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Estonia

Reducing Bureaucracy and a Simpler State – the Zero Bureaucracy Project (EE0040)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Estonia’s Third OGP Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication

Support Institution(s): Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Social Affairs; Eesti Pank, Health Insurance Fund, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Employers’ Confederation, Service Industry Association

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Estonia End-of-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Description of the current situation or problem resolved through the commitment Reduction in unnecessary bureaucracy for companies when communicating with the state to enable companies to focus on their principal activity instead of spending time and resources on communicating with the state. Main aim The aim of the government is to reduce the bureaucracy arising for citizens and companies when communicating with the state. For this, over 250 proposals have already been gathered from interest groups and companies, and their applicability has been analysed. The analysis showed that it is possible to implement in part or in full a total of 164 proposals. The proposals will be implemented gradually by 2019. Short description of the commitment (max. 140 characters) To ensure the implementation of proposals for a reduction in bureaucracy made by business organisations and to develop and implement a mechanism for a constant reduction in the burden arising for entrepreneurs when communicating with the state and when dealing with the requirements of legislation, and bureaucracy within the public sector. Originally, proposals were gathered from entrepreneurs for a reduction in bureaucracy, but the opportunity to make proposals is constantly open to everyone. To simplify this, a web-based opportunity will also be created for the constant submission of proposals for a reduction in bureaucracy. Furthermore, regular collections of proposals and analyses of options for their implementation will be organised in cooperation with entrepreneurs. The representatives of non-governmental partners and government authorities are also involved in the work of the task force responsible for implementing the proposals. The Ministries have analysed the proposals submitted so far and have decided together with the representatives of entrepreneurs which proposals can be implemented in full and which in part. Each Ministry shall prepare a more precise plan for a reduction in bureaucracy. Proposals which presume greater changes than a reduction in bureaucracy are reviewed separately. Meetings at ministerial and business organisational levels shall be organised to discuss the implementation of these proposals and deal with further reduction in bureaucracy (e.g. fieldbased special requirements).

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 2: Reducing bureaucracy and a simpler state – the Zero Bureaucracy project

Commitment Text:

To ensure the implementation of proposals for a reduction in bureaucracy made by business organizations and to develop and implement a mechanism for a constant reduction in the burden arising for entrepreneurs when communicating with the state and when dealing with the requirements of legislation, and bureaucracy within the public sector.

Originally, proposals were gathered from entrepreneurs for a reduction in bureaucracy, but the opportunity to make proposals is constantly open to everyone. To simplify this, a web-based opportunity will also be created for the constant submission of proposals for a reduction in bureaucracy. Furthermore, regular collections of proposals and analyses of options for their implementation will be organized in cooperation with entrepreneurs.

The representatives of non-governmental partners and government authorities are also involved in the work of the task force responsible for implementing the proposals. The Ministries have analyzed the proposals submitted so far and have decided together with the representatives of entrepreneurs which proposals can be implemented in full and which in part. Each Ministry shall prepare a more precise plan for a reduction in bureaucracy.

Proposals which presume greater changes than a reduction in bureaucracy are reviewed separately.

Meetings at ministerial and business organizational levels shall be organized to discuss the implementation of these proposals and to deal with further reduction in bureaucracy (e.g. field-based special requirements).

Milestones:

2.1. Gathering proposals from business organizations and companies for a reduction in bureaucracy

2.2. Analysis of proposals by government authorities

2.3. Making decisions about the implementation of the proposals for a reduction in bureaucracy

2.4. Developing organization-based plans (projects) for implementing proposals to reduce bureaucracy

2.5. Coordinating the development of the applications of IT developments

2.6. Developing and launching the monitor for reducing bureaucracy

2.7. Interim report to the Government on the status of implementing the proposals for reducing bureaucracy

2.8. Agreeing on the priorities for a reduction in special requirements arising from activity licenses, and launching the reduction

2.9. Final report to the Government on the results of implementing the proposals

Responsible Institution: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications

Supporting Institutions: Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Social Affairs, Bank of Estonia, Health Insurance Fund, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Employers’ Confederation, Service Industry Association

Start Date: 1 June 2015          

End Date: 30 April 2018

Commitment Aim

This commitment aimed to crowdsource proposals from businesses to reduce unnecessary bureaucratic procedures and requirements. More specifically, it involved the collection and analysis of proposals and determining how best to implement them in collaboration with the relevant public sector organizations. It also called for launching a website to enable the collection of new proposals on a rolling basis and for monitoring the implementation of the proposals.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

The commitment was substantially completed by the midterm. However, this was largely possible because the first three milestones were already completed before the official start of the OGP action plan period.

During the first year of the action plan, a special task force coordinating the “Zero Bureaucracy” initiative continued the synthesis and implementation of the 252 proposals that had been collected from businesses and NGOs before the action plan’s inception. By the end of 2016, 26 proposals had been implemented, and 50 more were scheduled to be implemented in 2017. An interim report was presented in April 2017 as planned, but the milestones related to developing action plans for the implementation of the proposals and for launching a monitor of the initiative were delayed.

