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Points of Single Contact and electronic procedures

Points of Single Contact and electronic procedures

Points of Single Contact (PSCs) are online e-government portals that allow service providers to get the information they need and complete administrative procedures online. As set out in the Services Directive, PSCs had to be established in all EU countries by 2009.

The Points of Single Contact

The Points of Single Contact (PSCs) enable entrepreneurs and business to:

  • access information on regulations procedures and deadlines related to the provision of services online;
  • complete all administrative procedures electronically.

The Performance of the PSCs – an assessment against the PSC Charter

A study was published in June 2015 that evaluates the compliance of the Points of Single Contact with the criteria for them set out in the PSC charter. It provides an assessment of the implementation of the Points of Single Contact in EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. To provide background to the benchmarking results and to explain them, the e-government policies and their link to the PScs are analysed, as well as the supporting legislation and applied technical enablers. The assessment results are presented in light of the four different criteria: quality and availability of the information, transactionality of e-procedures, accessibility for cross-border users and usability.

Final report of the assessment of the performance of the PSCs

Study on the functioning and usability of PSCs

The report assess the level of development of the Points of Single Contacts created by the Services Directive.

AustriaDenmarkIcelandNorway
BelgiumEstoniaItalyPoland
BulgariaGreeceLiechtensteinPortugal
CyprusSpainLithuaniaRomania
Czech RepublicFinlandLuxembourgSweden
Germany (Brandenburg)FranceLatviaSlovenia
Germany (Hessen)HungaryMaltaSlovakia
Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate)IrelandThe NetherlandsUnited Kingdom

Updates and other studies

Sept 2011Conference, 'Doing business made easier? Making the most of the Points of Single Contact' a great success
Apr 2011Points of Single Contact - Research study (2 MB) - EU project SPOCS publishes study on the set up of the on the set-up of the Points of Single Contact in the EU
Jan 2011

The Chambers’ perspective on the Points of Single Contact (2 MB)

Oct 2010German Ministry of Economy and Technology commissions study on the set-up of the Points of Single Contact in the EU (3 MB)
March 2010Points of Single Contact now a reality for businesses (page 21)
Article in the 57th edition of the Single Market News providing information on the benefits of Points of Single Contact and first experiences regarding their practical functioning

Electronic procedures

The Services Directive requires EU countries to put in place e-government services for businesses that can also be used across borders (Article 8 of the Directive). These services must be accessible by electronic means through the Points of Single Contact.

Comitology decisions

17.03.2014Commission Implementing Decision (2014/148/EU) extending the e-signature formats that Member States need to be able to process technically to longer term e-signatures

The objective of the Decision is to further improve the validation of documents that are signed electronically by authorities from other Member States and to increase interoperability by referencing simplified standards (profiles).

14.10.2013Commission Decision improving the functioning of so-called trusted lists containing the minimum information related to supervised/accredited certification service providers issuing qualified certificates to the public

The trusted lists were established under Decision 2009/767/EC and allow easier validation of signatures across borders. The Commission has set up a “compiled list of Member States’ trusted lists” with the aim of facilitating access to national trusted lists. The compiled list is available in machine processable form (xml format) and more information on certification providers can be found here.

25.02.2011Commission Decision establishing minimum requirements for the cross-border processing of documents signed electronically by competent authorities

When completing procedures and formalities electronically via the "Points of Single Contact", service providers may in certain cases be asked to submit original documents, if justified. These documents may be issued by public authorities who can use different e-signature formats to sign their documents. In order to improve the coss-border validation of electronically signed documents in practice, the Decision defines some most common e-signature formats that all Member States should be able to process technically at the receiving side. In cases where Member States use other formats than the "reference" ones to sign their documents, they have to notify to the Commission their validation possibilities, or to include that information in the signed documents themselves which can then be relied upon by the receving side.

16.10.2009Commission Decision 2009/767/EC: Facilitating the cross-border use of e-procedures through the “Points of Single Contact”

On 16 October 2009 the European Commission adopted a Decision in the context of the Services Directive facilitating the cross-border use of Points of Single Contact by businesses. It requires Member States to carry out an appropriate risk assessment before imposing on service providers the use of e-signatures with a high level of security. When this is nevertheless justified, the Decision establishes concrete obligations on the acceptance of e-signatures and enhances trust in e-signatures from other Member States. This Decision will have a positive impact not only for businesses that fall under the Services Directive but also more widely for the cross-border use of e-signatures and access to public e-services.
Oct. 2009Compiled list of Member States’ trusted lists

The Decision requires each Member States to establish, maintain and publish a trusted list containing the minimum information related to supervised/accredited certification service providers issuing qualified certificates to the public. The Commission set up a “compiled list of Member States’ trusted lists” with the objective to facilitate access to national trusted lists. The compiled list is available in both forms, human readible (2 MB) and machine processable (xml format)

The PSC charter

The PSC charter encourages EU countries to develop business friendly Points of Single Contact. These e-government tools should have features such as:

  • quality and availability of information provided;
  • completion of electronic procedures;
  • accessibility for cross-border users;
  • usability.

This new generation of PSCs was proposed in the Communication on the implementation of Services Directives. It encourages EU countries to develop PSCs that:

  • cover all procedures during the business life cycle;
  • are multilingual;
  • are more user-friendly.

The proposal for the PSC charter (65 kB) was endorsed by the High Level Group of the Competitiveness Council on 3 June 2013 and welcomed by the Competitiveness Council (132 kB) on 2 December 2013.

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