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Modernization and digitization of public management

Sometimes we think that public management, or in general the Public Administrations, are lagging behind the private sector, but as far as digitization is concerned, we must be fair and say categorically that this is not the case. The modernization and digitization of public management is something that needs to be talked about.

Spain has been a pioneer and a benchmark in the EU, and I dare say worldwide in digitization or digital transformation projects, because as early as 1996 the CERES project was launched within the FNMT to provide citizens and companies with a digital identity.

A history of modernization and digitization of public administration in Spain

In the early 2000s, interesting and innovative projects were carried out:

  • In 2003 the first electronic signature law was created, Law 59/2003, which regulates the types of electronic signature, digital certificates and types of digital identity.
  • In 2003 the first Electronic Prescription Project was launched in Spain, specifically in Andalusia. The implementation in other Communities was gradual.
  • Telematic approval of technological projects: architects and engineers begin to use the digital signature for the approval of their projects and, as proof of this, you can see the experience of the Castellón College of Architects.
  • In 2007 the DGT together with the Gestores Administrativos started the project of telematic vehicle registration. Now it is not only possible to register vehicles online, but also to transfer them in case of sale and purchase.
  • In 2009 the first eDNI is issued.

All these initiatives are accompanied by legislation, but in many cases we already know that technology anticipates the norm.
In this sense, from the Public Administrations (AAPP), all aspects of digital processes are regulated as we have mentioned before, but with laws such as Law 11/2007 on citizens’ access to public services, the different rules and initiatives at the level of electronic invoicing are ahead of the legislation. We can see examples in the creation of the general point of entry of invoices (FACE) issued to the AAPP among others.

Main electronic signature legislation in Spain

One of the most representative laws of all this is Law 39/2015, of October 1, on the Common Administrative Procedure of Public Administrations, which establishes in its Article 14:

Article 14.2. In any case, the following subjects, at least, will be OBLIGATED TO RELATE THROUGH ELECTRONIC MEANS with the Public Administrations for the completion of any formalities of an administrative procedure:

  • Legal entities.
  • Entities without legal personality.
  • Those who exercise a professional activity for which compulsory membership is required, for the procedures and actions carried out with the Public
  • Administrations in the exercise of said professional activity. In any case, within this group will be understood to include notaries and property and commercial registrars.
  • Those who represent an interested party who is obliged to interact electronically with the Administration.
  • The employees of the Public Administrations for the procedures and actions that they carry out with them by reason of their condition of public employee, in the form that is determined by regulation by each Administration.

In summary, in Spain it has been and continues to be the Public Administrations who should promote, energize and ultimately force the digital relationship with citizens, and they have done so. And among other things because it is the Public Administrations who are the first to benefit from carrying out these procedures, as they achieve obvious benefits for both them and the citizens:

  • Increased control at all levels
  • Saves time, travel and costs in general.
  • Avoids waiting lines and saturation of the administration’s public service offices.
  • Savings in personnel

We will discuss Public Administrations and the evolution of Digital Signatures at the next Digital Signature event, Beyond Ink next May, sign up here!


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