• “Free Nursery Schools”, automatic checks on 90% of the requirements with Blockchain

The trial in Cinisello began on the 23rd: applications submitted in less than 8 minutes

The Lombardy Region officially began its trial involving the use of Blockchain technology as an anti-bureaucracy measure with the “Free Nursery Schools” initiative, which will allow nursery school fees to be eliminated in the pilot municipality of Cinisello Balsamo.

And the results are in: thanks to the new procedure, the average time it took for families to submit a new application was 7 minutes and 40 seconds, with 90% of the requirements being verified automatically by the system and already entered into the Blockchain. 

Consequently, the Municipality is almost entirely relieved of the need to check the authenticity of the families’ declarations, and the citizens no longer have to produce an entire series of documents to be attached to their applications.

The trial proposed by the Lombardy Region’s Department of Research, Innovation, University, Export and Internationalization was thus able to show off all of its advantages in the field. It was a decisive step, not only towards the digitalization of the public administration’s processes, but also towards a true simplification of the procedures.

“On the first day alone, 27 applications for Blockchain membership were submitted during the first 5 minutes after we opened, and 60 were submitted during the first hour,” said Fabrizio Sala, vice president of the Lombardy Region. “On average it took less than 8 minutes to submit an application. It was an unprecedented success, and this is a clear indication that we’re on the right path towards simplification”. Not to mention the fact that “all the families interviewed said that they were extremely satisfied with the tool developed and the support provided by the Lombardy Region. 100% of the families who sought assistance received immediate support”.

The new development: how it works

The solution developed by the Region provides citizens with an interface (available as both a mobile app and desktop application) that they can use to verify whether they meet all the requirements to eliminate their nursery school fees, all via a secure data exchange platform. The requirements to be checked include the ISEE (Equivalent Economic Situation Indicator), the parents’ occupations, residence, nursery school enrolment, and the fee paid (families in the highest brackets are excluded from the initiative).

The automatic verification is therefore carried out through the Blockchain: the ‘chain of blocks’ thanks to which a series of data can be shared and certified among various subjects - such as the Municipality and the Social Security Agency - in an entirely secure manner, without centralizing the relative IT systems and without compromising the citizen’s privacy.

Faster and more reliable checks

The response given on Monday the 23rd by the first families to use the app indicates that there is great interest in the initiative, which the Region and the Municipality of Cinisello showcased at a public meeting on 11 September.

Among all those eligible for the “Free Nursery Schools” initiative, some fifty households immediately submitted an application. The analysis of this first sample indicates that the residual investigation time for the participants in the trial has been significantly reduced, and that no one will be required to undergo a verification by the Municipality, thus resulting in a clear simplification of the process and a reduction in the times necessary to process each case. 

In particular, considering all the requirements that had to be checked (615 in all), as many as 90% (or 551) were able to be verified automatically: therefore, only 10% of the applications submitted required manual verification. And for the ISEE, the percentage of requirements verified automatically exceeded 99%
“I’m very happy. Our Municipality has shown that it is up to the challenge,” said Giacomo Ghilardi, mayor of Cinisello Balsamo. “The families’ response to the trial was overwhelmingly positive: they were able to seize the opportunities offered by this new technology, and enjoy its benefits. We’ll soon be reaching new milestones with other services as well”.
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