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Danish citizens make the transition to digital channels

04-06-2014 Column

Up to 1 November this year, 4.7 million Danish citizens over 15 years must get ready to receive Digital Post from the public sector. This is a big transition, and it is one of the main focus areas for the Agency for Digitisation this year. In this column, among other things, I unveil how things are going right now, five months before the completion date.

From 1 March this year, citizens have been able to apply for exemption from Digital Post from the public sector. Since that date, we have continually monitored developments in the number of citizens who are, respectively, registered for or exempt from Digital Post.

When talking about registration and exemption, one of the reactions I often get from the press, interest groups, and working partners goes something like this: "Well, thanks for the statistics - but do you think it’s looking good or bad?" Therefore, in this column, I am taking stock of the transition to Digital Post.

2.1 million citizens now ready for Digital Post

In conclusion, the development looks good. Last week there were 1,968,000 citizens registered for Digital Post. Within the last 14 days alone, more than 220,000 new citizens have registered. And after the summer holidays the government will put all its energy into ensuring that all citizens are aware of and comfortable with the transition to Digital Post.

As per 1 December, Denmark also introduces mandatory digital self-service in 27 more service areas. This means that in future Danes must also use the PC when, for instance, they need to apply for planning permission, file for divorce, apply for parental custody and rights, or renew a parking license. Read more about the new mandatory self-service solutions here.

Increased focus on IT security in the public sector solutions

Last week we had to inform the public that the pilot version of the new NemID client for mobile devices, which we had expected to launch in late May, will be a bit delayed. This does not change the fact, however, that NemID for smartphones and tablets will be launched before the summer holidays this year. The new client will allow citizens to log on while on the go to a self-service solution via the Citizen Portal, borger.dk, or, from August, to check their Digital Post from public authorities.

The slight delay is obviously a bit annoying. But it is really important that we keep the focus on quality and security - on all platforms - in the government IT infrastructure that citizens and businesses use in their everyday lives.

For me there is no doubt that efficient and secure digitisation of the public sector will be very high on the agenda in the coming years. We need to be fully focused on making the individual IT solutions and the common public infrastructure secure, flexible, and easy to use. This is simply a fundamental prerequisite for achieving the benefits that digitisation can bring - for the individual and for society at large.

In the Agency for Digitisation, we are also making IT management and IT security a priority. Right now, for example, we are looking for an additional, IT-oriented, vice president who, among other things, will be responsible for renewed focus on and further development of the Agency's tasks regarding IT security.

Lars Frelle-Petersen