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Electronic Delivery

With the electronic delivery, public administration has a tool for making their services more comfortable and easy to use for customers, as well as being more cost-effective for the sender

Administration units are faced with the challenge of firstly consolidating their budgets through savings and secondly improving their services in the sense of a modern service provider. With the electronic delivery, public administration has a tool with the potential to meet the two frequently opposing challenges.

As an important part of a service-oriented public administration, e-delivery gives private persons and businesses easy, time-effective access to their electronically delivered documents. Public authorities also profit from more efficient processes and sinking costs. An important goal for delivering documents via an electronic delivery service is that citizens need to have an electronic post box, which can receive all documents which are delivered.

An additional advantage to e-delivery for both senders and recipients is verification. An important part of the communication with public authorities requires proof that a document was only delivered to the intended recipient. This is done during conventional delivery of RSa or RSb letters as follows; in order to pick up a letter, the recipient must present valid identification to the delivery person at the postal office and sign the return receipt in person. The confirmation of receipt is then returned to the sender. Proof of electronic delivery also requires sufficient security and confidentiality so that recipients can be uniquely identified and authenticated. These criteria are fulfilled by the citizen card (mobile phone signature, activated e-card). With proof of delivery, the recipient signs the "return receipt" using a qualified electronic signature from his or her mobile phone signature or card-based citizen card (e.g. on the e-card). The receipt is then sent back to the public authority. Being able to verify delivery dependably is the difference between an officially recognised electronic delivery service and conventional e-mail, in which it is almost impossible to prove that a certain person received a message. Electronic delivery services can also be used to send non-official documents with proof of delivery. Many businesses in the private sector could profit from this in the coming years.

Probably the most important advantage for public authorities as opposed to using the classic postal office is the possible cost savings. These result predominantly from the reduction in postage and handling costs and the elimination of paper and envelopes. The cost to the public authority for an e-delivery using an electronic delivery service is half of what a letter costs (currently half of 0.68€) plus tax, which comes to 0.408€. In some cases, there is an additional cost to send a letter (currently 0.816€) for notifying the recipient by mail. When compared to the 4.20€ for an RSa letter or 2.10€ for an RSb letter, there is enormous savings potential in this field.

The system of "dual delivery" offers authorities the benefit of a uniform interface for electronic delivery and paper delivery. Whether the delivery is finally done electronically or in paper results from the availability of the recipient via an electronic delivery service. This means that every time a document needs to be delivered, a routine query results whether the recipient is registered with an electronic delivery service. Whether or not the delivery is carried out electronically or conventionally is irrelevant to the procedure.

Even though e-delivery will not completely replace traditional paper delivery, it is still a central element for making public administration services more comfortable and easy to use for customers, as well as being more cost-effective for the sender.

Guidelines  are available for an authority for the setting up of an electronic postbox.

Document in German