Public entities entering the digital age forced by COVID-19

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With the arrival of the coronavirus (Covid-19) the whole world changed completely, the way of communicating with each other becoming more digital, obviously, the Peruvian Government through its public entities have not been the exception.

The Peruvian public entities before the Covid-10 had a great gap with technology, since it was not part of the user-public entity relationship, because all the stages of the procedure, from the entry of the application to the notification, were carried out in a manner physical, that is to say, the attention to the user was deficient. Although the Government in 2018, through the Digital Government Law, Legislative Decree No. 1412, had plans for a digital transformation, in order to improve and streamline user service, this transformation was a long-term plan. However, on March 15, 2020 everything changed, with the arrival of the pandemic the Government was forced to enter the digital age by leaps and bounds, but really necessary, which today allow care to be more agile and efficient regarding the form of user-public entity communication.

In March 2020, with the declaration of the national state of emergency in Peru, public entities had to paralyze their activities. The Government’s response was to suspend the deadlines for all administrative procedures, by means of Urgency Decree No. 053-2020, which meant that all the procedures initiated before March 15th, 2020 were paralyzed and that new ones could not be started, because public entities were not open, being harmed many companies and natural persons that had to wait for the Government to solve the problem in some way. It is true that with the arrival of quarantine many activities were paralyzed, but it is also true that within the activities were non-paralyzed activities, some of them could only be carried out if they had a special authorization to do the economic activity, for example, pharmacies. However, it was not possible to start or continue with the procedures for special authorizations, therefore, many companies that wanted to develop a non-paralyzed activity, could not do it at the time, because public entities were not open.

Over the months, public entities restarted their activities through remote work (something that none of us would have thought that the Government would do before Covid-19) and began their digital transformation in a massive way, the main modifications are the following:

  1. New communication channels: New service channels were implemented so that users can enter their requests through e-mails or systems that allow them to enter each request virtually, which is currently known as “reception desk virtual”, that was part of the Government’s transformation plan, as established in Article 20 of Legislative Decree No. 1412. Likewise, the judicial hearings that are carried out are by Google Meet and the oral reports in administrative proceedings are also carried out virtually through the platform allowed by the public entity.
  2. Electronic licenses: The Government, with the intention of avoiding contact, has begun to implement identification documents issued virtually with a QR code that allows validating the information, for example, in accordance with Resolution No. 131-2020-SUNARP/SN, now Electronic Vehicle Identification Cards (TIVE) are issued, which can be downloaded from the cell phone and allow identifying the vehicle with its characteristics, also, Supreme Decree No. 026-2020-MTC authorized the implementation of Driving Licenses Electronic, which can be downloaded from the cell phone, but are still in the process of implementation.
  3. Digital signature: Currently, public officials’ issue and sign digitally the administrative decisions that will be notified electronically, in accordance with the provisions of the Law on digital signatures and certificates, Law No. 27269, and its regulations. In the case of the user, he or she does not have the obligation to enter his requests with a digital signature, which can be signed by hand and entered in PDF format through the reception desk virtual.
  4. Means of notification: The way public entities notified users was transformed, now these are virtual notifications by email and even today some public entities have electronic mailbox systems, where they notify you about the entire procedure.

These changes may not sound so impressive compared to other countries, but in Peru this digital transformation of our public entities have been by leaps and bounds during this pandemic. Which was planned to be implemented in several years, it was implemented in approximately one year, being forced to adapt and rush their digital transformation plan.

Article written by Almendra Espinoza, lawyer of our Corporate Area

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