The bridging assistance platform

A strong idea is worth nothing without a purposeful concept and innovative implementation. In the project, we implemented the central procedural platform for Corona economic aid from the federal and state governments on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK).

It was a digitalization project on a previously unknown scale - with special significance for the German economy, great social importance and the highest political attention. A platform for handling Corona economic aid was intended to help contain the economic consequences of the pandemic. Through the aid programs, the responsible agencies disbursed well over 56 billion Euros in economic aid to more than 2.4 million applicants.

At the beginning of the project, the German government was faced with major questions: How could the federal and state governments ensure rapid implementation? And yet still comply with complex regulatory requirements and EU legal frameworks, as well as the highest standards of security and data protection? And how can the responsible agencies disburse the urgently needed aid to eligible applicants in a targeted manner and as quickly as possible?

We accompanied the lead BWK through the entire process and delivered a future-proof and adaptable solution in our holistic approach: an end-to-end process platform and the information portal

Screenshot of the homepage of the information service on bridging assistance from the federal and state governments
Screenshot of the bridging assistance application portal

Entire management process digitalized

The platform combines various open source components and low-code products as well as standardized interfaces with one goal: to digitally map the entire cycle of the application and approval process without media discontinuity. Companies from all federal states can find out about the various types of assistance, submit the application digitally themselves or via reviewing third parties, and track the processing status.

All of the state's approval offices use the new specialized procedures, which support the processing process with (partially) automated data checks. We completely redeveloped the specialized procedures for this purpose and integrated them into the platform.

In addition, the preparation and payment of notices are also newly created process steps and integrated components of the specialized procedure. High security is provided by the various authentication methods, including registration via ELSTER certificates, the federal user account with the new ID card and BayernID. The technical infrastructure is designed to operate the platform in all 16 federal states and across multiple utilities.

The urgently needed liquidity assistance should reach companies and the self-employed quickly and without bureaucracy. The nationwide IT platform and the good cooperation with the federal states, the auditing third parties and ]init[ have been instrumental in helping us achieve this.

Dr. Sabine Hepperle

Head of Department SME Policy, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection

Implementation in record time

As part of a project to implement the Online Access Act (OZG) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), ]init[ implemented the nationwide platform. Only a few weeks passed from the conception of the Corona aid in June 2020 to the first application on Other aid programs followed and were already available online in all federal states shortly after the political agreement on the funding conditions.

Since then, new aid programs have been mapped on the platform in a short time. Specialists from all service areas worked hand in hand to meet the tight schedule.

The bridging assistance shows how quickly an administrative service can be digitalized with the utmost commitment from all parties involved at the federal and state levels. In this crisis situation, we have launched an online procedure that, as the first fully digitalized end-to-end process, sets a milestone in OZG implementation.

Sandra Valentin

Chief Operating Officer, ]init[

Prime example of OZG implementation

The digital end-to-end platform for Corona assistance is one of the few OZG services available digitally across the board. The service is assigned to the OZG- topic area of Research & Funding and is a flagship for the "One for All" (EfA) principle. All 16 federal states use the central BMWK platform for uniform application submission and, together with their 21 approval offices, have decided to also use the common specialized procedure for application processing. More than 45,000 examining third parties and more than 270,000 self-employed persons with an ELSTER certificate have already registered in the system for filing applications. As of May 2022, more than 5,600 clerks are registered nationwide in the specialized procedure.

The implementation of the OZG by the federal and state governments, which is based on a division of labor, is managed centrally by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Home Affairs (BMI). The BMI has financed the digitization of bridging assistance.

The bridging assistance procedural platform is a prime example of successful digitalization according to the EfA principle via complete end-to-end platforms. This was only possible through good and close cooperation between the federal and state governments.

Ernst Bürger

Head of Department Digital Administration, Control OZG at BMI

The platform impressively demonstrates how end-to-end platforms support the direct impact of policy measures: Automated pre-screening and progress payments enabled accelerated disbursement, in some cases within one day of application.

Approach for OZG 2.0

In addition, the end-to-end process and data platform already shows a possible approach for "OZG 2.0": Component-based administrative platforms that bundle multiple services and user groups and thus enable efficient processing of administrative services without media disruption can contribute to accelerating the provision of new digital procedures.

More project insights

  • Implementation of more than ten funding programs for companies affected by the Corona pandemic, from application to processing, approval and payment to final settlement in 17 uniform national application and processing procedures on a single platform: To date, more than 2.4 million applications have been submitted via the platform and more than 56 billion Euros have already been paid out to affected companies.
  • Strategic, specialist and technical advice to the ministries and the 21 granting agencies on setting up the various funding programs, including support for political communication and public relations work.
  • Establishment and operation of a highly secure and scalable infrastructure in the ]init[data center.
  • Design and implementation of the overall architecture of the platform consisting of a registration component with ELSTER connection as well as a nationwide application and specialized procedure based on a combination of different technologies, including OSS frameworks such as KeyCloak and Java Spring Boot, software products such as the Pega Low Code Platform, Government Site Builder, CoreMedia and other tools (e.g. Docker).
  • Design and implementation of various interfaces, including for standardized data exchange with federal and state funds and automated data reconciliation with other authorities to determine application eligibility.
  • Agile project approach with close involvement of the responsible federal and state ministries as well as 21 granting agencies.

Our services in the project

Shape the digital society of tomorrow with us!

Anne Pohl, Business Developer at ]init[ AG

Anne Pohl

New Business

+49 30 97006 6103

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