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Brussels-City launches new MyBXL administrative online portal
The City of Brussels launched its new online citizen portal MyBXL on Monday. On the MyBXL website, residents of the City of Brussels can now request and manage administrative documents.
MyBXL is seen by Brussels as the flagship of its Smart City policy. With this, the city wants to guide its administration into the 21st century. The portal should be both a "digital mailbox" and a "digital platform for ordering documents" according to Fabian Maingain, councillor responsible for digital simplification and the Smart City policy.
"This allows you to start a procedure that is then taken over and processed by an employee of the city, all on the same platform,” he said. “In this way, the citizen has a clear view of the status and progress of his file."
It is hoped that MyBXL finally improves the administration of the City of Brussels, which has been notorious for its failure to provide an adequate service to citizens, especially newly arrived expats. In a 2018 report presented by the business federation Agoria, it was revealed that newly arrived expats faced long delays, unfriendly staff and communication problems while dealing with the commune.
The Agoria research found 80% of respondents in the City of Brussels had encountered problems registering as a resident with the town hall - compared with 68% in the wider Brussels region and 36% elsewhere in Belgium.
More than half of respondents in Brussels-City experienced language and communication problems dealing with the city administration. A similar number had to wait more than a fortnight for a police officer to carry out the mandatory residency check at their home, and more than three months for their residency card to be issued.
The Agoria research found expats in the City of Brussels were unlikely to recommend the commune to others, because of their bad administrative experience. Only a quarter said they would recommend settling there, compared with more than 95% elsewhere.
While it is hoped that the digitalisation of the administration will help to solve some of these issues and others experienced by all citizens, there is still a digital divide in Brussels and not everyone has access to a computer. Those people can still physically go to the city services. This will also be made easier with the opening of the future administrative centre, to be built on the site of the former Parking 58 building in the centre of the capital, where the city of Brussels wants to bring all its services together in one place.