Administrative simplification done smartly - Skryv
Administrative simplification done smartly

By Toon Timbermont - Co-founder & market development - over 3 years ago

Digital Gov project

Administrative simplification done smartly

The call for administrative simplification is everywhere. Companies need it to do better business. Citizens demand it to be better served. Governments put it high on their agendas. And for Skryv, it is our purpose.

Beyond the buzzword

But what does administrative simplification really mean? How to get beyond the buzzword and achieve results? The dictionary definition for “simplify” is: “ to make (something) simpler or easier to do or understand”. Belgium’s Agency for Administrative Simplification defines administrative simplification as: “steps to facilitate and simplify administrative procedures that companies (and citizens) are required to perform to meet the requirements imposed by the authorities.”

Both definitions indicate that simplification is an active process (to make [… in] steps). So the key is to find the right levers that advance the simplification process.

"Simplification is a game of rules, people, technology & communication"

The conceptual model

When looking at administrative simplification, we use the conceptual model pictured above.

  • Legislation & Regulation is the source of the “requirements imposed by the authorities”. This set of rules is the factor that has the potential to reduce the (essential) complexity of a certain administrative process. Unfortunately, change in this domain is hard to achieve and requires time and (political) resources;
  • People, be it citizens, company representatives or public officers, are key players in the administrative process and may or may not be required to do (repetitive) administrative tasks to get the process running;
  • Technology can facilitate the manual work, improve overall quality and significantly reduce processing time;
  • Communication about the services and processes must make it simpler to understand for people involved to find out what the service means to them and how it works.

"Technology can only reduce the need for (repetitive) manual administrative work, but will not reduce the intrinsic complexity. To realise an intrinsic simplification, a change of rules is needed."

Say goodbye to digital paper

In the mix of these 4 levers, technology is not a magic tool that resolves all the problems. It is however possible to address a lot of the accidental complexity of the process: stuff that doesn’t necessarily relate directly to the solution, but that we have to deal with anyway.

Keeping in mind this limitation, there is still a great simplification potential through digitisation in the public sector. A great deal of processing is still done manually by civil servants or citizens / companies. Processes that have been digitised may suffer from “digital paper”-syndrome. Blocking them from realising the full digital potential. Smart use of technology helps to overcome the barriers of (digital) paper. It helps to simplify the administrative processing, reduce administrative processing time & costs while improving the overall quality.

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