Information in English

The Crossroads Bank for Social Security (CBSS) elaborates the E-government strategy within the Belgian social sector and co-ordinates the implementation of the E-government projects in that sector.
Thanks to a huge business process re-engineering between 3.000 actors in the social sector, under coordination of the CBSS, a maximum number of social benefits and subsidiary rights are automatically granted without citizens or their employers having to make declarations anymore and the administrative burden for citizens and companies has been drastically reduced.

The environment 

The Belgian social security consists on the one hand of 3 insurance systems (workers, self-employed workers and civil servants), that cover maximum 7 social risks (incapacity for work, industrial accident, occupational disease, unemployment, old age, child care and holiday pay - the so-called branches of social security), and on the other hand of 4 assistance systems (subsidies for the handicapped, guaranteed family allowance, minimum income and income guarantee for the elderly), that grant people specific minimum services after checking their subsistence resources. In total about 3.000 institutions are responsible for the execution of the Belgian social security. More than 10.000.000 socially insured persons and 220.000 employers have very regular contacts with those institutions to assert their rights, to furnish information therefore or to pay contributions.

The problem

27 years ago, a deep analysis about the working of social security proved that

  • the organization of the business processes of the social security institutions was not very customer-oriented and was certainly not harmonized between the different social security institutions
  • each social security institution had its own set of paper forms with accompanying instructions, on the basis of which, when a social risk occurred, one would ask for information that was specifically necessary to grant the rights as a result of that concrete risk
  • the social security institutions very often asked the socially insured persons and their employers to ask for information that was available in another social security institution in the form of a paper certificate and to deliver that certificate, rather than directly collect this information between themselves
  • the socially insured persons and their employers had thus to inform a lot of social security institutions of a same reality, every time according to other legal concepts and administrative instructions
  • the socially insured persons and their employers had themselves to look for their rights throughout the social security system and could not count on the automatic granting of all rights on the basis of one declaration

The creation of the Crossroads Bank and its mission

To improve the service delivery to the socially insured people and the companies and to solve the above mentioned disfunctionalities, the CBSS was created 27 years ago.

The mission of the CBSS is to be the motor of e-government in the social sector, i.e.

  • to stimulate and to support the actors in the Belgian social sector to grant more effective and efficient services with a minimum of administrative formalities and costs for all the involved; based on a common and concerted vision, the actors in the Belgian social sector benefit from the new technologies to improve and re-organize radically their mutual relationships and processes
  • to promote the information security and the privacy protection by the actors in the Belgian social sector so that all the involved institutions and people can have justified confidence in the system
  • to deliver integrated statistical information to the politicians and the researchers in order to support the social policy

The actual results

A global review of the processes throughout the social security has been realized. The actual situation can be summarized as follows

  • the socially insured persons and their employers must now only make a declaration to the social security system as a whole in the following cases

o    at the latest at the beginning of a work relation, an employer has to declare at which time (date and hour) the concerned worker enters into office

o    every quarter of a year, the employer has to declare which income each of his workers has earned, divided in income components that from now on have uniformly been defined throughout the social security branches for workers and civil servants, and how many workdays and assimilated days each of his workers has worked, divided in sorts of days that from now on also have uniformly been defined throughout the social security branches for workers and civil servants

o    when a social risk occurs, the socially insured persons or their employers have only to declare the information about that social risk; information about the historical income or the historical work performances or assimilated performances doesn't have to be reported anymore because it is obtained from the quarterly declaration of wages and working time data; only if wages and working time data are necessary concerning a period for which the quarterly declaration has not yet been made, the wages and working time data for this period will still have to be reported, in the form of an anticipated declaration and according to exactly the same principles as the quarterly declaration

o    at the latest at the end of a work relation, an employer has to declare at which time (date and hour) the concerned worker leaves office

  • all the declarations of the beginning and the end of a work relation have to be made electronically, either via the exchange of XML messages between applications, or via transactions that are available on the social security portal; the declarations can be modified electronically, either via the exchange of XML messages between applications, or via transactions that are available on the social security portal; each employer has access, via transactions on the social security portal, to the list of his workers, and can get, via file transfer in XML format, an electronic list of his workers so that he doesn't have to keep up his own personnel register anymore
  • all the quarterly declarations of wages and working time data have to be made electronically, either via the exchange of XML messages between applications or via transactions that are available on the social security portal; the declarations can be modified electronically, either via the exchange of XML messages between applications, or via transactions that are available on the social security portal
  • all the declarations of social risks can be made either on paper or electronically either via the exchange of XML messages between applications or via transactions that are available on the social security portal
  • the elements in the XML schemes have uniformly been defined throughout the declarations; the XML schemes per declaration can be downloaded from the social security portal; every quarter a new version of the XML schemes, which takes into account the adaptations of the regulation, is available with the indication of the modifications compared to the previous version
  • all the social security institutions are connected to a network for the electronic data traffic managed by the Crossroads Bank for Social Security and have the legal obligation to electronically ask one another for all information available in the network

 

The network between the social security institutions has a star-like configuration. The Crossroads Bank for Social Security, which is situated in the middle of the star, regulates the data exchanges.

