In 2017, the grand coalition led by Angela Merkel had digitization targets written into the Online Access Act. By the end of the current year, 579 administrative matters were to be handled completely digitally. This goal was clearly missed.
101 tasks fully performable online
Der Spiegel reported, citing the comparison portal Verivox, that only 101 administrative tasks can currently be carried out completely online. In addition, there are 143 administrative services that can be used at least partially online. Overall, the number of government administrative services available online is well below the target of 579 that has been set and formalized in law. In the Europe-wide comparison of digitization, Germany performs correspondingly poorly.
For years, greater digitization of the administration has been a declared government goal. The push for digitization – to the extent that it is justified at all – is based on user-friendliness. Digitization is supposed to remove hurdles that make it enormously time-consuming to perform administrative tasks.
The fact that this goal cannot be achieved by digitizing application structures alone is demonstrated by the example of Bafög. Since September 2021, it has been possible to apply for the allowance online. However, the process triggered by the application is largely analogous. In many cases, Bafög applications received online are printed out on paper in the relevant offices and then scanned in again. This ties up time and staff, which makes the processing of applications more protracted. In addition, there is currently no channel available for sufficiently secure communication with the students submitting the applications. All communication to this point continues to be by mail, despite the ability to submit applications online.