Remarks by Angel Gurría
Puebla, Mexico - 6 January 2020
(As prepared for delivery)
Dear Governor Barbosa, Secretary for Administration, authorities and public figures from the state of Puebla, ladies and gentlemen:
I am very pleased to be here to launch this collaboration between the OECD and the government of the state of Puebla. Co-operation between local governments and international organisations is becoming increasingly important.
This is especially the case in times like these when citizens are continuing to demand more from their governments: better public services, better transport, better lighting, better security. They are also demanding more effective public policies, which contribute to development and growth, and which reduce poverty and exclusion. But above all, they are demanding more honest governments, which are closer to the people, more effective, more efficient, and more transparent.
There are many ways of improving transparency and bringing governments closer to citizens, but there is one way in particular that has an immediate and direct impact: the improvement and simplification of procedures. That is why we are here today, to sign an agreement between the OECD and the government of the state of Puebla on regulatory improvement. This is an issue on which we have already worked with Puebla in 2017 and 2018, and with other state governments in Mexico, such Colima (2016) and Yucatan (2019).
Government procedures are a complex ecosystem. Understanding how this ecosystem works requires time and experience. It requires travelling to government offices, sometimes even from other cities; interacting with officials to ask about formats, requirements and the paperwork needed; obtaining stamps; making payments; and investing time and money in the process. And finally, the citizen does not know how his or her application will be evaluated, whether he or she will receive approval or not. So, sometimes this can people disappointed and very annoyed.
Today, the government of the state of Puebla is signing a commitment to its citizens. It is committing itself to improving the procedures that have the most impact on the lives of people and entrepreneurs who want to start a business. The government of Puebla is making a commitment today to become closer to people, to be more transparent, and to become fully honest and accessible through regulatory improvement.
The OECD is very pleased to be in to Puebla to confirm and support this commitment. The OECD will strongly support these efforts, providing analysis and recommendations based on international best practices, such as those of Canada and the United Kingdom, where all information on paperwork and procedures is fully updated and online.
As I said a moment ago, the Agreement we are signing today has a very clear purpose: to simplify, improve and digitise the procedures that have the most impact on citizens, and on entrepreneurs wanting to start a business.
One example of the type of procedure that we will be dealing with is vehicle registration: number plates, licences, and vehicle registration certificates.
The OECD’s method in this area includes discussions with the officials in charge of the relevant procedures or points of contact, but also visits to the offices as "mystery shoppers" to find out how they really work, as well as collecting the views of entrepreneurs and citizens who carry out these procedures on a regular basis.
Also, following the examples of Canada and the United Kingdom, we will identify all the state procedures required to open a business such as a repair shop. Our experience with other states and regions indicates that there are bound to be permits and authorisations which will need to be obtained from the State Secretary of Labour, the State Secretary of Health, the State Secretary of the Environment, and so on.
And we will ask ourselves the following questions: “Which procedure comes first and which comes after?” “Which office should the citizen or small business owner go to first?” “How are the procedures linked?”
The governments of Canada and the United Kingdom have resolved these issues with virtual one-stop shops where all information is kept up to date. It is important to note that these points of contact should be the ONLY source of information, which in turn is organized by "life events", that is to say all the procedures related, for example, to the arrival of a baby, or the opening of a business, and presented in an instructive and clear way.
In fact, these countries apply the "three-click rule", meaning that you can obtain the information you want in three clicks of the mouse.
The citizen is therefore completely sure about which procedure comes first, the documentation being asked for, the criteria on which the response will be based, and how long it will take to receive an answer.
We will be rolling out this experience in the state of Puebla, to contribute to the objectives of transparency and honesty of the government headed by Governor Barbosa.
The project involves an initial phase of about six months, which will be used to help us to understand the situation of procedures, visit government offices, launch “mystery shopper” investigations, and prepare recommendations and actions for improvement.
After that, we will have three priorities: implement, implement, and implement.
The objective is full implementation of the improvement measures, which may include legal changes, digitisation of procedures, physical improvements in counter services, and a strong element involving the application of information technologies.
The OECD will issue three progress reports, one every 4 months, in which we will check upon progress and achievements.
In the end, we are sure that the people of Puebla will have simpler, more straightforward and more digital procedures, which will reflect the efforts of a government that wants to be more honest, more transparent and closer to its people.
We welcome your request for support and your commitment to creating, developing and implementing better policies for better lives in Puebla.
The OECD is ready to support this new administration. We are very excited about starting to work with your teams. We welcome the appointment of Jesús Ramírez Díaz as co-ordinator of the efforts to put a new face on government work in Puebla. Jesús is a professional known to anyone from Senate of the Republic who supports initiatives in favour of digital transformation and innovation policies in Mexico, and I am sure we will make a good team.
On our side, Manuel Gerardo and our Directorate for Public Governance have already worked on these issues with several state governments in Mexico and other OECD countries and I am sure they will co-ordinate excellent collaboration.
Thank you for hosting us at Casa Aguayo, and thank you for your confidence. You can count on the OECD.