The first level, or primary network, is composed of the institutions, which are directly connected to the Crossroads Bank for Social Security, namely the public social security institutions for which the Minister for Social Affairs, or the Minister for Employment, depending on the case, is responsible.

Some social security sectors are jointly managed by a public social security institution and private social security institutions, known as "cooperating institutions". For these sectors, the competences are often assigned as follows: the public institution checks, and in some cases, determines rights while the cooperating institutions are entrusted with the payment of the benefits. Each secondary network, which is managed by an institution of the primary network, is composed of the cooperating institutions of a specific social security sector.

  • the Crossroads Bank for Social Security manages a reference repertory, that indicates

o   for each citizen, in which social security institutions he is known, in which quality and for which period

o   by sort of social security institution and quality in which a socially insured person can be known in this institution, which sorts of data on the socially insured persons are available;

o   by sort of social security institution and quality in which a socially insured person can be known in this institution, which sorts of data this institution needs and is authorized to receive from other institutions to fulfil its tasks

  • the Crossroads Bank for Social Security uses this reference repertory

o   to preventively see to it that a social security institution only gains access to the data to which it is allowed to access and on the people who are known in it

o   to route data requests to the social security institution that can deliver the concerned data

o   to automatically transmit the received data to the social security institutions that can use the concerned data to fulfil their tasks

  • every socially insured person is identified throughout the whole social security system by a common and unique identification key and has an electronically readable identity card containing this identification number

The introduction of this system resulted in what follows

  • about 220 sorts of paper certificates that the socially insured persons or their employers had to get in one social security institution only to hand it over to another social security institution, have been eliminated and replaced by direct electronic data exchanges between the concerned social security institutions; in 2016 1.109.577.113 concrete electronic data exchanges took place with a response time for the on line messages lower than 4 seconds in 99,27 % of the cases
  • about 50 sorts of declaration forms towards social security have been eliminated
  • in the remaining 30 declaration forms towards social security the number of headings has on average been reduced by two thirds
  • a lot of declarations are directly and electronically made from the personnel administration packs and accountancy packs at the employers'
  • the socially insured persons and their employers can from now on make all the declarations to social security on the basis of a uniform concept apparatus and uniform instructions, and will only have to report each data only once to social security as a whole
  • the number of contacts between the socially insured persons and their employers on the one hand and social security on the other hand has drastically been reduced
  • the remaining contacts have been streamlined in function of events in the work relation between the employer and the worker/civil servant (to enter into office, to perform work, to get sick, to leave office, to get unemployed, to get retired, ...)
  • personal services to the employers and to the socially insured persons are offered
  • a huge number of subsidiary rights are automatically granted without the socially insured persons or their employers having to make declarations anymore

The described E-government approach of the Belgian social security sector was mentioned as best practice in a benchmarking study ordered by the European Commission.

The future

On its own initiative or on demand, the CBSS will continue

  • to extend her services to other actors in the social sector than the social security institutions
  • to stimulate the re-engineering of service delivery process by creating value chains for the socially insured persons and the companies based on a combination of back office integration and a user friendly front office
  • to assist the federal government in the further development of E-government

More concretely, the following projects will be executed

  • the back office integration will continuously be extended, to the institutions of the Communities and Regions entrusted with social missions, to the municipalities and cities and to the health care professionals
  • the automatic granting of benefits based on the social security status of a person will be generalized; indeed, a published law states that people who are entitled to complementary benefits on the basis of their social security status, as for instance a tax reduction, reduced telephone charges or a free pass for public transport, must not be asked anymore to submit a certificate; they are allowed to refuse the delivery of a certificate without losing the benefit; the institution that grants the complementary benefit has to consult the Crossroads Bank for Social Security to get information on the social security status
  • new electronic transactions will be developed for 3 target groups: the socially insured people, the companies and the professionals; the transactions will be put at their disposal in an application to application mode or via portal sites; about 30 new transactions are planned, such as the on line consultation of files and the on line calculation of benefits; in that respect the electronic identity card will be used for electronic authentication
  • the service delivery to socially insured people and companies will become multi channel enabled and be based on an integrated customer relation management; the services will be more ersonalized and self-service will be promoted