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Serbia

Establish a single public register of administrative procedures and other conditions for pursuing a business activity (RS0027)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Serbia Second National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Republic Secretariat for Public Policies

Support Institution(s): Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Human Resource Management Service-activity 2 (as it pertains to training); Serbian Chamber of Commerce

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Legislation & Regulation, Private Sector, Public Service Delivery, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Serbia End-of-Term Report 2016–2018, Serbia Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

THEME: Improve the quality of services provided by the public administration to citizens and businesses and reduce administrative costs for businesses and citizens; COMMITMENT 14: Establish a single public register of administrative procedures and other conditions for pursuing a business activity; Status quo or problem addressed by the commitment: The existing public administration system does not have an integrated database of applicable administrative requirements (procedures). Citizens are therefore often confused, not knowing where to ask for advice or seek information about the procedures and costs of services provided by state administration bodies. This often creates unnecessary additional expenses and waste of time for public service seekers. A comprehensive and updated electronic database of administrative requirements would facilitate access to the required information for citizens and businesses, thus avoiding any additional expenses. Main objective: To increase transparency in the work of public administration and cut overall administrative expenses for businesses and citizens in the exercise of their rights and compliance with their statutory duties; Brief description of commitment (140-character limit): A single public register of administrative procedures and other conditions for pursuing a business activity will enable citizens and businesses to access in one place all administrative requirements and procedures that have to be met and completed in order to obtain a certain service, including any costs in the form of fees, charges etc. Simplification of procedures and scrapping of unnecessary levies will create assumptions for greater predictability of operations and lower costs for citizens and businesses associated with the exercise of their guaranteed rights and compliance with their statutory duties. It is of particular importance to provide citizens and businesses with information about integrated procedures, i.e. procedures within the purview of multiple public administration bodies, in order to clearly identify all activities that need to be undertaken to complete a procedure as soon as possible. OGP challenge addressed by the commitment: Improving public services, Strengthening public integrity; Relevance: Introduction of the register will contribute to greater transparency in the work of public administration and facilitate day-to-day operations of businesses and daily life of citizens. Citizens and businesses will have at their disposal a “one-stop shop” where they will be provided with details of all procedures and costs for the parties involved and information on the relevant bodies in charge of those procedures. Ambition: Implementation of this commitment will result in free online availability of a single updated database of administrative procedures and other conditions for pursuing a business activities. In this way, citizens and businesses will have ready access to the information they need without incurring any unnecessary additional expenses; this will save time for public service seekers and increase the efficiency of public service providers.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

For Commitment details, please see Serbia Mid-Term Report 2016-2018 (Year 1).

IRM End of Term Status Summary

14. Public register of administrative procedures and other conditions for pursing a business activity

Commitment Aim:

With this commitment, the Government intended to cut the unnecessary administrative burdens on businesses by simplifying procedures and reducing fees. Additionally, the aim was to provide complete information about administrative procedures in a single place and to facilitate the activities of entrepreneurs, especially small and medium ones, who often lack legal expertise and face bureaucratic difficulties. To achieve this goal, the Government proposed building a comprehensive and user-friendly online registry of administrative procedures, where users would be able to see steps, documents, fees and deadlines. Moreover, it planned to simplify the 500 most frequently used and most expensive procedures, to digitalize 100 of those procedures, and to reduce administrative fees. Individual milestones were: 1) develop a plan for establishing the online registry of procedures, 2) develop a template for the inventory of procedures and train civil servants on filling it in, 3) compile an inventory of the procedures by the administration, 4) compile an inventory of the procedures by businesses, 5) agree on a methodology for optimizing the procedures, and 6) build the software for the online registry of procedures.

Status

Midterm: Limited

This commitment had limited progress by midterm. The PPS developed a plan to establish the database in late 2016 and the template for the inventory of business-related administrative procedures in early 2017. From February to March 2017, the RSPP and Government HRM Office organized inventory-filling trainings for civil servants across 81 public administration bodies, but the quality of information in the inventory varied. Initial delays shifted activities, causing the inventory by businesses to be delayed, as well as the development of the methodology for optimizing procedures and the software for online registry. At the time of writing of midterm report, the inventory contained 2,470 procedures.

