I will begin my proposals for digitization by recounting two incidents. On 23 June at the Piraeus Bank branch in Papagou, an 85 year old man was stoically waiting for his turn to come so he could pay an installment to the tax office, as was apparent from the printed paper he was holding and which someone had obviously given him, after they had downloaded it. He paid in cash and then gave his account booklet for an update so he could see what was in the account.
He had XXX euros and asked to withdraw some money. The teller refused because three years had passed and the Bank of Greece had to update the information required (?). That is, to provide a tax return, a PPC account (for his residence) and a telephone account (for communication). The man could not believe his ears. He asked and how will I do that? The answer was, "Your accountant will do it for you."
Incident 2: An email from the National Land Registry came to a lady (in the email account of a relative who helped her because she is digitally illiterate) through which she was asked to check or declare a property she had recently inherited in the Municipality of Athens and in which she owned a share. The digitally savvy relative tried to check, and it turned out that the property had not been declared. So he began the declaration process.
Although the person is familiar with the protocols, the requested information was complex (rather incomprehensible) in terms and definitions that were no more than gibberish to the average citizen. After suffering for hours on the phones talking to a robot, he found a thread, not in the Municipality but in the Land Registry. In his conversations with the "representative" of limited knowledge and responsibility, the argument was "but why don't you hire a lawyer?" They know, unless you have an engineer! "
Ladies and gentlemen of e-governance, I could write a book full of such incidents, mainly about banks and e-banking where all the key terms (buttons) are ambiguous. In general, the terms are incomprehensible, legal, technical, and replete in fine print. In short, the concept of the citizen without a lawyer, engineer and accountant does not exist.
I read on the Greek Wikipedia about your ministry "The Ministry of Digital Governance was established on July 8, 2019. The Ministry's responsibilities include electronic communications networks, the Hellenic Space Agency and the reduction of bureaucracy through the promotion of e-government and democracy." I also read that the ministry has a Undersecretary of Digital Strategy and a Deputy Minister of Simplification of Procedures. This structure makes me optimistic, but, as you know we are talking about Greece.
From KEP to Digitization
When Stavros Benos, as the inspirer of KEP (Citizens Service Centers), held a conference to celebrate this achievement, with all of the Civil Servant's Confederation (ADEDY) in attendance in the theater below, I asked for the floor at some point and said the following: Without a doubt you created a good buffer between citizens and bureaucracy, but if you want to succeed you need to reduce bureaucracy. Since then, with the coming of the digital age, I have reiterated in every case that bureaucracy should not be digitized, which is exhaustively promoted even today, but that bureaucracy should be adapted to the capabilities of digital governance. This would be the Revolution! ... Not the transition of bureaucracy to citizens computers.
Because I covered the initial construction and development of TAXIS (the electronic dimension of the tax bureau) and I know first hand the failures and the costs paid by the state - which suffers from massive ignorance, as it does not know what it is ordering and what orders are piecemeal and basically from two generations back, and at double cost. - I will suggest the following elementary idea:
First simplify bureaucracy, adopt a comprehensible language (non-legalese, non-technical) and then digitize.
Also, gather all the state supplies from memory sticks to the advanced programs of the whole state apparatus (plus local government, utilities, etc.) so that they are compatible, interconnected and mainly to reduce the cost by achieving economies of scale. I imagine you are trying to do all this together for political reasons. I'm afraid it will detract from the effectiveness of your efforts.
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