Putting Humans First: Digitisation of Government Services from the Citizen’s Perspective

Michiel Scheltema, Ivar Timmer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Many countries experience waning public trust in government, while digitisation of society is on the rise and public authorities continue to further digitise their services. If governments do not pay enough attention to the perspective of citizens and adopt a citizen-centric approach while designing digital services, accessibility of government services may decrease and further erode public trust. Against this background, this chapter explores the digitisation of government services from a citizen’s perspective, with a special focus on the role of the law and legal professionals. The chapter is based on the experiences of the authors over the past years with using digitisation to enhance citizens’ access to the law and to improve the way in which (internal and external) processes of public legal departments work.

In current practice, the logic of the law often requires that citizens split up their problems or requests for help and approach different government bodies for different aspects of their problem. Well-designed digital government services put real-life problems that citizens experience first and combine all regulations that offer possible solutions, thus reducing complexity for the citizen and increasing their capacity to act. The limited capacity for personal contact can then be reserved for those citizens that need it. From a legal perspective, it is essential that government services are based on a traceable and transparent connection to the underlying regulations, using external knowledge models. Current government practices leave a lot to be desired in this respect. Methodologies are available to create these connections and are an important element for designing legally sound and citizen-centric government services.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiquid Legal - Humanization and the Law
EditorsKai Jacob, Dierk Schindler, Roger Strathausen, Bernhard Waltl
Place of PublicationCham
ISBN (Electronic)9783031142406
ISBN (Print)9783031142390
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameLaw for Professionals (LP)


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