Regulatory policy

Portugal on track with its public sector simplification programme, says OECD report

 

18/06/2008 - Portugal has made good progress in simplifying its public sector functions and processes through administrative simplification and e-government since 2006, according to a new OECD report.
Making Life Easy for Citizens and Businesses in Portugal – Administrative Simplification and E-Government analyses Portugal’s simplification programme, known as the Simplex initiative, and finds that it has come far in a short time with the transformation of its public sector and its service delivery. By targeted use of e-government, Portugal is in the process of making citizens’ and businesses’ everyday life easier through administrative simplification supported by an increasing number of coherent and integrated services accessible online.

Achieving a simpler public sector more responsive to demands from citizens and businesses requires strong political commitment and drive for achieving administrative simplification and e-government goals.

Among its achievements, the report says that the time taken to register a company, for example, has been reduced from 54 days to under 48 minutes.

Building on this success, Portugal should consider:

  • Continuing its strong effort to make public service delivery more efficient and effective by focusing on user needs: A prerequisite for this is to ensure that services can be delivered coherently. To achieve this, a fully integrated back-office with special focus on sharing resources such as business processes and data, and the availability of skilled staff are key.
  • Keeping a prioritisation and focus on simplification initiatives: The Simplex programmes –  while impressive in its scope, ambition, and results so far – could benefit the public sector and its constituents more by continuing keeping a clear focus and a strong prioritisation on simplification initiatives.
  • Increasing systematic collaboration and co-operation across the public sector: Central government is limited in its possibilities for collaboration and co-ordination with regional and local governments. Moving towards a common framework for collaboration and co-operation between stakeholders in the public sector will significantly improve the integration of e-government policies, strategies and their implementation.
  • Extending the systematic use of good monitoring and evaluation practices broadly in the public sector: Portugal will further improve the impact of the Simplex programmes by systematically tracking how they are being implemented.

The review is the first study undertaken by the OECD to analyse the successes and challenges of both administrative simplification and e-government in a national context. It makes proposals for action that can help countries improve their simplification efforts.

Further information is available on request from Yih-Jeou Wang ( tel. +33 1 45 24 84 18) or  Flemming Norling Olsen ( tel. +33 1 45 24 18 68). Journalist can obtain an electronic copy of the publication by contacting Amanda Costa at OECD's Regulatory Policy Division.