NEWS » Digital Transformation to reduce Italian bureacracy?

Digital Transformation to reduce Italian bureacracy?

Italian bureaucracy is not known for being resident-friendly but the relationship between citizens and the public administration could improve thanks to an App launched by the Italian government's Digital Transformation team. This group of experts was set up almost two years ago and is led by Amazon senior vice president Diego Piacentini, who took a leave of absence from the company to work as government commissioner.

The Digital Transformation team launched IO, a smartphone app that brings together functionalities previously only available separately: from paying taxes and bills, to having documents directly delivered to your mobile phone.

The app is not jet downloadable from online stores and is currently being tested by a few local and national institutions, as it is still in closed beta.

Agenzia delle Entrate, Agenzia entrate Riscossione, Aci, Infocamere, the Lombardy Region, the municipality of Milan and the municipality of Bergamo are involved in the experimentation of the new app. However, citizens will also take part in the beta testing, as over the summer the number of users is scheduled to increase in territories where the number and relevance of services is greater.

However, for this scenario to come true, the platform will have to work smoothly and engage citizens and businesses, and none of these things can be taken for granted.

In Italy, all data related to things like place of birth, residence, and household composition was and largely still is scattered among 8,000 different registries belonging to different municipalities. The unique ANPR [National Resident Population Register] will enable a synchronization of all citizen data that's currently scattered throughout some 8,000 different registers.

By law, the migration of data to a single, unified database should have been completed by the end of 2014 but only a single municipality met the deadline. Since the digital transformation team was entrusted with the task, the situation has quickly improved and to date, 356 administrations have joined the ANPR, with 1,347 in pre-migration stage.

In order to guarantee a secure and unique means of access the SPID was created to allow citizens and businesses to access the online services of public administrations and private members with a unique digital identity. 

Even though the situation has improved, there's still a long way to go. PagoPA, the digital system for all public administration related payments, for instance, has been around since 2013, but citizens simply have not been using it until very recently. From 2013 to the end of 2016 there were just under 800,000 transactions, compared with the hundreds of millions made in the same period for paying taxes or services.

The same goes for SPID, which, despite having made progress since first being proposed in 2014, is still struggling to take off.

Now, in Italy, the problem is once again political instability. The digital transformation team mandate expires in September 2018. The commissioner was appointed by the previous government so the question is: will the new Five Stars League government confirm or renew the assignment? Or will it alternatively continue the work done with other executives in charge? Alternatively, political instability may take a heavy toll by stalling the digital transformation process once again.

Milan correspondent

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