The electronic operation of all Administrations requires taking into account the new dynamics that can occur in the processing of the different procedures. In particular, it is necessary to take into account the repercussions that technical incidents may have, in the administrative terms.
In this sense, the art. 32 of Law 39/2015, of October 1, on common administrative procedure of public administrations (LPACAP) provides for a new reason for extending deadlines, by establishing that when a technical incident has made the normal operation of the system impossible of relevant information and until the problem is solved, the relevant Administration may determine an extension of the unexpired deadlines, while having to publish on the electronic headquarters both the technical incident that has occurred, and the extension of the deadline that has not won
In this scenario, two issues must be taken into account:
- The discretionary nature of extending deadlines as a result of technical incidents.
- What would be the solution in the event that the technical incidence occurred in the private framework of the citizen. For example, a cut in the supply of the Internet service.
In the first case, it seems quite obvious that the Administration should not burden the public with the harm that a technical incident that occurs in its information systems and that makes the electronic relationship with it impossible. Therefore, we recommend extending deadlines. At the same time, we recommend that the extension be proportional to the duration of the incident, bearing in mind that the minimum extension is one day, with the aim of making it easier for citizens to know about the technical incident and to be able to exercise their rights . E.g.: if a technical incident occurs within a period of five days and the incident lasts one day or less than one day (hours, minutes...), the extension will in any case be of one day. If the incidence lasts three days, the extension is recommended to be three days.
In the second case, as long as the interested party can justify the causes of the incident in their private sphere, it seems reasonable, for example, to allow the inclusion of the electronic request, through a secretarial process.
On the other hand, it would be advisable for the organizations to provide themselves with an internal protocol that regulates how to act in case of technical incidents in the daily activity of the Administration.
Article 32. Extension.
"1. The Administration, unless prescribed to the contrary, may grant ex officio or at the request of the interested parties an extension of the established terms that does not exceed half of them, if the circumstances so advise and third party rights are not prejudiced thereby. The extension agreement must be notified to the interested parties.
2. The extension of the deadlines by the maximum time allowed applies in any case to the procedures processed by the diplomatic missions and consular offices, as well as to those which, substantiated in the interior, require the completion of some procedure abroad or in which involve interested parties resident outside Spain.
3. Both the request of the interested parties and the decision on the extension must occur, in any case, before the expiration of the term in question. In no case can an already expired term be subject to extension. Agreements on extension of terms or on their denial are not subject to appeal, without prejudice to the proceeding against the resolution that puts an end to the procedure. 4. When a technical incident has made the normal operation of the system or the corresponding application impossible, and until the problem is solved, the Administration can determine an extension of the unexpired terms, and must publish on its electronic headquarters both the technical incidence that has become the concrete extension of the unexpired term."