Development of a new cross-sector information system
SOLVIT – effective problem solving in Europe
When is this action of interest to you?
You are a part of a network dealing with complaints arising from the problems citizens or businesses encounter when going abroad or when involved in cross-border business in the EU in your specific policy area. You could make use of the SOLVIT technology and network in order to solve the complaints you are receiving in a transparent and efficient way.
What is this action about?
SOLVIT is an online problem solving network in which EU Member States resolve, without recourse to legal proceedings, problems caused by the misapplication of Internal Market laws by public authorities.
The European Commission coordinates the network, which is operated by the Member States.
While the Internal Market generally works well, mistakes are sometimes made. This might be related, for example, to problems with getting a residence permit, getting professional qualifications recognised, or registering a car.
There is a SOLVIT centre in every European Union Member State (as well as in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) that can help resolve complaints from both citizens and businesses. The service is free of charge and national administrations are committed to providing concrete solutions to problems within 10 weeks.
The European Commission provides the database facilities and, when needed, helps to speed up the resolution of problems.
Since its launch in 2002 the SOLVIT caseload has grown from 150 cases a year to 150 cases a month. With this growing caseload it is becoming important to integrate or link up administrative cooperation systems, which are either sector- or target group-specific systems, in order to ensure effective case handling and feedback.
During the planning and design of the SOLVIT database, synergies were identified between SOLVIT and the Internal Market Information system. It would be possible for users who were members of both networks to benefit from a common platform, and cost savings could be achieved in terms of development and maintenance of common functionality. It was therefore decided that SOLVIT's complaint handling database would be integrated within the IMI system. In the first quarter of 2013, IMI was opened for SOLVIT Centres.
What are the objectives?
- assisting the different departments of the European Commission in the effective application of Internal Market laws;
- supporting assistance processes for citizens / businesses; and
- providing feedback on the functioning of the Internal Market.
What are the benefits?
- provide a fast and free service to resolve problems concerning Single Market rights;
- help public administrations communicate efficiently when resolving issues of misapplication of EU laws;
- enable public authorities to interact through a single interface;
- avoid the need to launch official infringement procedures by solving problems at national level;
- expand the capacity of the SOLVIT service;
- extend the advantages of the SOLVIT database to other policy areas;
- help ensure a better and more consistent implementation of EU legislation;
- provide feedback to enable policymakers to address structural problems and avoid future problems for citizens and businesses.
Case study – What do our users say?
Our clients can introduce their complaint directly into the database and the case is immediately referred to the correct contact person: if the client indicates that he/she needs legal advice then the enquiry goes directly to Your Europe Advice; if the client indicates that he/she needs help with an actual problem then it is forwarded to the Home SOLVIT centre. Cases that we receive by email or by telephone can be entered into the database manually.
In general, our experience with the SOLVIT database has been quite positive. The database provides us with an elaborate overview of our case flow with detailed information on how long the case has been running, who is working on it and its exact status. The ‘statistics’ and ‘search for a case’ options come in very useful for writing our own national annual reports.
The fact that clients can introduce new cases into the database themselves and that clients needing legal advice are referred to Your Europe Advice saves us quite some time.
Organisation: SOLVIT Belgium
Contact: Lore Aerts