The House ethics committee on Wednesday sought to find solutions to make online state services more accessible for digitally illiterate individuals.

The discussion was attended by Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou, Labour Minister Yiannis Panayiotou, Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades, and other state officials, including ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides.

The committee also examined the compliance rate of the relevant departments on the recommendations of the ombudswoman.

Ioannou said the aim is to improve the communication between the ministry’s departments and the public to improve their daily lives.

He added that his mandate is to simplify procedures to reduce delays.

Already, he said, 22 actions are planned to simplify procedures at the urban planning department, of which 11 have already been implemented, while the rest are expected to be implemented by the end of May.

Similarly, he said, changes have already been made at the Land Registry, so that as of January 2, 2024, titles will be issued in three months rather than the nine-plus months needed before.

He added that there are also workshops being done to improve digital literacy of public sector employees.

Vafeades said that the issue of digitisation takes time. He added that the Department of Road Transport, which is one of the departments where full digitisation is progressing most directly, is expected to be ready in June 2025.

He in turn also said the issue of understaffing, resulting in a prioritisation of requirements, noting that digitisation will free up man hours.

On the issue of serving citizens who have difficulty with online applications, he said that “we have an obligation to help them, and we are moving in that direction.”

Panayiotou said that people are left with the dominant impression of inconvenience.

However, he said, very important steps have been taken to streamline services.

He said that in the last year at the ministry, the statutory pension, which took six to seven was paid within a month.

“For this to be possible, our focus needs to be on improving the service to the citizen so that they are not inconvenienced,” he said.

He added that the same logic applies to the call centre, noting that the social insurance helpline 1450 answered 220,000 calls in 2023.

Ahead of the start of the session on Wednesday, far-right independent MP Andreas Themistocleous left the session over the fact the ministers were allowed to speak first.