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Better distribution of Digital Post through smarter use of data

03-07-2017 News UK

Nine pilot authorities are testing whether increased data markup can improve the distribution of public digital post. The objective is to achieve faster and more accurate distribution. One of the pilot participants, Odense Municipality, anticipates considerable time savings.

Denmark is a digital frontrunner within public digital postal services. However, larger enterprises and public authorities are not that happy with the system when it comes to the distribution of post internally in their respective organisations. 

Every day Danish authorities send out vast amounts of Digital Post. However, distribution of the individual correspondence internally at the recipient authority is often challenging, and employees have to be entrusted to distribute the individual correspondence manually. This means an extra burden in terms of time and resources.

The pilot projects are examining how to automate this process and identifying whether some correspondence can be marked up with more metadata, such as location number, case number and the recipient's email address. 

"The aim of the pilot projects is to provide us with experience using data to dis-tribute Digital Post. We need a more accurate and a more automated distribution process," said Stine Hegelund Bertelsen, who is head of office at the Agency for Digitisation. 

Benefits of data markup of criminal records

One of the pilot projects concerns the criminal records at the Danish National Police. Approximately 375,000 records are sent out annually, and their distribution internally at the recipients poses difficulties.

"We've been approached by many municipalities and enterprises, who call for smoother distribution of criminal records. We hope that this data markup can facilitate easier distribution," said Peter Holm, who is a consultant with the Danish National Police.

The Danish National Police is hoping that marking up Digital Post with additional metadata as a part of the pilot project can help recipients distribute their post. 
Odense Municipality is a frequent recipient of criminal records and they anticipate time savings in their manual workflow as a consequence of data markup:

"We receive around 10,000 messages in a year from the Danish National Police alone. Odense Municipality is a large and multi-branched organisation. With the data markup, we expect to be able to automatically distribute incoming messages around the organisation. This would save us substantial time on a weekly basis," said Birgitte Hjelm Paulsen, who is the head of programme for Digital Service at Odense Municipality.

Other pilot municipalities are also testing and sending more data, including Statistics Denmark and the Danish Transport, Construction and Housing Authority, which today sends metadata with its car inspection notices. 

The pilot projects will continue their development and test work throughout the year and their experience and results will serve as important input to work on Next generation Digital Post. 

The nine pilot authorities testing data markup are: The Danish National Police, Statistics Denmark, the Danish Transport, Construction and Housing Authority, Arbejdsmarkedets Tillægspension, the Central Customs and Tax Administration (SKAT), Odense Municipality, Hedensted Municipality, the City of Frederiksberg and the Central Denmark Region.

The following correspondence is being marked and tested in attention.xml format

  • Criminal records and child protection certificates (the Danish National Police)
  • Car inspection notifications (the Danish Transport, Construction and Housing Authority)
  • Letters in connection with statistics reporting (Statistics Denmark)
  • Information about wage reimbursement (Arbejdsmarkedets Tillægspension)
  • Preliminary VAT statements (SKAT)
  • Digital Post from the ESDH system (the municipalities of Odense, Hedensted and Frederiksberg, as well as the Central Denmark Region).

What is data markup?

Data markup of Digital Post is the enrichment of data about relevant information such as data on the case worker, location number (P number), resource identification number (RID number) etc. The markup helps to ensure that the message can be distributed more accurately and automatically at the recipient. In practice, markup involves the sender adding the necessary data as an attached file (attention.xml) to the digital message. The file can store information about the recipient (e.g. email address or RID number), as well as information about the specific content of the message (e.g. registration number or case number (KLE number)). 

Attention.xml is a message format which is already available for use.