18 Jun 2021 | Press Release No. 23
Online appointments, video communication, chatbots: The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit – BA) is expanding its eService offerings and contributing to digital and social participation for citizens.
Thanks to the preparatory work of the last few years, the BA was able to provide new IT products that citizens and employers needed quickly, especially during the Corona pandemic, within a very short period of time: for example, newly developed apps for short-time allowance, chatbots to support applications for basic benefits and short-time allowance, or the revised online portal. The new digital applications are providing support in more and more areas of everyday life. Contacting the Agentur für Arbeit, for example, is now even faster and often possible around the clock.
The online appointment system is being successively expanded
Throughout the year, the BA is continuously expanding its appointment booking options to include online appointment booking. Anyone who registers as a jobseeker electronically can now also directly book their first counselling appointment at the Agentur für Arbeit.
Dr. Markus Schmitz, CIO of the BA: “More and more citizens want to be able to contact the public authorities online, for example to make an appointment, in addition to being able to contact them in person and by telephone. Within two weeks, we registered over 6,000 online appointment bookings alone. Also, starting next year, we will offer all customers who register online as jobseekers the additional option of booking an appointment online for a video interview with an employment officer.”
Video communication complements face-to-face counselling
With video communication, an important supplementary means of interaction has been created. For example, career guidance staff can consult with young people and share important information directly via the screen. But it’s not just topics related to studying, education and training that take place in the scheduled video talks. Clients with rehabilitation and participation needs also benefit from the scheduled video talks and can discuss topics related to integration into the training and labour market in the digital counselling room. In the course of the year, caregivers and sign language interpreters will also be able to participate in the video conversations. Data protection is guaranteed at all times.
Chatbots offer quick help for any life situation
Do I have a claim to basic benefits? What is the processing status of my unemployment benefit claim? Am I entitled to the child supplement? Customers can clarify these and many other questions with a digital assistant, a so-called chatbot. In the wake of the Corona pandemic, BA has been pushing hard to develop these chatbots to answer simple customer questions in an automated way. More than 320,000 dialogues with a chatbot were conducted by visitors to the BA homepage in 2021 alone. The chatbots are continuously being further developed and supplemented with additional life situations.
German Digital Day
The sponsor of the Digital Day is the initiative “Digital for All”, which brings together 27 organisations from the fields of civil society, culture, science, business, welfare and the public sector. The aim is to promote digital participation. The action day offers a platform to highlight various aspects of digitalisation, to discuss opportunities and challenges and to stimulate a widespread social dialogue. After the premiere on June 19, 2020, the Digital Day will take place annually. Information and background on the “Digital for All” initiative and on Digital Day can be found at: https://digitaltag.eu/