration. The various options

10
EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa and refers to the standard which these credit card companies
have agreed for interaction between a chip card and electronic terminals. The standard is now in use worldwide.
11
Motion proposed by Szabo and others, Parliamentary Documents II, 29: 362, no. 9.

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that exist in this sphere are currently being examined as part of the general preparations for a
joint management solution (see also Para. 3.1).

It will also be possible to transport data messages that have been generated by the software
used by companies or their intermediaries (most of which falls under the heading of ‘market
accountancy packages’). The advantage of this type of data transport is that companies
generate the data required by the relevant government department during their own
administrative processes. The data message - which may take the form of a permit
application, (tax) return, statistical report, etc. - is prepared automatically. This will certainly
represent a significant reduction of the administrative burden. The system has a further
advantage in that the frequency of information requests is no longer relevant: the same
information that is already present in the company’s own administration can be submitted
automatically to all those who require it.
Although this form of data transmission is clearly extremely interesting in terms of reducing
the administrative burden, it will not gain automatic acceptance. Only now that company tax
returns have to be submitted in digital form is the market becoming interested. It may be
worthwhile encouraging all government departments to follow suit, or at least commence
discussions concerning further mandatory measures and/or the mandatory use of certain
software packages. Similarly, a discussion concerning government organizations’ compulsory
use of the basic facilities is indicated.

2.7 Domain G: Fast connections between government organizations


The bundling of the ICT network infrastructure is a significant factor in terms of operations and
management. Central government wishes to realize a shared broadband ICT infrastructure.
This will not only result in greater security of communication, but will also offer a good basis
for shared services. At a future date, it should also be possible to incorporate other services,
such as telephony. It is therefore important that the ICT infrastructure is implemented in such
a way as to be fully scaleable.
The first step in creating a common ICT infrastructure is to realize a broadband network for
the cluster of government offices in The Hague. This will involve some initial investment, but
the costs will eventually be recouped. The next step will be to interconnect other public sector
organizations, such as government offices outside The Hague, and local and provincial
authorities.

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Section 3: Joint management, administration and cooperation: the legal and financial aspects

3.1: Joint management


The Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations has overall responsibility for all
general aspects of e-Government and for those which apply to communication with the
citizens. The Minister of Economic Affairs is responsible for national ICT policy and those
aspects of communication with the commercial sector. ICT developments are of great
relevance to all governmental organizations. The challenge will be to implement management
and administration arrangements which enable full advantage to be taken of the opportunities
presented by ICT as soon as practicable.

The preceding sections have outlined the various domains involved and the relevant
responsibilities. In the case of basic facilities that are to be used by all (or a significant number
of) government organizations, such as the OTP and OTV, preparations will be made in order
to arrive at a joint management and administration structure. The most logical choice of
design for such a structure, which should involve all government users, would seem to be
some form of independent positioning within the public domain. It is also conceivable that
various functionalities having a shared nature can be placed within a single joint management
organization.

The realization of the policy set out here will include a significant role for private-sector
suppliers of ICT products and services. The general line is that the best possible use should
be made of the private sector’s specific knowledge and expertise. The government will restrict
its own activities to ‘professional clientship’ and ensuring that market forces are allowed to
have their full effect. The government considers it extremely important that the final solution
should not be supplier-dependent.

3.2 Cooperation and programme management


Various frameworks and programme management agreements are already in place. The
parties most closely involved are currently discussing various aspects. Programmes have
been organized within the separate domains as well as across the boundaries of those
domains, in ‘chains’ such as ICTAL. However, the implementation of the uniform public
information structure described in this document will require some additional measures with
regard to process management. These measures will not alter the existing structure, but will
ensure full and effective cooperation.
Interdepartmental consultation will involve the Coordination Group for Electronic Services
(CEDI) while consultation with other levels of government will involve the Management Group

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for ICT and Government, the Association of Netherlands Municipalities, the e-Provinces
Steering Group, the IPO and the collective of Manifesto parties.12

Given the number of parties involved, each of the various processes will have its own
dynamics of decision-making and realization. It is important to avoid imposing an “all-
inclusive” project approach: this can only lead to stagnation. Rather, it is both possible and
desirable to manage the process according to mutual dependencies and synergy, while also
encouraging progress. Once the various processes have been more concisely defined, they
can then be placed into the overall timeframe. For the time being, this document seeks to take
the first step in relating the programmes to each other in terms of purpose and function.
The interrelationship between the programmes in the individual domains is to be strengthened
by applying a joint development perspective which establishes the overall aim. This will
include a schedule for the implementation of all shared facilities, setting out the relationships
between those facilities. Where programmes are, in part, dependent upon each other, the
schedule will also provide a point of reference for the planning and implementation methods.
The main elements of the schedule are presented in Appendix 4.13

The schedule is itself dynamic: it may alter according to developments which emerge during
the realization process. It is therefore an instrument which enables process management to
be undertaken on the basis of cohesion, coordination and a shared development perspective.