End-of-Term: Substantial

The administration finalized the inventory task in June 2018. It currently contains 2,487 national-level procedures. [Note115: Ninoslav Kekic, Public Policy Secretariat, interview with IRM Researcher, 6 September 2018.] PPS performed a quality check and analyzed the inventory; referring 70 procedures for simplification or abolishment to the responsible institutions. [Note116: Ibid.] The PPS will continue analyzing the procedures and drafting optimization proposals.

Apart from involving 84 institutions in this project, the PPS has also made significant efforts to invite contributions from businesses. On 15 May 2018, the PPS launched 'ePaper,' an online portal that aimed to collect inputs from entrepreneurs about the administrative obstacles they encounter and the procedures they believe should be simplified or abolished. [Note117: The portal is available at www.epapir.rsjp.gov.rs ] On its web page, the PPS published an explicit invitation to entrepreneurs, especially small and medium, to take an active part. [Note118: Public Policy Secretariat, 'Portal E-papir za privrednike' [E-Paper Portal for Entrepreneurs], https://bit.ly/2DSFY82 ] The portal contains a promotional brochure which explains the project in a simple and clear language. [Note119: Available at http://www.epapir.rsjp.gov.rs/RSJP%20brosura%20ePAPIR.pdf ]

The PPS included NALED in the implementation of activities related to the business sector. NALED has so far participated in the analysis of 28 procedures in the area of health and agriculture and provided optimization proposals. They have consulted entrepreneurs and the relevant authorities about the steps to submitting and processing requests for each procedure. According to NALED, the business sector is very interested in discussing the procedures and the problems they face, as well as potential optimization models. [Note120: Petar Korac, NALED, online correspondence with IRM Researcher, September 2018.]

The methodology for optimizing procedures was finalized at the end of 2017, but is not publicly available. The National Academy for Public Administration, an institution responsible for professional development of civil servants, is planning to train civil servants on how to approach administrative simplification in the legislation and how to calculate savings or administrative taxes. [Note121: Ninoslav Kekic, Public Policy Secretariat, interview with IRM Researcher, 6 September 2018.]

The Government has yet to build the software for the Single Public Registry of Administrative Procedures. This is one of the final expected results of the 'ePaper' project. [Note122: See https://bit.ly/2Evtvr5] A PPS representative stated that the deadline for the software to be functional was the beginning of 2021. [Note123: Ninoslav Kekic., Public Policy Secretariat, interview with IRM Researcher, 6 September 2018.]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

Civic participation: Marginal

This commitment represents a marginal change in making information about administrative procedures for registering and operating a business more accessible. Although the registry has yet been built, a significant amount of information can be found on the ePaper portal. It currently offers details on almost 2,500 administrative procedures for businesses, from issuing construction permits, to taxpayer registration and identification. It includes, but is not limited to, information on the responsible institution, the legal basis for the procedure, the purpose and description of the procedure, the documents, fees, deadlines that are required, an explanation of the request forms, other institutions that the submitters need to collect proofs/certificates/stamps from, submission channels, and the appeals procedure. [Note124: An example can be found here: http://www.epapir.rsjp.gov.rs/1496 ] The portal also contains information whether the documents should be collected by the submitters or the administration can do it ex officio. This can reduce the time needed to obtain a service.

Users of the portal can fill out a detailed survey to submit proposal for procedures to be simplified. Questions asked relate to access to and quality of information about the procedures, assessment of their complexity, as well as assessment of specific elements of the process (fees, request form, channels, waiting time, etc.). Users are also asked to report corruption (e.g., mention instances in which they were asked to pay a bribe) and give their opinion on whether a given procedure should be abolished, improved/simplified, or left as is. The IRM researcher assesses this survey as well designed and useful to the administration because it allows for data on user satisfaction with administrative services to be collected, which can contribute to simplifying and digitizing the most common administrative procedures for businesses (the goal of this commitment). Though not originally coded as relevant to civic participation, as implemented, this commitment did have a marginal impact on increasing citizen engagement.