End of term: Substantial

The implementation of the commitment activities continued into 2018. However, due to the large number and wide scope of the proposals received, the implementation of the proposals has taken longer than originally foreseen, and the completion of some milestones (e.g., 2.8) has been further delayed beyond 2018. In 2018, the government decided to extend the work of the task force until the end of December of that year. Therefore, milestone 2.9 (final report of the Zero Bureaucracy initiative) was also delayed until several months after the end of the action plan period. Nevertheless, a number of activities took place in the second year of the action plan. According to the task force’s website, 92 proposals had been carried out based on the organization-based implementation plans by April 2018, covering 52% of all proposals that government institutions considered possible to implement.[Note 7: Website of the Zero Bureaucracy initiative, accessible at https://www.mkm.ee/et/nullburokraatia ] By the time the task force ended its work in December 2018, 115 proposals had been partly or fully implemented, composing 70% of all proposals made.[Note 8: Final report of the Bureaucracy Reduction task force to the government, accessible at https://www.koda.ee/sites/default/files/content-type/content/2018-12/B%C3%BCrokraatia%20v%C3%A4hendamise%20rakker%C3%BChma%20l%C3%B5pparuanne.pdf ]

As many of the proposals require complex solutions, some will only be implemented in 2019–2020 according to the government’s end-of-term self-assessment report. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications also updated the initiative’s website[Note 9: https://www.mkm.ee/et/nullburokraatia%5D with more information on the implementation status of the proposals to provide the public the possibility to better monitor the commitment’s implementation (milestone 2.6).

Did It Open Government?

Civic Participation: Marginal

Despite the general ease of conducting business in Estonia,[Note 10: Estonia,” Doing Business, World Bank, http://www.doingbusiness.org/data/exploreeconomies/estonia.   ] prior to the start of this action plan, companies have not been satisfied with the level of bureaucracy involved in their interactions with public administration.[Note 11: „Kaubandus-tööstuskoda: bürokraatia ettevõtluses kasvab iga aastaga“, 5 January 2015. Accessible at https://www.err.ee/527456/kaubandus-toostuskoda-burokraatia-ettevotluses-kasvab-iga-aastaga  ] This commitment aimed to reduce the administrative burden for businesses to enable companies to focus on their core activities. The goal of reducing bureaucratic requirements and the administrative burden of companies is not directly relevant to OGP values. However, as the process placed the interests and needs of companies and citizens at the center and was designed in a highly participatory and collaborative manner, the initiative has had an impact on civic participation practices. At the start of the initiative, a large-scale crowdsourcing exercise was carried out, yielding 252 proposals by 35 organizations and groups that in turn represented thousands of member organizations.[Note 12: The list of proposals and proposers can be accessed at https://www.mkm.ee/sites/default/files/nullburokraatia_ettepanekute_kokkuvote.xlsx ]

As a result of the proposals, the government has implemented a number of changes in its administrative procedures. These include, for example, expanding data reuse within the public sector (this relieves companies from the need to submit certain data to government institutions several times), the abolishment of certain duties (e.g., the reporting duties of travel companies), and so on. The proposals have also led to the government piloting an e-service that saves small companies from submitting income and social tax declarations to the government and to the consolidation of a large number of environmental permit and reporting procedures into one information system.

 

During implementation, the initiative expanded to include an additional 900 proposals by public sector organizations for reducing bureaucracy within the public sector itself. As the task force kept the option of proposing new ideas open throughout the implementation process, the Estonian Employers’ Confederation initiated a smaller spin-off initiative, comprising 80 proposals from companies for simplifying the process of employing foreign workers.[Note 13: Liis Kasemets (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications), interview by IRM researcher, 26 November 2018] Business representatives were also involved in the task force’s composition along with a committee of ministers that oversaw the task force’s work. Mait Palts from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry evaluates the initiative as extremely participatory and open to input from businesses.[Note 14: Mait Palts (Chamber of Commerce and Industry), interview by IRM researcher, 16 November 2018]

However, the scale of the change remains marginal because the participation process has been limited to one specific initiative and time frame. According to Liis Kasemets, coordinator of the task force, it is not likely that such a large-scale participation will continue after the task force ends its work. Although the crowdsourcing model implemented during the initiative could constitute an excellent example and a good practice to be widely disseminated across the government, no measures have been implemented so far to disseminate and replicate the model in other policy-making initiatives.

Carried Forward?

The commitment has not been carried forward to Estonia’s fourth action plan. The work of the Zero Bureaucracy task force ended in December 2018, and its final report contains proposals for sustaining the results of the commitment by means other than the OGP action plan. For example, the government continues to accept proposals for bureaucracy reduction by e-mail. However, the results of the task force’s work may have a bearing on Commitment 1 in Estonia’s next OGP action plan, which involves the creation of a proto-type IT-platform for policy making that officials and the public can use for co-creation. In their final report, the Zero Bureaucracy task force recommended that this platform also provide guidelines and tools for policy-makers to assess new policies’ potential impact on the administrative burden.


