Rijkswaterstaat gets to grip with digital communication

By Dorus-Jan ten Boom

Highberg helped Rijkswaterstaat get to grips with the three new laws governing digital communication with citizens and businesses. Because all these laws relate to the same processes, the multidisciplinary team was able to use an integrated approach to assess each process at once.

Rijkswaterstaat maakt werk van digitale communicatie

Highberg helped Rijkswaterstaat get to grips with the three new laws governing digital communication with citizens and businesses. Because all these laws relate to the same processes, the multidisciplinary team was able to use an integrated approach to assess each process at once. 

Society is digitizing at a rapid pace. This provides opportunities for governments to improve their services and operations. For example, communication with the government is increasingly taking place via digital means. Under current legislation, governments are not yet required to open up this digital way, but that is about to change.... 

New legislation: not only sending, but also receiving

Three new laws will take effect this year and next year, modernizing digital communication from and with governments. The Electronic Publications Act (Wep) provides rules for digital posting and publication of documents. The Electronic Administrative Modernization Act (Wmebv) gives citizens and businesses the right to communicate digitally with the government. The Digital Government Act (Wdo), which is still pending before the Senate, focuses on facilitating reliable communication with the government. 

With the introduction of these laws, the government is taking the next step in its digital transformation. Until now, the government has been transmitting mainly digitally, for example through the message box. These new laws, however, flesh out digital communication from citizens and businesses to the government. Think of things like responding digitally, accessing decisions independently of time and place, and then being able to respond to them digitally. 

New legislation requires both legal and technical knowledge

Much of this communication is currently still based on paper. Applications, objections and authorizations are often not yet (fully) accessible digitally. Processes that are digital often do not meet the latest guidelines when it comes to information security. The introduction of these laws therefore has far-reaching consequences for the IT systems and the way of working within the government. 

However, government bodies have no choice but to make these changes. For example, citizens and companies will soon be able to lodge well-founded objections against decisions that are not published and communicated digitally in the correct manner. 

Getting a grip on the impact

Highberg (formerly known as VKA) helped Rijkswaterstaat get a grip on this new legislation. The key ingredients for a successful end result were the integrated approach and the multidisciplinary team. Because the three new laws relate to the same processes, the integrated approach allowed each process to be assessed in one go. The multidisciplinary team included both legal and technical IT knowledge. To translate laws into concrete frameworks, and to translate them into functional and concrete solutions, also in the IT systems. 

"The team was professional, flexible, knowledgeable and creative: a pleasure to work with," said client Kate Price, information manager of Rijkswaterstaat. 

Practical applicable advice

So the first step in the approach was to identify the processes to which the new requirements apply. Based on this, a number of concrete adjustments were then recommended. By explicitly connecting to the existing ICT architecture, Rijkswaterstaat could immediately start implementing improvements in processes and IT systems.

As a result ofHighberg's research, Rijkswaterstaat now has insight into the extent to which these processes are already compliant, as well as a picture of the solutions and technological possibilities within Rijkswaterstaat and central government to realize the required adjustments.

Rijkswaterstaat says it finds this practical applicability ofHighberg's analysis and advice particularly important. Kate Price: "The research report is accessible, both in terms of text and visually. The team has also thought beyond the assignment by giving us preliminary advice and outline in how we can pick up the follow-up process ourselves. We feel very helped and are happy to work withHighberg again in the future."

This is the time to take action

This case study shows us that there are multiple challenges in implementing measures to comply with these laws. If you have not yet begun preparations, now is the time to take action. 

Do you need help preparing or implementing these laws? Please feel free to contact Dorus-Jan ten Boom. 

Andere klantverhalen van Highberg

divider