German Onlinezugangsgesetz (OZG – Online Access Act) of 2017
The German OZG (Online Access Act) is a law that took effect in Germany on 18. August 2017 that aims to improve digital services provided by the government. By 2022, the federal, state and local governments are to offer all administrative services digitally via administrative portals and link these portals into a network.
In practice, this means that more than 6,000 administrative services at federal, state and municipal level, summarised in 575 OZG service bundles (this number has been and is changing), must be digitised.
Additionally, the OZG requires that all online services provided by the government be secure, easy to use, and accessible to all citizens. The law also establishes a "Digital Council" to oversee the implementation of the OZG and to ensure that digital services are meeting the needs of citizens This type of council is very common for strategic developments in Germany – a similar council has been implemented for electrification of the national car fleet).
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is responsible for the implementation of the OZG. The law also establishes a "Digital Council" to oversee the implementation of the OZG and to ensure that digital services are meeting the needs of citizens. The Digital Council is a body consisting of representatives of the federal government, the states, and the private sector, which is tasked with providing advice and support for the development and implementation of the OZG. Additionally, each federal state is responsible for the implementation of the OZG within its own jurisdiction.
The OZG affects municipalities in Germany by requiring them to provide their services online by the end of 2022. This includes services such as building permit applications, tax payments, and registration of residents. The municipalities will have to ensure that their digital services are secure, easy to use, and accessible to all citizens, in line with the requirements of the OZG. The municipalities will also be required to participate in the digital council, as well as to provide digital access to their service to citizens. In addition, municipalities will have to ensure that their digital services are interoperable with other municipalities and federal states. This means that they will have to use common standards and interfaces in order to allow for the exchange of data between different levels of government and the private sector.
Update end of 2022:
The implementation of the OZG services is delayed significantly and the status heavily dependant on German state and municipality.
There are similar laws and regulations in other European countries that aim to improve digital services provided by the government.
The EU has also adopted a number of regulations and directives that are relevant to the provision of digital services by governments, such as:
- The EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020, which aims to encourage the use of digital technologies by governments in order to improve the provision of public services to citizens and businesses.
- The EU Directive on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market, which aims to promote the use of electronic identification and trust services in order to facilitate secure and efficient electronic transactions between public authorities and citizens.
- The EU Regulation on the provision of public sector information as open data, which aims to promote the re-use of public sector information by making it available as open data and by encouraging the use of open data in the development of new products and services.
- The EU Regulation on the free flow of non-personal data, which aims to remove restrictions on the location of data storage and processing infrastructure in order to promote the development of new products and services and to reduce costs for businesses.
Most of these EU laws and regulations are designed to provide common standards and frameworks to help member states to develop and implement digital services, and facilitate data exchange between different levels of government and the private sector.