The central register of residence in Austria (CRR)

Published on: 11/06/2007
With effect 1 January 2003, the Support Unit was founded based on an Ordinance of the Federal Minister of the Interior. The mission is to support the residents‘ registration process in an optimal way, to make residence data accessible to the citizens, the economy and administration to the extent admissible under the law and to provide a basis data pool for E-Government. With the entry into force of the E-Government Act on 1 March 2004, the CRR has become the hub for E-Government projects (e.g. the Citizen Card function, the Register of Persons and the Supplementary Register).

Policy Context

By virtue of an ordinance of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the CRR started real operations on 1 March 2002. The CRR is the basis for many tasks of the public administration such as the Electoral Register, intergovernmental equalisation, the population census and the Citizen Card. Based on the Austrian federal government's 2002 Programme, the CRR is the “kernel” of all electronic processes between the citizen and the public administration (e-Government). (Website of the Austrian Federal Chancellery, With the entry into force of the e-Government Act (E-Government Gesetz / EGovG) 1 March 2004, a major step towards realizing the objective of e-Government has been taken. Since 2004 the CRR is able to store the datas of documents (certificate of birth, certificate of marriage, proof of citizenship) of a person. These datas are stored directly in the CRR by the relevant authorities. Once these datas are stored, a person does no longer need to enclose these documents for further electronic processes with public authorities and private neccassaty. The following extract of the Austrian e-Goverment Act describes the legal basis and the CRR is the service: Citizen may make use of the electronic availability of verified registration data by requesting from the Central Residents Registry a confirmation of registration and stored documents which has been signed electronically with an official signature and which states that the accuracy of the individual registration data has been verified.

Description of target users and groups

The Register of Persons is the kernel of the CRR. It contains all identified natural persons with some relation in Austria. (Approximately 8,4 millon persons in the Register of Persons.) These are persons residing / staying in Austria (Austrians and foreigner). In the Supplementary Register as an Add-On Register of the CRR all Austrians living abroad and foreigners transacting electronic procedures with Austrian authorities, e.g. foreign carriers, are administrated. The Supplementary Register consits of less than 100.000 persons. The data of the Register of Persons and the Supplementary Register are updated online by the authorities responsible for residence registration and Register Offices (for registering births, marriages and deaths) of all 2357 communities of Austria. The CRR provides many services for the public administration and offers many special queries for police, finance and other public authorities. In accordance with the Data Protection Act and the Austrian Registration Act, the economic sector is also allowed to make online searches in the CRR. This service is available against payment of a charge. The enterprise (a so-called "business partner") may make only very specific search queries to ensure that the search result provides information about one person only (according to the Austrian law). There are presently approximately 3000 business partner (enterprises of the economic sector) registered. The CRR provides "e-services" also for internal procedures of the public administration. The CRR supplies for example the Federal Ministry of Defense with all changed personal data and residence data of draftees. Some more hard facts: -) CRR has aprox. 100.000 users (public authority, police, business partner) -) CRR stores 8.3 millions of main residence datas, 1.4 million sub residence datas and approx. 65 millons of historical datas -) CRR has aprox. 200 millions of transactions per year -) CRR has a average response time of 0,9 seconds

Description of the way to implement the initiative

With 1 January 2003, the Support Unit ZMR headed by Min.Rat Dr. Oswald Kessler was founded based on an Ordinance of the Federal Minister of the Interior. From the very beginning the model of private public partnership was forced and led to an On-Demand-Concept of the operation and the development of the whole range of the central system. (Existing partnerships: IBM, e-SOL, XION, BEKO, TMSC) The administrational partners, communities and cities, got the experience that a closer cooperation with the CRR cut's the budget and burdon-sharing will bring more effíciency. Therefore about 1300 communities signed an application-service-providing (ASP) contract with the CRR and the bigger cities (e.g. Vienna, Graz, Salzburg) let operate all frontend services from the CRR. The advantage for all partners is seen in the comfort of data security, performance and especially in quickly adoptions of the system (on one place by legal and technical experts). All process and technical definitions where done in cooperation with the Austrian CIO and leader of the data protection board. The CRR is a story from an administration register to a central govermental service (technical it is a concept in terms of Service-Oriented-Architecture). Multi-channel issues: The CRR supports many multi-channel issues for several public authorities and for the economic sector. The online functions of the CRR are available both as "graphical user interface" (GUI) and in the form of interfaces. The technology is based on HTML and for the interfaces SOAP and XML technologies are used. Batch jobs (at night) are delivering changed data to the requester. The CRR is also offering active WEBServices to submit all changed personal and residence data of persons living in a selected community, automatically to the community. Hence these communities have actual data in their own local datasystems. All these multi-channel issues are supported via one central process engine. This process engine is based on the open source workflow system "SHARK".