However, the section of the portal where the visitors should be able to download various templates and forms (e.g., requests for services) remains empty. Also, only those intending to fill out the survey can find the information about the procedures. In other words, although it already contains a large amount of information pertaining to individual services for businesses, the layout of the portal is not intuitive enough for easy access and it is currently easier to provide input than to find information. This has prevented a more major effect on increasing access to information.

The inclusion of the business sector in proposing or initiating change is a crucial output of this commitment. By implementing various activities, such as designing the portal, producing an info-sheet, issuing invitations and press releases, PPS has demonstrated its commitment to engage the business sector as partners in the project and collect their opinions. As a result, the Government has used this commitment as an effective way to engage with businesses. However, the explicit focus on business is also the main shortcoming of the commitment: including the digitalization of most frequently used administrative services by citizens, such as obtaining ID card or passport issuance/renewal, would address this.

Carried Forward?

At the time of finalizing of this report, the Government had not released a new Action Plan. To facilitate implementation of this commitment and reach the goal, it is recommended that PPS continue to engage with the business community and civil society to improve the process of optimizing administrative procedures and propose reduction of administrative burden both for businesses and citizens.


Serbia's Commitments

  1. Develop a model of job description or part of job description of an officer responsible for cooperation with civil society in local administration

    RS0014, 2016, Capacity Building

  2. Organise trainings for public administration officers in connection with the application of the Guidelines on Inclusion of Civil Society Organisations in the Process of Passing Regulations

    RS0015, 2016, Capacity Building

  3. Organise trainings for CSO in connection with application of the Guidelines on Inclusion of Civil Society Organisations in the Process of Passing Regulations

    RS0016, 2016, Capacity Building

  4. Improve the system for collecting initiatives from citizens and businesses

    RS0017, 2016, Capacity Building

  5. Introducing standards for civic participation in the public policy management system

    RS0018, 2016, Capacity Building

  6. Improving proactive transparency – Information Booklet

    RS0019, 2016, Capacity Building

  7. Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

    RS0020, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  8. Development of an Open Data Portal

    RS0021, 2016, Capacity Building

  9. Draft a bylaw based on the Guidelines for Evaluation of Websites

    RS0022, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Improve the institute of public hearing in the drafting of laws

    RS0023, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  11. Development of a uniform methodology for planning, monitoring and performance evaluation of programmes and projects implemented by civil society organisations and monitoring the spending of allocated funds

    RS0024, 2016, Capacity Building

  12. Amend the Regulation on Funds to Support Programmes or Missing Amount of Funds for Programmes of Public Interest implemented by Associations

    RS0025, 2016, Capacity Building

  13. Enactment of a Law on Electronic Documents, Electronic Identification and Trusted Services in Electronic Business

    RS0026, 2016, Capacity Building

  14. Establish a single public register of administrative procedures and other conditions for pursuing a business activity

    RS0027, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Transparency in Monitoring Budget Expenditures

    RS0001, 2014, Capacity Building

  16. Law on Financing Political Activities

    RS0002, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Transparent Public Procurement Procedures

    RS0003, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement

  18. Transparent Financing of Civil Society Organizations

    RS0004, 2014, Civic Space

  19. Extending and Clarifying Responsibilities of the Anti-Corruption Agency

    RS0005, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  20. Whistleblower Protection Trainings and Campaigns

    RS0006, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  21. Draft Law Regulating Inspections in Public Administration

    RS0007, 2014, Audits and Controls

  22. e-Governmental Portal Awareness and Mobile Application

    RS0008, 2014, E-Government

  23. Starred commitment Public Administration Website Harmonization and Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

    RS0009, 2014, E-Government

  24. New Technologies to Improve Citizen Services

    RS0010, 2014, E-Government

  25. Cooperation with Civil Society Organizations in Public Policymaking

    RS0011, 2014, Civic Space

  26. Citizen Participation in Local Government Affairs

    RS0012, 2014, Public Participation

  27. Civil Society Participation in Monitoring the Public Administration (PAR) Strategy

    RS0013, 2014, Audits and Controls