The French on-line change of address service

Published on: 25/10/2006
Each year, more than 6 million French move house. The service "on-line Change of address" was set up by the Government in order to give to the citizen a single point of entry and common to the public services at the time of the statement of change of address. In only one step, the user informs the administrations of his choice of his new address.

Policy Context

It is part of the French government’s electronic administration programme, ADELE 2004-2007.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The online change of address project consisted of making an online service available to the general public to enable them to advise the main public services of the fact that they had moved. This free service, accessible initially only by Internet, has been opened to new partner, public or private services. The public services recipients of the changes of address are to date: - family allowance funds, - unemployment insurance (Assedic), - sickness insurance, - state pension scheme, - tax authorities, - national service offices, - postal service, - Mutualité Sociale Agricole (public body responsible for social protection of agricultural workers), - AGIRC-ARRCO pension funds, - Caisse des dépôts (for monitoring pensions of some public servants)

Main results, benefits and impacts

The functional contents of the project of change of address are not particularly wide. The technology used is not no longer especially innovative. However, the on-line change of address service provides a concrete and simple illustration of two strong guidelines of the French programme of electronic administration ADELE 2004-2007. The user is placed in the middle of the mechanism. The service responds to a concrete need of the user and it is conceived to make transparent the complexity of the existing administrative structures. The following main principles were thus favoured: - the concentration of the services in a one-stop shopping: the on-line change of address involves in only one teledeclaration five public services among the principal interlocutors of the citizens. The service perimeter is far from being exhaustive and certain of the important administrative steps at the time of a change of address are not covered yet (for example, the update of the certificate of registration of the vehicles). However, a heading of the site called "practical Guide" counts them and details them. - the simplicity of the step: the principal simplicity factor is the complete dematerialization of the step. This simplicity comes from the deliberate choice to have safety rested on the supply of personal information (like the Social Security number or the tax number) by the user. In particular, the service does not have to send by mail a personal identification number to the users and those do not have to provide by supporting document mail. - ergonomics and the accompaniment of the users: in the design phase, the accent was put on the simplicity of use of the site by the users. Before the setting in production and the opening to the general public, tests were conducted to users to points of public access to Internet in order to validate the ergonomics of the site. The aid for users was envisaged through various channels: directly on the web site with contextual aid and a frequent question heading, by telephone and by electronic mail.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Lessons learnt

The main learning point is the principle to ensure the safety of the statement. The principal envisaged risk was identity usurpation: a badly disposed individual carries out a false statement for a third party in the intention to harm it. In order to counter this threat, the Working Party chose finally a very slight solution: according to the choice of the organisms to be reported, the user has to provide personal information non public like the Social Security number for the sickness insurance or the tax number for the tax service. This solution allows a complete dematerialization of the step while ensuring a safety level finally at least higher than that of the conventional steps by mail or by telephone. Solutions had been imagined as a sending of a personal identification number by mail at the old address but these did not seem to improve better safety while weighing down the service operation. Scope: National