“We can’t force everyone to have a smartphone,” warns the Defender of Rights

“We have to put man back in the machine”urges Claire Hédon, the rights defender, interviewed on Tuesday, July 5 in the morning of France Inter† During her radio appearance, she recalled the importance of offering public service users something other than dematerialized services.

Photo by sylv1rob1 via Shutterstock

In 2021, the Citizens’ Rights Protection Body registered a record number of complaints with nearly 115,000 requests. This is a frustration of users who, when their situation is not right, find it difficult to find help from the administration to move their file forward.

Admittedly, dematerialization is an opportunity, but the physical receipt must be preserved. This is essential. If you can’t figure it out, if you have a problem, you should be able to go to the relevant service, be it the health insurance fund, the CAF or Pôle emploi, to help process your file.

Claire Hédon, defender of rights at France inter

1 in 5 French people do not have a computer or tablet

Some profiles are more vulnerable to this dematerialization, recalls the Defender of Rights, citing in particular:

Elderly people, people with disabilities, people in precarious situations, foreigners, prisoners and young people, because we always have the impression that young people are very good on their smartphones, but not at all for help with housing

Claire Hédon, Defender of rights to France Inter

Claire Hédon also points out the reality of the digital divide in France. One in five French people has neither a computer nor a tablet, which makes many procedures considerably more difficult.“It is not possible to impose a smartphone and an internet connection on everyone”declares the Defender of Rights.

“What we ask users is to adapt to public services, while the rule is the opposite, the public service has to adapt to users”

Claire Hédon, Defender of rights to France Inter

To do this, it recommends reviewing the operation of the France Service houses, which welcome and support citizens in their administrative procedures. “You don’t have representatives from the various government services in those rooms, so they may have difficulty processing the files themselves. They can handle simple things, but once it gets more complex, they fail.”

The eternal battle of man and machine…

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