Main results, benefits and impacts

The CRR was implemented 2001 after nine months of development. More than 80 providers of the 2357 communities, the communities and the 9 countries of Austria, were participants of the project, under the leadership of the Ministry of Interior. With a test run all communities from the biggest city Vienna to the smallest community, where online connected with the CRR. This was the biggest impact in Austria on the way to electronic society. With this first step of a full connectivity of all authorities and government agencies the way from the 14th place to the 1st place in European eGov benchmark started. Because of this successful project the central government decided after election 2002 in the central govermental programm to push the e-government development in Austria - politically, organisational and technical. The CRR became the e-government kernel and the groundfloor for electronic identity (e-Government Act, 2004). The Austrian concept was therefore so successful because the legislation defined fully functional concept for eID, communication, representation, etc. In the CRR the source identification number is produced through a one-way encryption machine and is only processed by the owner. It ist not allowed to register it in the government. This personal pin is coded for administration purposes in a so-called sector specific pin. This means, that every person has inside and outside of the government the same electronic identitiy. For this concept the Austrian government won 2005 the data protection price of the EU in Madrid. From the perspective of modern workflow management the CRR became as well as in the described upon the precursor of modern administration. The identity management and the address management is done by the origin authority. What does it mean : the civil registry office is managing the changes of identities and status of the people and the citizenship office ist changing the citizenship of they are acting on data. These authorities also register the netto data of this documents (birth, marriage, citizenship) in the CRR. By law this data are original documents in the Austrian society. You can see two benefits of this modernised workflow management – authorities act for the people and not the people for the authorities and the administration and the people can use electronic signed documents wherever they are. This was the beginning of the realisation of the concept “single point of contact”. For example : if a child is born in a hospital the civil registry office handle the registration of the child in the CRR and the registration in the birth book. With the electronic data of the CRR the ministry of finance can pay family allowance, etc. Therefore this classical administration register converted to a modern eID back office and electronic service for all governmental purposes. This is a good example for electronic governance – from a register to a service. Beside this political and administrational success story the competence of the registration went in the bigger cities from the police to the communities without problems. Technically a big change happens in the CRR from a hard-coded concept to a SOA concept. In the CRR the register of buildings and dwellings and the land register is integrated. All addresses in the CRR are equipped with the geographical code of the land register. Therefore the register can also be used for all statistics and all other services (e.g. services for firebrigade, police, school). This project was a sustainable milestone of the Austrian government on the way to e-Government and further to eDemocracy. Actually there is a discussion running for e-Voting in Austria. The CRR will be the backbone for e-Voting too. Innovation: The CRR is the first nation wide system (data communication network) that supports online all 2357 Austrian communities and all Austrian authorities. Including the economic sector approximately 100.000 user are working online in diferent functions and roles with the CRR. The system counts 200 million transactions per year. By developing the CRR, the focus was on using only Open Source Technology. All functions of the CRR are available both as "graphical user interface" (GUI) and in the form of interfaces. Thanks to the use of Web Services interfaces based on SOAP technology, it is easy to integrate other applications (e.g. geographical information systems, motor vehicle register, connection to e-healt / social security sector). The access to the CRR is only available by using a portal system including specific roles and rights. The main target group for the developed Austrian portal network are all organizations of the Austrian administration (the federal government, the provinces, cities, communities and other participants in the portal network). To access the CRR the administrative staff requires a home portal as a central entry point. The users are identified at their home portal (it is under the responsibility of the specific authority) and if they have the required authorization they may use the CRR via the application portal of the Federal Ministry of Interior. Every process of the CRR is running synchron as well as asynchron in a workflow - engine. The open source workflow system "SHARK" has been extended for one "non-persisting-level" by the Support Unit ZMR. The graphical user interface (GUI) is based on HTML. For the interfaces SOAP, XML-shema and XML technologies are used. By using a citizen card, the CRR offers the service to submit online the confirmation of residence as well as residence informations of every person stored in the CRR.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

The knowledge and experience of the development and implementation of CRR has been provided through presentations at fair trades, presentations at interested companies, presentations to other governments within the EU and mainly within the Austrian government sector in all stages (confederacy, federal states, communities). The knowledge and experience was used in the development of other registers in Austria.

Lessons learnt

The main lessons are: 1. to bring all participants (enduser, government, provider, software partner, communities, cities, etc.) into the project on a different level (work in the project, get information about the project, etc.) 2. there exists no final SOA product which fits to the needs of the administration and of the project 3. the security, as a main issue, can only be handled with an exact organisation and a detailed roles and authorities for the implementation of CRR 4. midrange computers are able to handle these massive transaction volume (2.000.000 transactions per year) and data volume (approx 600 GB) Scope: National