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    Reporting period: 01/2014 – 12/2017

    Points of Single Contact

    About

    The Points of Single Contact (PSCs) are one-stop shops that help to simplify the establishment and expansion of businesses in the Single Market. To improve the functioning of the PSC network, a Charter was adopted in 2013 to help all members of the network to become more successful and business-friendly.

    The Points of Single Contact help businesses who provide services to:

    • Get online information about the procedures and formalities they need to comply with to provide their services in another EU country (e.g. business registration, business license, recognition of professional qualifications);
    • Complete procedures and formalities online;
    • Receive further assistance by telephone or e-mail.

    The aim of this scoreboard is to measure how well the PSCs are offering procedures and information online, also for users from other Member States. To assess the quality of the services provided, the scoreboard looks whether user feedback is collected, and whether the PSCs improve their services as a result.

    Context

    A study carried out in 2015 concluded that the operations of the Points of Single Contact should be better tailored to the needs of the users and take a business perspective instead of an administrative perspective.

    Since then, several PSCs have reorganised their operations, including the Dutch, Finnish, Latvian and Polish ones.

    The study also noted that the PSCs had not introduced enough online procedures and that access for users from other countries was still limited. However, several Member States (Denmark, Ireland, Spain and France) have developed so-called form generators as a simple and cost-efficient way to offer procedures online, in particular those managed at a local level.

    Methodology

    The scoreboard is based on self-evaluation. All PSCs answered a list of questions regarding their performance. As a starting point we used data available from an earlier e-government benchmarking report. The Commission performed a random check of the responses

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    Performance

    1. Are procedures offered online?

    This indicator aims to assess to what extent business procedures are available online, either fully or partially. For this purpose a sample of 20 procedures was used.

    The performance below is measured as a percentage of the maximum score (all procedures online).

    2. Can procedures be accessed by users from other member states?

    It is important for the Single Market that procedures are available for users from other Member States. To assess this, the first ten procedures of those used in the sample above were assessed on accessibility to a user from another country. Several criteria were used such as the possibility to submit evidence in electronic format, to identify yourself online, the possibility to use electronic signatures and the possibility to pay from abroad if a fee was required.

    3. Is sufficient information available online about the procedures?

    To make the use of online procedures easier, in particular by foreign users, it is important that enough information is available about what the procedure is about and what it requires from the business concerned. This information should cover a description of the steps of the procedure, the accepted means of identification and signature, the type and format of evidence needed, possible means of redress, any applicable fees and methods of payment, how much time the procedure requires, and any applicable deadlines. Finally, information should also be available about the languages in which the procedure can be carried out. This was assessed again for the same ten procedures.

    1. Fill in standard form for registration deed
    2. Register company name
    3. Register with Commercial Court/Court of First Instance or equivalent
    4. Register with central/regional/local government
    5. Register with Trade Register/Craft Register
    6. Obtain tax identification card/number
    7. Obtain VAT collector number
    8. Register with Social Security Office
    9. Register your company as an employer
    10. Register employee before first work day
    11. Getting licences for operations: heating, sanitary and electrical installations
    12. Permit to open a cafeteria including a bakery.
    13. Licence to serve alcoholic beverages
    14. Permit to play music inside
    15. Licence to open bed and breakfast
    16. Permit to open a fitness club
    17. Permit to sell nutrition supplements and beauty products
    18. Licence/permit related to tax advisory services
    19. Licence/permit related to audit and accountancy services
    20. Licence/permit related to IT services

    4. Is the information available in a language understood by people from other countries?

    The Single Market requires that users from other Member States have easy access to public services in other countries. Therefore, information needs to be available in a language that most people from other countries can understand.

    5. Does the PSC collect user feedback and improves its services on that basis?

    The Single Market requires that users from other Member States have easy access to public services in other countries. Therefore, information needs to be available in a language that most people from other countries can understand.

    6. Overall performance

    • The assessment of the PSCs shows that some of them are performing reasonably well. However, it is clear that more needs to be done in order to provide procedures fully online and accessible for cross-border businesses. In many cases the administrative complexities for these users could be simplified.
    • Although Member States have improved the availability of procedures that are at least partially online, access from other Member States continues to be a considerable problem, in particular the use of e-signature and e-ID.
    • Only 10 out of the 30 participating countries provide sufficiently detailed information about procedures. In addition, a more integrated approach is often needed to provide smooth access to procedures when several authorities are involved.
    • Most participating PSCs publish at least general information in a language which is broadly understood by businesses.

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