3.3. The legislative basis for the Electronic Government


Much of the legislation relating to Electronic Government is, to a certain extent, a matter for
the Dutch government. However, developments in the EU context are becoming an
increasingly dominant factor in formulating national policy. The legislative basis for the
‘electronic signature’ is just one example. The EU directive which comes into effect in 2005
and which governs the accessibility and use of government information is another.14
European Union policy is certainly of great influence in terms of developments further to the
Lisbon Strategy which was ratified earlier this year and which contains a proposal for a
directive requiring a single European point of contact, through which all service providers can
fulfil their administrative obligations ‘on line’. According to the current schedule, the relevant
provisions must be incorporated into national law by the end of 2007, and implemented no
later than the end of 2008.15

12 The Manifesto Group includes a number of executive agencies which have joined forces with a view to making
better use of ICT. They are: the UWV, the Centre for Work and Income, the Social Insurance Bank, the Tax and
Customs Administration, the Information Management Group and the Health Care Insurance Board.
13
Note that this is intended as a first version only. It is both general and tentative. Discussions with the various
parties involved will continue whereupon the focus can be sharpened.
14 This directive requires all government documents and databases which are made public under national law must
also be made available for commercial use. It also seeks to harmonize the conditions of use and establish
maximum prices.
15 Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on services in the internal market
[SEC(2004) 21]

14
Much effort has been expended in recent years to ensure that legislation keeps pace with
technological advances in ICT. This process will be continued and intensified during the years
to come.

3.4 Financing the Electronic Government


As yet, no funds have been specifically earmarked for the realization of the Electronic
Government, although the various ongoing programmes have of course been adequately
funded. The resources available at central government level are limited, and are intended to
encourage developments and to facilitate business cases for the necessary investments.
Whether these investments will actually be made depends on thorough cost-returns analyses.
However, it should be noted that it can be remarkably difficult to conduct such analyses with
any great degree of precision,
in view of:
- the interaction between numerous elements
- the uncertainties which arise from unexpected side-effects
- the fact that many of the investments required would have been necessary
anyway, further to regular depreciation and re-investment. In other words, it is not
possible to quantify the additional expenditure required, as this will largely depend
on the speed at which new proposals are implemented.
- the fact that the character of both the costs and the returns can vary enormously.
A significant proportion of the returns may be in the form of better fraud
prevention. While certainly relevant, the amounts involved cannot be calculated
precisely.

Nevertheless, firm investment decisions must be made on the basis of sound business case
analyses. The parties who will eventually reap the benefits of the investments must make
their contribution. The most appropriate financial structure will be determined for each
individual basic facility.16
With regard to the costs of operation and administration, a system of charges based on actual
direct benefit is envisaged. This system will be as simple as possible. Even in the case of
public facilities for general use, there must be some incentive to (financially) efficient usage.

16
The financing of the Citizen Service Number, the key registers of buildings and addresses (BGR and BRA) has
now been arranged in this way.

15
APPENDIX 1

Common list of basic public services


For eGovernment, the following two indicators are the basis for benchmarking.
• Percentage of basic public services available online,
• Use of online public services by the public.

To make these indicators operational, Member States have agreed to a common list of
20 basic public services, 12 for citizens and 8 for businesses. Progress in bringing
these services online will be measured using a four stage framework: 1 posting of
information online; 2 one-way interaction; 3 two-way interaction; and, 4 full online
transactions including delivery and payment. Data will be collected in surveys twice a
year.
Public Services for Citizens
1. Income taxes: declaration, notification of assessment
2. Job search services by labour offices
3. Social security contributions (3 out of the following 4):
• Unemployment benefits
• Family allowances
• Medical costs (reimbursement or direct settlement)
• Student grants
4. Personal documents (passport and driver' s licence)
5. Car registration (new, used and imported cars)
6. Application for building permission
7. Declaration to the police (e.g. in case of theft)
8. Public libraries (availability of catalogues, search tools)
9. Certificates (birth, marriage): request and delivery
10. Enrolment in higher education / university
11. Announcement of moving (change of address)
12. Health related services (e.g.interactive advice on the availability
of services in different hospitals; appointments for hospitals.)
Public Services for Businesses
1. Social contribution for employees
2. Corporation tax: declaration, notification
3. VAT: declaration, notification
4. Registration of a new company
5. Submission of data to statistical offices
6. Customs declarations
7. Environment-related permits (incl. reporting)
8. public procurement

