Utrecht, 30-1-2020. Dutch municipalities today have to deal with the digitisation task of government. Sustainability plays an important role in this. Processes can be digitized in different ways and the digital signature is one of them. ValidSign’s solution has been supporting the city of Utrecht since the beginning of 2018 in its digitisation process. For the municipality with more than 1000 employees, the solution has become indispensable.
Process optimization and insight
Within a municipality, a huge number of documents are signed. Complex sign-up processes are regularly involved when multiple signatories who are not working in the same location have to sign one and the same document. “Documents were previously drawn up, printed, signed, scanned, sent by mail or mail and archived manually afterwards. As a result, documents remained for a long time, damaged or came back incomplete. Fortunately, this no longer happens within the processes where ValidSign is used.”, says Frank Visser, Functional Administrator at the Municipality of Utrecht.
The Municipality of Utrecht ended up at ValidSign by tendering a European tender and during the project “Digital signing externally” in 2018 they started the platform. Process optimization was initially the reason to arrange ValidSign. The digital signature solution allows documents to be sent out digitally for signature, eliminating a whole number of steps from the sign-up process and their status is insightful afterwards. At the time, a pilot was launched for the signing process on evictions for social rented housing. A rent arrears of 2 months can give the municipality reason to remove the tenant of a social rented property from the property. ValidSign allows an eviction form to be signed digitally without the chance that citizen data will be available on the street.
“We realized that the digital signature could provide a solution for many more colleagues. The fact that most ValidSign users within the municipality of Utrecht have started using the solution by word of mouth is actually enough. The ease that the solution brings is unprecedented. A few months ago, a news item about ValidSign was posted on the intranet page of the municipality. As a result, more questions about the solution poured in,” says Visser. Ali Provily and Frank Visser have been held responsible for the roll-out of the signing solution within the municipality of Utrecht. Thanks to the user-friendliness of ValidSign, they got to know the product well enough within a short time frame to be able to transfer it internally to colleagues. They host at least two internal ValidSign demonstrations every week.
ValidSign is therefore being used for more and more processes within the Municipality of Utrecht. First of all, the Purchasing Department makes the most of the solution to have both internal and external documents, including procurement contracts, signed digitally. For example, it could take weeks for a purchase contract to be completed. By sending the contract digitally for signature, it will be completed within a few hours. If it takes too long, a reminder will be sent to the signer so that he or she signs the document on the same day. ValidSign is also used by the HR department to sign secondment contracts that hire external employees. Previously, one depended on the physical presence of a signatory and now the employment contract is sent and signed digitally. In addition, the Work and Income Department uses ValidSign to sign cash distribution agreements. Many more documents are signed digitally within the municipality, but due to GDPR legislation, the application administrators cannot see this.
Digital signing cannot be imagined for the future within the municipality of Utrecht. Visser explains: “We hope that the entire municipality will sign digitally with ValidSign within two years. Every head of the department of the municipality of Utrecht has been informed of the solution and increasingly transfers the solution to colleagues within his or her department when a particular process can be optimized with ValidSign”. Within the municipality of Utrecht, work is being done with the Enterprise Content Management System Alfresco. Once the integration with Alfresco is realized, this process will only be accelerated. Documents can then be sent out, managed, and automatically archived after signing in the right place in the Enterprise Content Management system.