Administration? Accessible

Issue 00/14

The relationship between the administration and citizenship must be reciprocal: not only shall ensure of the fulfillment of our duties but for the protection of our rights.

Cities of the twenty-first century seem to give us little time to carry out our daily obligations—work, family, exercise and, if possible, leisure and friends … Consequently, citizens would prefer their dealings with the all-powerful administration to be, above all, smooth.

Girogio de Chirico: L’enigma de una giornata no 2, 1914. MAC~Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

This doesn’t mean that the relations between urban dwellers and the administration are always confrontational. In fact, the various administrations, though especially local administrations, have a natural presence in daily affairs: from street cleaning and rubbish collecting to public transport and sports facilities and services for senior citizens … After all, that’s what our taxes are for.

And yet all too often, the administration seems to be the last to realise this, its main concern being that the tax agency should have the necessary means to ensure people fulfil their fiscal obligations. It therefore seems right that in exchange we should demand certain standards of quality both in the services offered by the administrations and in the way they relate to us.

idMAG_0014_idlog_crespo_02

Piero della Francesca [?]: The Ideal City, c. 1470. Galleria nazionale delle Marche, Urbino, Italy

Nowadays, the least we can expect of any company we hire is availability of all information on line—preferably also in English, as a sign of their openness to the world—and the possibility of dealing with them in person, over the phone, by mail or on line, including the use of mobile applications and social networks. So, isn’t it understandable that we should ask exactly the same of the public administration?

Companies such as KLM airline company have made social networks central to their customer services because of the simplicity they offer citizens, how swiftly and easily they deal with their problems or redirect them to the right service. When will be able to expect the same from local administrations?

Furthermore, the existence of fewer and perhaps clearer rules would favour the setting up of projects in a reasonable period of time without this entailing an excessive burden for individual economies, and would consequently also lighten the work of the administration, which could guarantee more efficiently that rules are obeyed and consequently everyone’s safety is guaranteed.

Paying greater heed to comparative law, particularly English law, and to the new experiences set up in other more dynamic cities will no doubt bring us closer to this ideal.