Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Action 90: Points of Single Contact should function as fully fledged eGovernment centres

The action aims at Member States to ensure that the Points of Single Contact function as fully fledged eGovernment centres beyond requirements and areas covered by the Services Directive.

A Charter for Points of Single Contact (PSCs), based on what was announced in June 2012, was submitted to Member States for endorsement in June 2013. Member States were invited to move PSCs into next-generation e-government portals and to subscribe to the principles for assessing the PSCs on a regular basis in accordance with the Charter's criteria.

What is the problem? Most online public services do not work across borders

Business and citizens still face too many administrative obstacles when trying to access cross-border services in other EU countries. But services are crucial to the European internal market as they account for over 70% of jobs and economic activity in the EU.

Why is EU action necessary? Remove administrative burdens to access cross-border services

The Services Directive eliminates national barriers to trade in services EU-wide. The Services Directive obliged Member States to establish "Points of Single Contact" (PSCs) by end 2009. The PSCs are a single gateway for businesses in their transactions with public administrations. They must help businesses to obtain online all information relevant to their activities and to complete all procedures and formalities with public administrations electronically. It is the first time that Member States have a legal obligation to put in place online public services that have to be accessible within a Member State as well as across borders.

Under DAE Action 90, the PSCs need to develop into fully fledged eGovernment centres that respond to the needs of businesses, beyond what is required under the Services Directive, so that businesses can finish procedures electronically in the same Member State or abroad.

What has the Commission done so far?

In 2011-2012:

  • The Commission carried  out a study on the PSCs. It tested how user-friendly and how well the PSCs function, including the electronic completion of procedures. It has also identified the main problems and how these could be solved.
  • Published the report on the functioning and usability of the Points of Single Contact under the Services Directive – State of Play and Way Forward is the first comprehensive study assessing the level of development of the Points of Single Contacts created by the Services Directive. The study looked at the key aspects of the functioning of the Points of Single Contact, identified good practices and highlighted gaps and formulated policy recommendations for follow – up actions where improvements could be made. The final report is available here.
  • Member States continued working on their PSCs in cooperation with the Commission, in particular on the cross-border aspects of electronic procedures. Member States disseminated the knowledge and expertise produced by the Large Scale Pilot project SPOCS (Simple Procedures Online for Cross-border Services), which aims to improve the cross-border use of eDocuments, eDelivery and content syndication. In particular, during 2011 and 2012, six promotional events showcased the work and achievements of SPOCs.

In 2013:

  • In April 2013 the Commission launched eSens, a new Large Scale Pilot on Basic Cross Sector Services. This Pilot focused on all the building blocks developed by other Large Scale Pilots, including SPOCS. It will consolidate building blocks for cross-border interoperability of public services that must be reusable by public authorities, business and citizens.

Overall, the eSens work is progressing according to plan.

Build Connect Webzine

How can governments better support the enterprises? Is the reduction of administrative burden enough or we can do more?

In the current times of economic crisis businesses not only struggle to grow but even to survive. They need an environment that favours their development.

Which actions and policies can the public sector set up to provide such an environment? Creating service infrastructure? Providing consultancy service to expand and internationalize their business? Developing One Stop Shop services?

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Brussels, Avenue de Beaulieu 33, meeting room 0/54

These questions (and more) are at the center of the workshop Public Services for Businesses: recipes for supporting growth, that follows up to the Digital Agenda Assembly workshop "Going Smart and Accessible in Public Services and Cities", held in Dublin last 19th June 2013. It is organized by Tech4i2 on behalf of the European Commission.

7 high-profile speakers will present the key lessons learnt from international best practice. Representatives from the public sector, practitioners, experts and other stakeholders will gather together in this one day workshop to identify policy options to be proposed and adopted by the public administrations across Europe.The discussion will start from real cases and experiences and take into account 4 key areas already identified:

• Ease of use of online services and reduction in administrative burdens
• Non-regulatory support for SMEs
• Public procurement
• Support for cross border trade and internationalization

Registration is free on a first come first served basis.

Related links

ICT2013 - eGovernment in the spotlight

Video e-CODEX - e-Justice Communication via Online Data Exchange - Webzine issue n.4

Video of PEPPOL - The Next Phase: OpenPEPPOL (interviews)

Business and usage opportunities that are created by the Large Scale Pilot (LSP) projects for digital public services will be discussed. The event will give an insight on how to be active participants in the coming developments of new Pan-European cross border public services. Some of the topics that are going to be addressed are: What business opportunities exist for ICT industries under the new European Commission’s initiatives? What can we learn from LSPs past experience/results, especially concerning the promotion of the Digital Single Market? How can the ICT industry, through the facilitation of LSPs, contribute to economic growth within the EU?
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Brussels, Belgium


Progress Report
Status: On track Mechthild Rohen Mechthild Rohen