Digital transformation

Civil self-service: 8 public services for citizens to serve themselves

February 22, 2023 - 4 minutes reading time
Article by Newsroom Insights

Municipalities can significantly up their service level by providing online services that enable citizens to help themselves. That way, people can arrange their government affairs whenever it suits them, while civil servants are relieved because less administration is involved. Which services can your municipality easily leave to you?

Requesting a travel document, moving house, registering your marriage? As a citizen, you are dealing with your municipality at many important moments. In the past, that required visiting the town hall. Fortunately, nowadays more and more things can conveniently be arranged online, via your municipality's website. Since you no longer have to go out, this saves you a lot of time.

Modern online e-services are also certified for accessibility. This means that they are user-friendly and accessible to everyone. Municipalities can easily let their residents arrange the following services themselves. No need to visit the town hall!

1. Register a change of address

Are you moving to a different municipality or within your current one? The e-service pre-fills in known details and adjusts automatically. Do you have a family? Family members simply move with you online. Registering at the wrong address is impossible, because the eDienst only shows domestic residential addresses. And the municipality's professional sets the controls that alert when a certain situation arises, for example if the citizen wants to move to an address that does not have a residential function.

2. Report the loss of a travel document

Losing a passport or identity card? It happens regularly. To prevent misuse of travel documents, the loss should be reported to the municipality as soon as possible. Fortunately, there is an online solution for this as well. With the e-service for reporting a missing travel document you report the loss, wherever you are and with whatever device you have at hand. Even abroad. The online service then automatically processes the missing record in the civil affairs application at the town hall.

3. Apply for a travel document

Citizens applying online for a travel document immediately see whether they still have a travel document. They indicate which travel document they are applying for and whether a partner should be mentioned. Paying for the document is quick with iDEAL or credit card. Then you simply make an appointment online at the town hall or city hall. This preliminary work saves a lot of time when you later come to the counter for the passport photo and fingerprint.

4. Declaration of birth

New parents declare their child together, whenever and wherever they want. Even from the maternity bed, whether in hospital or at home. If one of the parents registers with DigiD, the e-service automatically shows the partner's details as well. And it thinks along with them: are they married? Do they already have a child? Is there a deed of name selection? The service only asks the questions that are relevant to their specific situation. Mistakes are impossible. Moreover, Centric's civil affairs application automatically creates a file for the civil registry. Handy!

5. Arrange your marriage or partnership

For two people who want to seal their relationship, registering their marriage or partnership is a special moment. How nice is it if they can do it at their own place and time? They set the date, time, and location for the ceremony online. And possibly their preference for an extraordinary registrar. Is there already a notification of intended marriage or partnership? Do they want a wedding booklet and red carpet? They pay these and the fees directly online.

6. Request an extract

Citizens no longer have to visit their town hall to request an extract from the Personal Records Database. You can now order such an extract on the municipality's website. The municipality decides which extracts are available online, so the content and price may vary from one municipality to another. As a citizen, you choose how you want to receive the extract and you pay by iDEAL or credit card. The e-service checks whether the applicant may indeed request the extract. And municipalities can process the extract 100% automatically, as the citizen's details no longer need to be looked up or retyped.

7. Request a voting pass

In elections, it can sometimes be convenient to vote in another municipality. With the voting pass application service, you can easily apply for a voting pass online. Has your voting pass been lost? If so, a replacement is easily arranged. Just log in with DigiD, enter a different delivery address if required - and you're done. Are you unable to vote yourself and do you want to authorise your partner, child, or neighbour? Then arrange this via the e-service for requesting a proxy voting pass. You only have to go out to vote!

8. Apply for assistance for the self-employed (Bbz)

The municipality is also there for entrepreneurs, of course, and they too benefit from online services. For example, self-employed people with financial problems. Entrepreneurs who want to apply for assistance through the (Dutch) Bbz assistance scheme, can now submit their application digitally themselves. 24/7, wherever they are and from any device. As an entrepreneur, you quickly have clarity about your application and the municipality saves money, because external consultancies for the credit assessment are needed less often. And, very importantly: every application is handled in exactly the same way, ensuring that decisions are always consistent and objective.

More digital self-services

This list could have been much longer. These eight digital counters are just a small sample of the extensive range of available online self-services. Nowadays, municipalities have at their disposal a wide range of e-services to serve their citizens – or rather, to enable citizens to serve themselves!

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