Press release (2014.10.30)
From Saturday Danes will be receiving mail from the public authorities digitally
From 1 November 2014, everyone who can will receive Digital Post from public authorities. For the individual, this means good bye to ring binders and a lack of overview over window envelopes. For Denmark as a society this means annual savings of one billion of DKK. As many as 3.5 mill. Danes are ready; either they have registered themselves for Digital Post or they have been exempted. The rest of us will be registered automatically on Saturday.
On Saturday, 1 November, Denmark will be taking an historic step as the first country in the world to make it compulsory to digitally receive e.g. vehicle-inspection notifications, pension notifications, hospital appointments, letters from the municipality, etc.
Digital Post will make it easier for individuals to manage letters and notifications from the authorities while at the same time saving the public sector one billion DKK a year in paper and postage. Digital Post can be seen at www.borger.dk and at www.e-Boks.dk. People who are unable to do this can be exempted and will continue to receive letters from the public authorities by ordinary mail.
“We have a clear goal that 80 percent of written communication with the public sector is to be digital from the end of next year. And with the transition to Digital Post, we are well on the way. We know that other countries regard our plan as ambitious and many want to follow suit. However, only a few countries are as ready as Denmark in terms of ICT, in part because of Danes’ good IT skills. This is not least because the authorities, dedicated volunteers from private associations, as well as the public in general have made great and active efforts,” says Bjarne Corydon, Danish Minister for Finance.
New daily practice
In recent years, the public authorities have been working together in order to ready Denmark for Digital Post. The public has been informed through several campaigns. According to a survey by Megafon, as early one month before 1 November, 97% of Danes knew that they had to be able to receive Digital Post.
”We are entering a new era in which communication between individuals and the public authorities will be online. This will create a more modern public sector in which we use technology to save money on postage, and instead can spend the money where it really matters; on schools, hospitals and care for the elderly. Digital communication will also provide us with the flexibility and freedom we all need in our lives, because we have simple access to all our post from the public authorities on our computers, tablets or smartphones. Of course this requires new habits for both citizens and the authorities, but this is modern welfare which will help secure our welfare state in the future,” says Morten Østergaard, Danish Minister for Economic Affairs and the Interior.
Help is available
“At municipal service centres throughout Denmark, staff have been working hard to help the public get ready for Digital Post,” says Martin Damm, chairman of Local Government Denmark.
“For several years, now, municipalities have been making great efforts to help people become more familiar with digital processes. More than 7,000 digital ambassadors have guided citizens who need a helping hand so that they have now either register for Digital Post or have been exempted. I’ve seen great creativity at municipalities with bicycle trailers, home visits, and stands at music festivals. And they are also ready to help on the other side of 1 November,” he says.
It is still possible to be exempted from Digital Post after 1 November, if people meet the relevant conditions. This includes people who do not have a computer, the disabled, or people with language difficulties.
Danish Regions also see many advantages in Digital Post.
“In our experience, both staff and patients are very positive about the flexible communication possibilities in Digital Post. For example, our ‘cancer package’ means that there are often just a few days from when a patient is notified of a hospital admission to the actual admission. In this situation, the ‘old’ letter meant that patients had little time to prepare, as the post could take 2-3 days before arrival. It is also a big advantage that patients receive a text message or email when new Digital Post is received in their mailbox. We expect this to lead to many fewer no-shows for hospital appointments,” said Bent Hansen, chairman of Danish Regions.