Use of comprehensible language in administrative forms

The accessibility of administrative forms is to be implemented consistently, particularly with regard to comprehensible language – this approach is being tested in a pilot project to form the basis for possible scaling. It is a challenging task to re-word complicated legal and technical texts – something that can be off-putting for many users – but there is a risk of resorting to overly simplistic language that is often perceived as unappreciative.

On a model basis, forms at a Citizens’ Office are checked together with citizens for their comprehensibility with regard to language and accessibility, ideas for their improvement are developed, and existing forms are revised based on the findings. Further steps: scaling of outcomes for additional forms and the creation of foreign language forms – in addition to German, at least English is to be offered. An initial approach was previously tested at the Digitalwerkstatt Verwaltung (“Digital Administration Workshop”).

In this way, draft and prototypes can be used to determine Berlin’s scope for freedom in view of the specifications deriving from the approach of the system Föderales Informationsmanagement (Federal Information Management – FIM) system. The FIM seeks to base the descriptions on the standardizations provided by law. Work stages required under the law cannot be resolved by designing the form differently: a change in the law is needed.

Responsible: Senate Department for the Interior, Digitalization and Sport

Participants: Technologiestiftung Berlin/CityLAB Berlin

Period: 2022 – end of 2023

Fields of action: Develop urban services with low barriers and in line with needs; establish effective (administrative) processes and tools for implementing projects

Spatial level: Accessible urban space

Strategy Chapters

  • Why Gemeinsam Digital: Berlin?

  • Values Compass: How do we shape Berlin as a digital city?

  • Fields of Action: What does the city need?

  • Measures: How can we realise Berlin as a digital city?

  • Governance: How do we work together?

  • Implementation: What tools do we need?

  • Impact measurement: How do we stay on track?

  • Overview of Strategy