An outdated and little-used tool in public administration, the use of fax is still active in some schools in addition to the regular communication channels of regular e-mail and certified e-mail. We are trying to create a legislative framework regarding the use of this communication tool in light of the current legislation – in particular Legislative Decree No. 82 of March 7, 2005 “Digital Administration Code”, the so-called CAD.
Concretely, we clarify first of all whether schools are obliged to make communication by fax available to users, and then we will focus on the legal value of communication made by FAX and the permissibility of its use in communication between educational institutions and in relations between individuals (families, users, suppliers) and schools.
The fax is a communication tool that allows you to send and receive copies of documents, through the telephone service, using special physical terminals.
Transmission primarily involves scanning, using the relevant terminal, the document to be sent to the recipient. Then enter the identification phone number of the recipient’s terminal that will receive the document.
Forwarding of documents between private individuals and PA.
The Digital Administration Code provides that documents transferred by anyone to a public administration on any electronic or computer means suitable to establish their origin meet the requirement of the written form and their transfer may not be followed by that of the original document.
In this connection, it is appropriate to recall the provisions in art. 38 of Presidential Decree No. 445 of 28 December 2000: “All requests and declarations to be submitted to the public administration or to managers or operators of public services may also be sent by fax and electronically”.
Such shipments must take place in accordance with the procedures in art. 65 of the DAC, which precisely prescribes the presence of at least one of the following requirements for the validity of the transmission:
- Signing the document with a digital signature or advanced electronic signature;
- the applicant or declarant must be identified through the public digital identity system (SPID), the electronic identity card or the national service card;
- signature of the document and presentation using a copy of the identity card;
- if it is sent by the applicant or by the declarant from his/her digital domicile registered on one of the lists established by law.
Forwarding of documents between public administrations.
Regarding the transmission of documents between public administrations, including schools, art. 47 of the DAC provides that: “the communication of documents between public administrations takes place using electronic mail or in application collaboration; they are valid for the purposes of the administrative procedure once their origin has been verified. The document may also be made available by providing the means of electronic access to it“.
In paragraph 2, letter C, the legislator expressly excludes the use of the fax for such communications, regardless of the possibility of establishing the origin of the document. The standard was introduced by amending the CAD by Law No. 98 of August 9, 2013.
Therefore, the use of faxes for communication between schools is not permitted.
In light of the legislative framework outlined above, the ban on the use of fax communications between schools or between schools and other public administrations (including local authorities) is therefore clear.
In relation to private individuals, on the other hand, the use of fax for communication intended for educational institutions is permitted, without prejudice to the absence of any obligation on the part of the schools regarding the maintenance of this instrument. Therefore, where it is still in use, it will be possible to allow it, in accordance with the rules for document handling that may apply at the school.
Finally, it remains within the head of school, the institution’s legal representative, powers to assess the maintenance of the use of the fax, subject to an appropriate evaluation of costs and benefits.