Digitisation as a way of life
“I work as a translator (Dutch to English) and English-language editor. Digitisation is very important for my contact with clients, delivery of translations, checking online. Most of my clients are in the Netherlands, with a few in other European countries. I try to engage in online activities as much as I can to cut down on paperwork and allow access wherever I happen to be.
My online activities include submitting tax returns, online accounting, internet banking, uploading invoices to my health insurance company as well as making appointments with the municipality to arrange refuse collection for larger items. I have experienced that as soon as a transaction can be carried out online, the whole process is simple and quick. If it’s not possible to carry out a transaction online, you sometimes have to go to the municipal offices in person, which takes up far too much time. Or do business by post, which is incredibly slow.”
Experiences with electronic identification
“I use DigiD to access public services in the Netherlands. Access is quick and simple using DigiD, also secure. It saves a great deal of your valuable time. I have recently tried to register with the UK equivalent for citizens – GOV.UK Verify. The online system did not accept my British National Insurance number, which is required for registration, so I had to phone the authorities. Fortunately there was a telephone number for phoning from abroad, which is not always the case. After a long wait, I was told that I will receive confirmation of the N.I. number by post and that will take 8-15 working days. That means a long delay before I can apply for a state pension statement. Same story from my private pension company. Logging in online is not possible if you live outside the UK, so again everything has to be handled by telephone or post. Fortunately I speak the language. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for people moving to another country or doing business there, particularly when they don’t speak the language.”