The German Federal Government has tasked the Federal Statistical Office with conducting satisfaction surveys every two years concerning services provided by government agencies for certain life and business situations. The first evaluation was performed in 2015. Results are made available online with the possibility for the public to comment.
I. General Overview
In 2015, the German Federal Government tasked the Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis)) with conducting regular evaluations of citizens’ and businesses’ satisfaction with the services provided by government agencies. Destatis is tasked with supporting the Federal Government in its goal of reducing bureaucracy, achieving better regulation, and reviewing existing administrative procedures in order to make them simpler and faster. The customer satisfaction survey is a general survey and not customized for each agency. The first evaluation was conducted in 2015 with results presented at the end of 2015/beginning of 2016; the second evaluation took place at the beginning of 2017. The evaluation will be conducted every two years. The website Amtlich-einfach.de was set up to inform the public about the initiative and to publish the questionnaires and results.
Destatis developed the concept and the questionnaire, and evaluated the results. The actual survey was performed by a private company that was selected through a public procurement process.
II. Feedback Collection and Evaluation
A. Type of Information Collected
In 2015, as a preliminary step, Destatis surveyed 1,000 citizens in order to determine how the actual satisfaction survey would be set up. Based on the results, the twenty-two most important and relevant life situations in which people interact with government agencies were selected from a total number of thirty-three life situations—for example, the birth of a child, unemployment, and university education. For the satisfaction of businesses, ten events were selected—for example, starting a business, taxation and finance, and recruitment. The main government agencies that citizens and companies interact with for these events were then compiled in collaboration with the people and businesses that had recently experienced the event in question.
The private company that performed the satisfaction survey in 2015 interviewed a total of approximately 5,600 citizens and 1,500 businesses regarding their experiences and satisfaction with the government agencies. The participants were asked to evaluate sixteen different criteria, namely information regarding procedural steps, understandability of application forms, access to application forms, possibilities of digital interaction, access to the competent agency, physical accessibility, opening and waiting times, information on the follow-up procedure, helpfulness, professional expertise, total processing time, confidence in the government agencies, nondiscriminatory access, integrity of public officials, and how easy it was to understand any legal requirements. Participation was voluntary and participants were randomly selected. The results were stored in an anonymized form and names, addresses, and phone numbers were deleted.
The questionnaires were evaluated by Destatis and the results were presented to the Federal Government and published on the website. The public may submit comments or questions regarding the survey on the website.
Based on the results, the Federal Government implemented the “Better Regulation Work Program 2016,” which aims to determine and initiate noticeable simplifications in administrative procedures in specific areas as identified by the satisfaction survey.
Prepared by Jenny Gesley
Foreign Law Specialist
 Bürokratieabbau und bessere Rechtsetzung. Initiative Amtlich-Einfach [Bureaucracy Reduction and Better Regulation. Initiative Administration Made Easy], Die Bundesregierung [The Federal Government], https://www.bundesregierung.de/Webs/Breg/DE/Themen/Buerokratieabbau/01_Initiative-Amtlich-Einfach/ _node.html (last visited Oct. 3, 2017), archived at http://perma.cc/LXR2-2VWJ.
 Gesetz zur Einsetzung eines Nationalen Normenkontrollrates [NKRG] [Act to Establish a National Regulatory Control Council], Aug. 14, 2006, Bundesgesetzblatt [BGBl.] [Federal Law Gazette] I at 1866, § 8, http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/nkrg/NKRG.pdf, archived at http://perma.cc/SF3Y-6928.
 Wissenswertes zur Zufriedenheitsbefragung [Facts Regarding the Satisfaction Survey], Statistisches Bundesamt [Destatis] [Federal Statistical Office], https://www.amtlich-einfach.de/DE/Hintergrund/ Zufriedenheitsbefragung/Zufriedenheitsbefragung_node.html (last visited Oct. 3, 2017), archived at http://perma.cc/84WY-TF3D.
 Destatis, Zufriedenheit der Bürgerinnen und Bürger in Deutschland mit behördlichen Leistungen. Ausgewählte Ergebnisse der Zufriedenheitsbefragung 2015 [Satisfaction of Citizens in Germany with Government Services: Selected Results from the Satisfaction Survey 2015], at 7 (Aug. 2015), https://www.amtlich-einfach.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/Ergebnisse_Buerger.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=6, archived at http://perma.cc/Z3QV-8LAH; Destatis, Wahrnehmung von bürokratischen Belastungen durch Unternehmen in ausgewählten Situationen in Deutschland. Ausgewählte Ergebnisse der Zufriedenheitsbefragung 2015 [Perception of Bureaucratic Burdens for Businesses in Germany in Selected Situations: Selected Results from the Satisfaction Survey 2015], at 7 (Jan. 2016), https://www.amtlich-einfach.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/Ergebnisse_Wirtschaft.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=6, archived at http://perma.cc/TM3Y-TGDK.
 Datenschutzhinweise [Privacy Notice], Destatis, https://www.amtlich-einfach.de/DE/Hintergrund/ Datenschutzhinweise/Datenschutzhinweise_node.html (last visited Oct. 3, 2017), archived at http://perma.cc/QPZ3-QQKR.
 Ergebnisse der Zufriedenheitsbefragungen [Results of the Satisfaction Survey], Destatis, https://www.amtlich-einfach.de/DE/Ergebnisse/Ergebnisse_gesamt_node.html (last visited Oct. 3, 2017), archived at http://perma.cc/NCA7-V7Y2.
 Haben Sie Anmerkungen, Anregungen oder Fragen zu den Ergebnissen? [Do You Have Comments, Feedback, or Questions Regarding the Results?], Destatis, https://www.amtlich-einfach.de/DE/Service/Feedback_Form_ Ergebnisse/FeedbackErgebnisseBuerger_node.html (last visited Oct. 6, 2017), archived at http://perma.cc/ZHX8-9UKQ.
 Arbeitsprogramm Bessere Rechtsetzung 2016 [Better Regulation Work Program 2016], Bundesregierung [Federal Government], https://www.amtlich-einfach.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/Arbeitsprogramm16.pdf?__ blob=p6ublicationFile&v=2, archived at http://perma.cc/H7KC-RU9N.
Last Updated: 12/28/2017