Liechtenstein’s administration is switching to digital document management. The goal is to digitize the entire administration by 2023. Last week, the government reported on another milestone achieved.

The government announced this week that since 21st September, the general secretaries of the ministries have switched to the digital document system “LiVE.” It essentially means that the government is now using digital originals, so all documents can be stored in a digital format without keeping a physical original.

15 administrative and diplomatic units of the country have already switched to the new system. The remaining administrative bodies that still rely on physical documentation management will subsequently switch to digital as well. The goal is to digitalize the entire administration by 2023.

Digital originals replace physical originals

Digitizing administrative processes brings an array of advantages. Speed and efficiency increase, and costs go down significantly. Using an interconnected digital system also means documentation becomes more traceable, and the individual government units can work together more effectively.

To integrate LiVE into all processes, every document that arrives at the administration will first get scanned and then stored in the system in a legally secure way. That means the documents become “digital originals,” and a physical document is not needed anymore to verify the originality of the documents. Outgoing documents don’t need a physical signature anymore. Instead, the digital original is sufficient to prove its legal validity.

Liechtenstein’s government has also introduced the official digital signature earlier this year. It makes signed documents more secure than a physical signature, as it’s harder to copy.

E-government law provides the legal basis

Part of digitalizing Liechtenstein’s administration is making adjustments to the e-government-law that provides the legal basis for digital administrative processes. The parliament had already consulted in the first hearing about these legal amendments in June. Member of Parliament Rainer Beck said at the time, “Offering digital services and administrative procedures is only efficient if incoming digital documents can be integrated into digital workflows as well as stored, processed, analyzed, and finalized digitally.”

Another crucial aspect is the realization of the so-called “once-only” principle, meaning data only has to be provided once and not repeatedly. MP Gunilla Marxer-Kranz commented on the local news page Vaterland.li, “Citizens and businesses do not have to send data again if they had already been sent once. This will lead to less bureaucracy and more security.”

Digitizing the administration will take years

Digitalizing the administration will be a long process that will take years and come at a significant price tag. However, in the long run, the improvements in efficiency and reduction in bureaucracy more than justify the expenses.

Prime Minister Adrian Hasler says the government plans to digitalize not only the internal administrative system, but all services provided by the government as well. That process has already started as the government now provides the eID for citizens to digitally identify themselves and digital driver licenses, which will eventually also be valid across all of Europe.

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