There are plenty of exemplary municipalities out there when it comes to issues like e-governance and digital management. These are municipalities that are driving digitalization forward, moving to electronic files, and digitalizing their archives. If you believe the Green party in Berlin, the nation’s capital isn’t one of them. Quite the contrary: if a management employee from one of the smaller, more digital local communities came to the big city, he might feel like a time traveller from the future.
Technology that belongs in a museum?
Actually, the example the opposition party is bringing up in the Berlin senate sounds a little – how should we say – retro. According to the Greens, for example, housing allowance applications in Berlin are still being saved on microfiche, and statistics on schools are being transported on discs or memory sticks to the school administrators. On the actual streets, we mean – not the information superhighway. You might be asking yourself what microfiche is – well, don’t worry: it’s not something you need to know. According to Wikipedia, it was invented in Paris – in 1859.
Gossiping is all a part of politics – and so is delivering on promises
Well, it might be that this is another example of politicians exaggerating a situation. The Greens may have sought out these stone-age management processes so they could rub the ruling party’s noses in it. That’s how politics goes sometimes. However, when the opposition calculates that the government could achieve a ten percent increase in efficiency, we can only agree. Switching from paper files and paper processes to digital counterparts, introducing steps to harmonize processes across administration, and selecting unified IT standards would help. It’s also no secret that the Berlin senate resolved to introduce electronic files over six years ago – the internal managers responsible for doing so, however, moved the introduction deadline back from 2016 to 2018. All this leaves the citizens of Berlin – and us as well – wishing they’d keep their promises instead.