16
APPENDIX 2
SELECTED (COOPERATIVE) PROCESSES IN ELECTRONIC
ACCESS

Processes relating to information provision:


- standardization of official government publications
- general government search engine (all departmental websites)
- subscription service for government information, e.g. on permit issuance, and the
decisions of administrative agencies
- active publication of government information (the Secretaries General’s Twelve-
Point plan)
- Databases of laws and local by-laws

Processes relating to service provision:


- product catalogues for central government, provinces, local authorities and water
management authorities
- electronic forms and transaction generators
- portals (such as overheid.nl, bedrijvenloket, regering.nl). These portals are
designed for specific target groups but are interlinked in order to preclude the
need for double entry.

17
APPENDIX 3
Key registers
The ‘authentic’ key registers:
- key register of natural persons (GBA and BRV)
Content: Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations (GBA)
Minister for Immigration and Integration (BRV)
Administration: Local authorities
- key register of companies/proprietors
Content: Minister of Economic Affairs, also involving the Ministers of Finance,
of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, of Justice, of Health, Welfare
and Sport, of Social Affairs and Employment, of Education, Culture
and Science, and the Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom
Relations.
Administration: Chambers of Commerce
- key register of buildings and addresses
Content: Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment
Administration: Local authorities
- key register of real estate
Content: Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment
Administration: Dutch Land Registry Office
- key register of geographic maps and information
Content: Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, also
involving the Ministers of Defence, of Agriculture, Nature and Food
Quality, of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, and of
Finance.
Administration: Dutch Land Registry Office

Further key registers (provisional list)


- key register of employees and benefits claimants (policy administration)
Content: Minister of Social Affairs and Employment
Administration: UWV
- key register of incomes
Content: Minister of Finance, also involving the Ministers
of Social Affairs and Employment, of Housing, Spatial Planning and
the Environment, of Health, Welfare and Sport, and of Education,
Culture and Science.
Administration: Tax and Customs Administration

18
− key register of goods (dependent on EU developments)
Content: Minister of Finance (also involving all other departments except
General Affairs)
Administration: Dutch Customs Administration
− key register of vehicles
Content: Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management
Administration: RDW Centre for Vehicle Technology and Information
− key register of geological information
Content: Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment,
also involving the Ministers of Economic Affairs, of Education Culture
and Science, of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, and of
Transport, Public Works and Water Management
Administration: Netherlands Institute of Applied Geoscience TNO - National
Geological Survey (TNO/NITG).

19
APPENDIX 4:
SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES (working draft).
See Para. 3.2
2004 2005 2006 2007
Electronic access to the government

Publication - EU directive on re-use of government information - database of legislation complete - all publications available per
comes into effect legal requirements
Traceability - subscription service - search engine operational

Electronic authentication
Government access facility - pilot OTV - OTV operational; phased roll-out for services and - OTV operational; further expansion of - OTV operational
expansion of authorization tools services and tools
- decision-making; cooperation with banks - management of OTV by joint
organization
(Systems) administration - temporary admin of OTV and OTP - decision-making and formalization of - outsourcing of operational
- provisional joint management - preparations for joint management organization joint management organization management
organization - operationalization of joint management
organization
Uniform numbers for companies and - study of BSN - decision-making re introduction of BN -introduction of BSN - introduction of BN
citizens - decision-making re. BSN and ZIN
key registers: GBA - LRD operational (GBA) - GBA in House of Representatives
BBR - BBR version 1 operational - BBR Act considered by House of Representatives - BBR Act comes into effect
BGR - Voluntary implementation of Basic key registers considered by
BRA Buildings and Addresses Registers House of Representatives
Real estate
Topographical database -key register of non-residents operational - Topographical database
Other - development of WFSV (policy - policy document on key registers considered by House of
admin.) Representatives

‘ 20
2004 2005 2006 2007
Electronic identification (chip cards) - decision-making re. use of biometrics -decision-making re. cooperation with - Introduction of chip card
banks
-introduction of BSN card for EU/EER
subjects
Electronic information exchange - mandatory electronic tax returns by businesses - introduction of the use of XBRL in -management of OTP by joint
annual accounts organization
- first version of OTP - expansion of OTP

‘ 21