Press release

Study: German public administration wants to improve in the areas of digitalisation and IT security. Central coordination is required

The results of a nationwide survey conducted under the academic direction of Gerhard Hammerschmid.

Berlin, 7 June 2017 – When it comes to digitalisation and IT security, German authorities see enormous need for action. According to the leaders of public administration in federal, state and local governments, comprehensive policies are required. On the federal level, 40 percent of public administrators would like to see more standardisation and uniform requirements for digitalisation and IT security requirements, with just under 29 percent demanding better staffing and facilities, as well as better coordination of joint IT solutions between administrative levels. A majority advocate transferring the task of digitalisation from public administration to a central unit. These are the results of a nationwide survey of 346 public administrators, conducted by the Hertie School and Wegweiser Research & Strategy GmbH, under the academic direction of Gerhard Hammerschmid.

For 58.4 percent of administrators surveyed, digitalisation is the most important challenge in the next five years. Other high priorities include IT security (30.5 percent) and demographically-oriented personnel work (29.7 percent). Attracting skilled workers and younger employees is also a challenge (29.1 percent). Housing and integration of refugees, which was a high priority for many cities and municipalities in previous years, fell sharply on the list of priorities to 10.8 percent (more than 13 percent decrease).

IT security is a big concern for public authorities. Less than 10 percent of respondents think that Germany is well-positioned on this issue. 83.5 percent consider their own administration to be seriously at risk of possible cyber-attacks.

Public administration authorities want to intensify their digitalisation and e-governance initiatives. Numerous measures such as electronic ID cards have proven disappointing. “The survey answers are a clear indicator that real progress can only be made through increased standardisation and coordination. Administrators suffer from a patchwork approach of isolated initiatives,” says study director Gerhard Hammerschmid. A majority of those surveyed also support a restructuring of competences. They advocate either the establishment of an e-governance and digitalisation department (28.2 percent) or a new public institution, jointly funded by the federal government and German states (24.0 percent) in order to digitalise public administration in Germany in a sustainable manner.

Authorities have noticed progress on the digitalisation front, however these developments have led to too few improvements in efficiency and are still leading to significant cost increases. Most e-governance initiatives have only been implemented by a minority of authorities. This includes, for example, electronic filing (22.9 percent), electronic payments (23.3) or secure email communication (30.5 percent). Even further behind are personnel administration (19.6 percent), mobile e-government apps (17.5 percent), electronic proofs (14.4 percent) and electronic invoices (10.7 percent). About half of authorities do not want to introduce either cloud computing or big data applications.

The study will be presented at a press conference, which takes place 7 June (18:30-20:00) at the Hotel de Rome in Berlin, with Klaus von Dohnanyi, State Secretary Katrin Lange, State Secretary Sabine Smentek, Michael Seipel and Gerhard Hammerschmid. More information and registration can be found here.

More information about the upcoming Zukunftskongress Staat & Verwaltung (20-21 June 2017) can be found here (in German).

The Hertie School is a private university based in Berlin, Germany, accredited by the state and the German Science Council. It prepares exceptional students for leadership positions in government, business, and civil society. Interdisciplinary and practice-oriented teaching, first-class research and an extensive international network set the Hertie School apart and position it as an ambassador of good governance, characterised by public debate and engagement. The school was founded at the end of 2003 as a project of the Hertie Foundation, which remains its major partner.

Press contact Wegweiser GmbH: Oliver Lorenz, Geschäftsführer, Tel.: 030 / 28 488 1-20, Fax: 030 / 28 488 1-11, E-Mail: oliver.lorenz[at]wegweiser[dot]de

Zunkunftskongress auf Twitter: #ZKSV17