Documents of Acquisition

Corporate Governance

The rules of the Public Corporate Governance Code (PCGK) apply to DigitalService4Germany GmbH. This contains and defines the standards of good corporate and investment management for all companies and investments of the federal government. DigitalService4Germany is a limited liability company owned by the federal government.

You can find the documents of the PCGK here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What legal form does DigitalService4Germany have?
DigitalService4Germany is a limited liability company owned by the federal government.
Why was the GmbH chosen as legal form?
The question of which legal form is most suitable for an organization such as the Digital Service was examined on the basis of legal, technical and economic criteria and took various legal forms into consideration. The criteria agility, effectiveness of personnel recruitment nd speed of formation were defined as exclusion criteria in the event of non-compliance. Over all, the following: Competence development, control possibility, departmental neutrality, flexibility, visibility, establishment of expenditure, scalability and processing capability. The audit came to the conclusion that the GmbH is the only legal form that fulfills all the criteria or fulfills them to a comparatively high degree.
Who are the shareholders of DigitalService4Germany?
The Federal Republic of Germany - represented by the Federal Chancellery - holds 100% of the shares of the GmbH.
For how much money was 4Germany UG sold to the Federal Chancellery?
For 30,000 €.
What is the goal of DigitalService4Germany GmbH?
DigitalService develops digital solutions with and for the federal ministries and subordinate authorities. The citizens' needs are at the core of DigitalService’s work. At the same time, by closely working with civil servants capacity building and knowledge transfer within the administration is achieved. Thus, the company does not "only" develop products for the state, but works together with the administration on the product.
Why do we need a unit like DigitalService in federal ownership?
As an in-house company of the federal government, DigitalService can develop prototypes through to finished applications at short notice and basically without inviting tenders before commissioning. It is not intended to act like a public authority - and thus basically competes with other companies on the market for contracts and personnel. The fact that the federal government thus has a flexible and quickly deployable instrument at its disposal to meet digital needs in a tailored manner strengthens the state's digital capacity to act.
Why was 4Germany UG sold to the Federal Chancellery?
4Germany UG with its two fellowship programs Tech4Germany and Work4Germany has been under the patronage of Prof. Dr. Helge Braun, the head of the Federal Chancellery, since 2018. The two fellowship programs have quickly gained a strong reputation as a driver for agile, user-centric software solutions and innovative work. 4Germany UG has collected a unique set of experience, knowledge and network for the work with the federal administration.
If the goal is so important, why was the organisation establised as a privately organized service provider? Isn’t it about enhancing the state’s ability to act?
By taking over and insourcing competencies, we are strengthening the portfolio and the state's ability to act. As an in-house unit, the Digital Service can quickly and easily develop digital, user-centric solutions with and for the state. The Digital Service employees will work exclusively for and within the administration. In addition, the Digital Service's mission is to contribute to the development of competencies within the federal administration by working together with the administrative staff. The necessary agility and flexibility, especially with regard to recruitment, would not have been achieved in the same way with an administrative structure.
Why did the Chancellor's Office consider it necessary for Digital Service to be able to act flexibly in its recruitment policy?
Flexibility in personnel planning is crucial for DigitalService. It's not just a matter of being able to pay better salaries for certain people who are hard to find on the market. This is the minor advantage. It is much more important to minimize bureaucratic effort and process times so that the unit can really be the agile "speedboat" it is supposed to be and not become a "tanker". For this unit, it is crucial to attract and build up people who, regardless of formal qualifications, have IT and digital skills that are in high demand in Berlin and abroad. If it is possible to largely dispense of comparatively rigid annual staffing plans in order to remain flexible in the scaling of the unit, this also helps to keep the administrative structure of the new unit lean. DigitalService will work on a project or order basis. It is intended to become economically self-sustaining quickly and not be financed by the federal government in the long term. The GmbH must be able to act "cyclically" on the market and recruit staff flexibly depending on the development of the order situation. All this will now be possible for DigitalService.
What exactly does the Digital Service team do?
The mission of DigitalService4Germany is to develop digital services with the state that focus on the needs of citizens and work better for everyone. The Digital Service Teams consisting of designers, developers and product managers work together with project managers from the federal administration using agile development methods to develop user-centered software products.
How can ministries apply for projects?
Ministries and federal authorities can commission Digital Service to develop software products. Unlike the Fellowships, there is no application and selection by an independent jury. Nevertheless, for capacity reasons it will not be possible to accept every project. Part of the start-up phase will be to define selection criteria and a selection process in cooperation with the Supervisory Board and the Chancellery.
Are Tech4Germany and Work4Germany now part of DigitalService4Germany GmbH?
Yes, Tech4Germany and Work4Germany are also part of DigitalService4Germany GmbH. The two programs will remain as they are, alongside the year-round collaborative and agile development of software products described above.
As a federal company, can the DigitalService4Germany team continue to make independent decisions?
Operationally, the teams make independent decisions. The managing directors of the GmbH are obligated by the articles of association to the supervisory board and shareholders to present certain strategic decisions or to coordinate with them. More information can be found in the articles of association and the rules of procedure of the management.
Can DigitalService reject projects?
DigitalService will decide independently which projects it accepts. The decision will be based on transparent and comprehensible criteria. The criteria will be approved in advance by the Supervisory Board.
How is it possible for DigitalService to apply a different compensation model than federal authorities?
For a federal limited liability company (GmbH) in public ownership, the tariff regulations of the public service (TVöD) are not directly applicable. Every purchase by the federal state must be approved by the Federal Ministry of Finance in accordance with the Federal Budget Code. This approval is subject to the condition that the prohibition of betterment (standardized for grants) applies accordingly to one part of the company, namely the programs and the cross-sectional area. However, the Digital Service product teams, to which this does not apply, must also operate economically. They also compete with private providers for project contracts and personnel. In this respect, it is necessary to be able to offer standard market conditions.
Will DigitalService4Germany hire new people or will the project work be implemented as in the Fellows' programs?
DigitalService will be established as a new, independent business unit within the GmbH. The necessary profiles will be advertised and recruited as full-time positions. The Digital Service plans to fill about 30 positions by the end of 2021.
Can Fellows transfer directly to the DigitalService4Germany?
No. Fellows from Work4Germany and Tech4Germany must qualify for the Digital Service through the same application processes as external applicants. We want to ensure that all interested candidates have the same access to the new unit.
How is DigitalService4Germany financed?
The new GmbH will be provided with capital in the high single-digit million range by the German government. After four years at the latest, it should be able to sustain itself through the fees it receives for its software products from ministries. The company will work on a project- or order-based basis and will therefore be able to act in response to economic cycles. The exact amount of the federal share is still subject to budgetary negotiations.
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