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NE – E-Administration is there! Well, not quite everywhere… June 28, 2008

Posted by Sacha in /dev/null, Regional.

In Neuchâtel, pretty much all public parking slots are now time limited (in order to incent people to go down town using public transportations and probably also because cars are increasingly considered as evil in this 21st century). However, if you do live down town and have a car, you can pay a yearly fee and obtain a certificate that permit parking in the street where you live with no time limit. Fine.

Recently, I thought about obtaining such a “parking certificate” from the local authority. So I went there and the dialog went pretty much like that:

  • Hello, I’d like to get a parking certificate.
  • OK, no problem. I will need a copy of your certificate of establishment [1] and a copy of your car certificate.
  • OK, but, I know the ID number of my car and I know my name, so why do you need copies of documents you have in the computer next to you?
  • Well, but I need to build up a folder with all of that information and send it for approval
  • Sure, but if I give you my name and car ID, you can check all of that information, put it in an e-mail and we are done in 5 minutes
  • What?!? You want me to do this work for you?
  • Huh… yes…
  • But, I am telling you I need paper copies that I can forward somewhere else?
  • OK, whatever…

This very 19th’ish century discussion took place in 2008, in a canton who was the first one to provide online e-voting (and a bunch of online administration services). Better, all information that person needed is already online: the identity check has been on the police intranet for more than a decade (hey, that is their job after all!) and the car ID validation is publicly available on the Internet. Bottom line, in 2008 some still think that stapling together fakable paper copies of official documents proves more efficient and secure than an online verification against live data.

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” [2]



[1] Document proving that you are living where you say you are living.

[2] General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army as quoted by Tom Peters in Reimagine, DK 2003.



1. Thomas Heute - June 28, 2008

When i had to ask for the same thing, i was stupid enough to think that filling the online form available from here http://www.policeneuchatel.ch/general.asp/4-0-20684-5508-111-1-0/
(“Privé – Nouvelle demande et renouvellement de votre autorisation”) would give me access to the Sesam.

I thought it was really nice to be able to do that online, except that I never received anything and had to go to the police station at the end. (I don’t remember if they asked me for any document though…)

2. Galder Zamarreno - July 31, 2008

What on earth would customer ever say if I responded to them “What?!? You want me to do this work for you?”

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