The Services Directive provides for Points of Single Contact (PSC) to be set up in each Member State.
PSCs allow service providers to:
- Obtain all information about the procedures they need to complete to provide their services at home or in another EU country (e.g. company registration, business licences, recognition of professional qualifications);
Deal with all formalities via one single contact point; and
Complete the necessary steps remotely by electronic means.
PSCs have to make it possible for users to complete administrative procedures both for national situations (a travel agency in Rome that wants to open a branch in Palermo) and for cross-border situations (an architect in Warsaw who wants to take on a building project in Berlin). They are encouraged to provide their services in several languages and to offer personalised advice to users.
Performance per indicator
 Quality & availability of information (the scores above 75 % are rated as "green", below 40 % as "red", and yellow in the middle)
- How much relevant information is online?
- Is it comprehensive, well-structured and readily intelligible?
 Online completion of procedures (the scores above 70 % are rated as "green", below 40 % as "red", and yellow in the middle)
- How many procedures are available online?
- Can they be completed online (e.g. downloading forms, completing webforms
- Are there any online fee payment tools?
 Accessibility for users from other countries (the scores above 70 % are rated as "green", below 40 % as "red", and yellow in the middle)
- Can the site be used by businesses in other countries (especially regarding its technical aspects)?
- Does the site accept e-signatures issued abroad (when those are needed to complete procedures)?
- Can users in other countries readily understand the requirements they must meet?
- Is information is available in languages other than that/those of the host country?
 Usability (the scores above 75 % are rated as "green", below 40 % as "red", and yellow in the middle)
- Are the processes user-friendly?
- Can users do what they want to do on the site?
- Is effective help available?
Based on user testing in 2013 and Commission's information.
The indicators are weighted as follows:
- Quality & availability of information – 30 %
- Online completion of procedures – 35 %
- Accessibility to users from other countries – 25 %
- Usability – 10 %
Why are there such big differences between PSCs?
In contrast to other governance tools, PSCs do not use a centralised electronic system.
Member States are free to choose the most appropriate structure to reflect their legal and administrative realities.
A number of PSCs are embedded in mature, well-developed eGovernment structures, while others have been set up from scratch to comply with the Services Directive.
This often impacts on the scope of services available online.
Facts and Figures
- Only 8 out of 31 countries have high performing Points of Single Contact.
- Contact points in 19 out of 31 participating countries provide an average level of service (yellow colour code). This means that there are still areas for further improvement (especially for e-procedures).
- In 4 out of 31 countries quality remains very low (red colour code). This means they are not fully functional overall.
Available information – rated very good in half of all the countries.
However, there is still room for improvement, especially by providing key business information not covered by the Services Directive (e.g. taxation, social security, posting of workers, sectors not covered by the Directive).
–in most countries, only a small number of procedures can be completed online.
Even where available, they are notalways open to users in other countries (especially where requirements for authentication and e-signatures are stringent but no technical support is yet available). This aspect still poses the most challenges. But several countries have told the Commission they plan to make technical improvements.
–only 2 contact points (Luxembourg and Malta) are rated easy to use.
Usagetrend – most countries recorded a slight or strong increase in visitors to the contact point websites (but this does not mean more users were completing procedures on the sites, given the continued lack of them).
In 2014 the Commission will:
- work with national authorities to make sure they are implementing the PSC Charter and that this is improving the services on offer. It will conduct a study to assess whether the Points of Single Contact meet the criteria in the PSC Charter and identify further areas for improvement;
- focus on improving online procedures, and access to them for foreign businesses. It will continue to offer practical assistance (in the form of an open source software) for the acceptance of e-signatures issued in other countries;
- continue to address underperformance in some countries. One tool it will use is the European Semester, the basis for economic policy coordination;
- encourage further cooperation & sharing of good practice through the EUGO Network, which links all the Points of Single Contact.