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The Bureaucracy Relief Act put to the test

Young woman with headphones at the microphone

Bitkom public sector expert Esther Steverding

The Bureaucracy Reduction Act is intended to reduce the burden on business, society and administration by around 682 million euros a year. An initial assessment by Bitkom expert Esther Steverding.

With the draft for a Fourth Bureaucracy Relief Act (BEG IV-E), the Federal Government, under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Justice, is launching a cross-departmental legislative package that aims to clear up the German bureaucracy jungle. A central core element of the draft legislation is to drive forward the digital transformation in the public sector in order to be able to manage in a sustainable and resource-efficient manner.

In Bitkom's latest Tech Weekly podcast, public sector expert Esther Steverding gives an initial assessment of the draft and emphasises: "The Bureaucracy Reduction Act is a good step - but has fallen a little short of expectations".

There is still room for improvement, especially with regard to digital transformation in the public sector, says Steverding: "Companies have around 200 administrative contacts every year. Digital processes could save a lot of time and therefore money. And then, of course, to reduce the written form requirements to a minimum as a matter of principle. You can't abolish them everywhere, but wherever possible, text form is sufficient." With the transition from written to text form, companies and applicants are given the opportunity to submit declarations digitally without a handwritten signature.

The Bitkom expert also refers to the issue of modernising the administrative register: "The state knows how much you earn. The state knows how many children you have. The state knows whether you receive child benefit. It knows that, but the information is available in different registers and that's why I, as an individual, have to collate this data and submit it again". Steverding's proposed solution: consistent digitalisation and linking of the existing registers to make it easier for citizens to submit applications and for the responsible authorities to process them.

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