To carry out the tasks and obligations imposed on them by law, authorities require a lot of various information. A fundamental part of this information is kept in electronic systems, the so-called administration registers.
Registers are the main basis for many eGovernment applications. They contain relevant information on the respective governmental purpose and create valid data within the public sector. This makes it possible for the government to provide fast and dependable action. Citizens and businesses also profit from the data in the public registers.
The optimisation of the register landscape constitutes one of the key intentions of the joint ICT strategy of the Austrian administration in order to establish an efficient infrastructure for contemporary administration activities and innovative government services.
A cross-sector working group from federal government, provinces, cities and local communities already carried out the following evaluation with the following insight in 2010:
Improvement in the quality of the registers is a central theme, since only valid data can promote their use in electronic procedures. A core register needs to be defined for natural and legal persons with the necessary attributes and optimal processes for entering and updating the data. Cleaning up, merging and synchronising registers should be drawn up on this basis. Updates must be made to be required by law to ensure that the register basis is kept current. Wherever data privacy allows, the transmission of data must be made legal and automated queries must be made possible. Standardised technical interfaces need to be created to be used for all registers. With the creation of these kinds of automated mechanisms, it should be a duty of the authorities to support queries to the register. This would remove the need for businesses and citizens to submit information which is already saved in central registers (e.g., Central Register of Residents). Since personal information in particular plays a central role for optimisation for many different procedures, implementing a Central Register of Civil Status (including Births, Marriages and Deaths) should be carried out quickly. This Central Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths would be the key to an optimal procedure flow with the focus on "one-stop".
The evaluation has since formed the basis for a number of specific implementation measures, which contributes to a gradual improvement in the data inventory kept by the administration. Of pivotal importance in this context is particularly the register cores mentioned at the beginning for natural and non-natural persons whose functionality is firstly provided by the central civil status and nationality register (for natural persons) and secondly by the business register (for non-natural persons).
Central Civil Status and Nationality Register
The central civil status and nationality register is operated by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and contains information on civil status and nationality of predominantly Austrian citizens. Specifically, this means that the responsible civil status and nationality authorities note every single birth, marriage or civil partnership, divorce and death in the database of the register and assign these to the persons concerned.
Through the central filing of civl status and nationality data and the setting up of corresponding query options for individual administration units, in many cases, there is no longer any need, among others, for citizens to present certain documents or certificates (birth certificate, proof of nationality, etc.), which was frequently seen as an irksome task when dealing with authorities.
In addition, the central civil status and nationality register provides all Austrian administration systems with the register core for natural persons that stores the personal core data of all citizens at a central point. A comprehensive linking of the register core to other registers means that the quality and up-to-dateness of the data processed by the Austrian administration authorities is improved and thus the efficiency of the public administration increased in the long term.
The business register managed by Statistics Austria summarises the basic data of all non-natural persons in a central place.
For this purpose, it obtains data from the commercial register, the central association register and other registers such as e.g. the name of the company, the company’s registered office or also the persons entitled to represent the company and makes these data available to other registers and applications in the sense of a register core of non-natural persons.
In an analogous manner to the register core, the aim is to achieve an improvement in the quality and up-to-dateness of company-related data across the entire Austrian eGovernment infrastructure also in the case of the register core of non-natural persons through a close link to other registers and services.
Central Trade Register
June 2012 saw the official launch of the implementation of a new central trade register (project “GISA - GewerbeInformationsSystem Austria” (“Trade Information System Austria”)). The Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy is responsible for the project (BMWFJ).
The goal of the project is – through consistent consideration of modern eGovernment principles during the implementation – to be able to handle trade-related administrative processes more easily and more efficiently in future.
The technical basis of the “GISA” is the Salzburg trade register that is being modernised in places and/or adapted to the specific requirements of the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy.