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Spain and laws 39 and 40/2015: the digital transformation of administrations

Spanish legislation has just been updated to continue evolving in ternms of e-Administration. Do you want to know how these changes will affect you? In this article we will analyze the keys of these two new laws that will make us take another step in terms of public digitization.

Public Administrations must also be subject to the much-needed process of digital transformation. This is not a simple whim, but is done with the objective of achieving an optimization of resources and greater citizen welfare.

From the point of view of the latter, electronic procedures avoid inconvenience such as lines, waiting lists or previous appointments; they allow you not to miss a morning to go to the Administration office , being able to perform any operation anytime.

But that’s not all, from a purely economic perspective, according to a report by the National Center for Accessibility Technologies (CENTAC, by its acronym in Spanish), in the period 2011-2020; about 134,358 million euros will be saved thanks to eAdministration.

Nor should we underestimate the benefits of transparency and security that are achieved thanks public organizations going digital.

For these reasons, in 2015 the Spanish Government approved standards 39 and 40/2015 for the implementation of digital services in Public Administrations. After a period of moratorium, this October has entered into force. We tell you its basics.

Electronic Administration in Spain

At this point and before analyzing the basis of this new legislation, it will be advisable to review the current situation of the eAdministration of our country.

For this, as the first source we will resort to the study of the Official College of Administrative Managers of Madrid (Icogam, by its acronym in Spanish), Challenges of Electronic Administration in the European Union: beyond 2020. Spain is placed 4th, after Finland, Estonia and Denmark

According to this Icogam report, the main challenges facing Spain to improve aspects of eAdministration are:

  • Evolve in Open Government and transparency.
  • Strengthen interoperability.
  • Invest in cybersecurity.
  • Encourage data sharing with privacy guarantees.
  • Bring the telematics procedures closer to all sectors of society.

As a second way of information, we will use the September 2019 newsletter of the Observatory of Electronic Administration (OBSAE). Reviewing the figures shown in this bulletin, there is a notable difference between the use made of these services by companies, with 92.3% of them using these electronic resources, and citizens, where 56.7% of them use them.

Regarding the comparison between the uses of electronic processing versus face-to-face, a proportion of 85.72% is shown for the first versus the second. If we distinguish between citizens and companies, for natural persons the percentage is 78.9% and for companies 99%.

In addition to usage statistics, we can also find results regarding the availability of digital procedures and services, being 89%, and there are a total of 22,771 datasets available for reuse, showing a growing trend in recent years.

In interoperability aspects, it is stated that 19 autonomous communities and 40,000 municipalities are connected, covering 99% of the population.

As an aspect that concerns us directly, it is also reflected that 76.7% of companies use the digital signature in their procedures.

Usuario probando la firma con móvil y portátil

Laws 39 and 40/2015

As a prologue to the study of the foundations of these standards, we must point out that the Digital Transformation Plan of the General State Administration and its Public Organizations (ICT Strategy 2015 – 2020) was drafted taking into account these laws, so this plan meant a boost for them.

Once placed in situation, it is time to face the main points that characterize these two recently enforced regulations.

Law 39/2015 of Common Administrative Procedure of Public Administrations

This regulation gives a strong boost to electronic processing compared to the traditional one, relegating the latter to natural persons not obliged to make use of telematics channels. Among all the aspects it deals with, we can highlight:

  • The right and obligation of the interested party to relate electronically with the Administration is established.
  • Assistance for the use of the digital tools used.
  • Representations and records of various kinds.
  • Identification methods, such as eSignatures.
  • Electronic notifications.
  • Issuance and processing of documents.

Law 40/2015 on the Legal Regime of the Public Sector

With this law, basically the way of relating electronically between the different Public Administrations is established, dealing with matters such as:

Laws 39 and 40/2015 and the electronic signature

With the master lines of each of these marked laws, it is worth stopping to know in greater detail the aspects related to the electronic signature that contemplates this new legislation.

Regarding the mandatory electronic signature, Article 11.2 of Law 39/2015 specifies that the signature by the interested parties is mandatory for:

  • Formulate requests.
  • Submit responsible statements or communications.
  • Filing resources.
  • Give up actions.
  • Renounce rights.

This same law also establishes that the Cl@ve system will be the tool for using the different means of identification, such as the electronic ID or the digital certificate, among others.

With this new regulatory framework, Spain goes one step further in the digital transformation of the public sector, working to improve its already privileged situation as regards electronic administration.

Within this process digital signatures are key, since many of the procedures considered require secure authentication and completion of the signing process. Hence, the signature solutions proposed by Viafirma represent a valuable tool when it comes to relating to the Administration.