Estonia's Commitments

  1. Transparent and Inclusive Policy Making

    EE0048, 2018, E-Government

  2. Inclusive Policy-Making

    EE0049, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Riigikogu Transparency

    EE0050, 2018, E-Government

  4. National and Local Government Action Plans

    EE0051, 2018, Public Service Delivery

  5. Presentation of Local Public Services

    EE0052, 2018, E-Government

  6. Participatiory Democracy Capacity-Building

    EE0053, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. e-Tax and Customs Board 2020

    EE0039, 2016, E-Government

  8. Reducing Bureaucracy and a Simpler State – the Zero Bureaucracy Project

    EE0040, 2016, Capacity Building

  9. Implementation of the Principles of Open Governance at Local Level as a Result of the Administrative Reform

    EE0041, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. More Inclusive Policy-Making on a Central Government Level

    EE0042, 2016, E-Government

  11. More Open and Transparent Law-Making

    EE0043, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  12. Increase of the Engagement Capacity of State Authorities and Participation Capacity of Nongovernmental Organisations in Policy-Making

    EE0044, 2016, Capacity Building

  13. Intensify Participatory Budgeting on a Local Level

    EE0045, 2016, E-Government

  14. Increasing the Transparency of the Funding of Non-Governmental Organisations

    EE0046, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  15. Defining Participatory Democracy and Development of Digital Competence in School Education

    EE0047, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. Visualisation of the Policy Making Process

    EE0016, 2014, Public Participation

  17. Upgrading Participation Channels

    EE0017, 2014, E-Government

  18. Improving Government Website

    EE0018, 2014, E-Government

  19. Standard for Information Requests

    EE0019, 2014, E-Government

  20. Early Notice on Policy-Making Processes

    EE0020, 2014, Public Participation

  21. Participation in Early Stage Policy-Making

    EE0021, 2014, Public Participation

  22. Early Access to Tax Policy Decisions

    EE0022, 2014, Public Participation

  23. Better Feedback Mechanism

    EE0023, 2014, Public Participation

  24. Selecting and Funding Participation Projects

    EE0024, 2014, Civic Space

  25. Web Tool

    EE0025, 2014, E-Government

  26. Civil Servant Guidelines for Participation

    EE0026, 2014, Capacity Building

  27. Training Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)

    EE0027, 2014, Capacity Building

  28. Central Government Transactions

    EE0028, 2014, E-Government

  29. Local Authorities' Transactions with Private Entities

    EE0029, 2014, Civic Space

  30. Public Spending for Non-Profits

    EE0030, 2014, Civic Space

  31. Guidelines for Citizen Budgeting

    EE0031, 2014, Capacity Building

  32. Guidelines for Redesigning Public Services

    EE0032, 2014, E-Government

  33. Registry of Public Services

    EE0033, 2014, Open Data

  34. User-Centric Public Services

    EE0034, 2014, E-Government

  35. Access to e-Services for Non-Residents

    EE0035, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration

  36. Open Data Portal

    EE0036, 2014, E-Government

  37. Opening Data

    EE0037, 2014, Capacity Building

  38. Supporting Nongovernmental Open Data Use

    EE0038, 2014, Capacity Building

  39. Drawing up a Green Paper on Organisation of Public Services

    EE0001, 2012, Public Service Delivery

  40. Implementation of the Eesti.Ee Action Plan

    EE0002, 2012, E-Government

  41. Drawing up a Green Paper on Making Public Data Available in a Machine-Readable Form

    EE0003, 2012, E-Government

  42. Creating a Repository of Public Data

    EE0004, 2012, E-Government

  43. Launching Pilot Projects of Public Data Services Based on the Cloud Technology

    EE0005, 2012, E-Government

  44. Interactive Guidelines and Training in Implementation of the Good Practice of Public Engagement

    EE0006, 2012, Open Contracting and Procurement

  45. Launch of the Impact Assessment System

    EE0007, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  46. Overview of Ministries’ Work Processes

    EE0008, 2012, Capacity Building

  47. Integration of Impact Assessment Into the Process of Public Engagement

    EE0009, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  48. Creation of a Database of Declarations of Economic Interests

    EE0010, 2012, Conflicts of Interest

  49. Adjustment of the System of Funding Non-Profit Associations and Establishment of a Disclosure System

    EE0011, 2012, Private Sector

  50. Starred commitment Drawing up a Proposal for Drawing up an Anti-Corruption Strategy

    EE0012, 2012, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  51. Draft Anti-Corruption Act

    EE0013, 2012, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  52. Establishment of the Public Ethics Council

    EE0014, 2012, Conflicts of Interest

  53. Organisation of Ethics Training for Employees of Various Public Sector Organisations (Incl. Public Servants)

    EE0015, 2012, Capacity Building