Digital signature. Ombudsman warns that Public Administration services must provide alternative means for citizens

The Ombudsman suggested to a local authority to change its municipal regulations, in the part that requires a qualified digital signature for the delivery of requests, documents and complaints. 

The suggestion arose from a complaint submitted to the Ombudsman by a person who, not knowing how to use the qualified digital signature, was unable to submit documents to the municipal council because the municipal regulation did not allow documents to be sent by e-mail or simply by handwritten signature.

The Ombudsman recalled, in this regard, that the Code of Administrative Procedure prohibits restrictions or discrimination in access to public administration services by those who do not use electronic means. For this reason, the requirement for a qualified digital signature cannot constitute an impediment in access to public services, especially for the most vulnerable, who do not have the knowledge and/or computer means to do so.

The entity concerned has already changed its actions and will amend the regulation which is the object of the complaint.