The German National Regulatory Control Council (NKR) ranks once-only as top-priority

The German National Regulatory Control Council has published its annual report focusing on bureaucracy reduction and better regulations for German public administrations. Connecting base registries and having citizens and businesses hand in their information only once is one of the top 10 core messages. The Council highlights that public administrations need to be efficient, capable and close to its citizens. The best way to do so is to follow the once-only principle and connect the base registries in Germany to reduce the administrative burden for citizens. Specifically, the NKR states: 

“Modernising the fragmented German registry landscape is an indispensible precondition for making digital public services a success. At the same time, basic information from citizens and businesses should be requested only once. In its 2017 expertise, the NKR developed proposals for gearing data management towards the needs of citizens and businesses. This extends to issues of transparency and control; governing who is authorised to retrieve and use data.”

But why are registries so important but yet so fragmented in Germany? 

"The public registries are particularly suitable as a starting point because many public services are relying on public registries like the Residents’ Registration Office and Professional Register. As these registries have been established according to technical and regional competence, their organisation is frequently as decentralised and heterogeneous as the organisation of other public IT components. In addition, the design of these registries is frequently inadequate for digital processes. Rather, the citizens still have to request, for example, a birth certificate as a paper-based excerpt from the birth register and then submit it to another agency in order to apply for child benefit and parental benefit. If these information could be exchanged between the responsible administrative bodies with the approval of the citizens, many things would be simpler and more cost effective. The census is another example: In Germany, the census costs more than EUR 700 million. These costs could be reduced by almost 90 per cent if the census were to be conducted in an automated fashion on the basis of modern registries, as attested by the examples of Austria, Switzerland or Denmark."

The National Regulatory Control Council was instituted by law in 2006 as an independent body in order to advise and support the German Federal Government during the implementation of government programs. The NKR is involved in every draft regulation of the government and reviews the ministries’ estimates of the impacts for citizens, the business sector and public authorities.

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