Which strategy has helped Portugal take a leap in reforming administration?

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Portugal in its attempt to create an efficient and simplified business environment is implementing ambitious integrated administrative simplification and e-government program through a strategy called the SIMPLEX. The series of programmes under SIMPLEX have considerably improved effectiveness and efficiency of public service delivery as well as improve competitiveness through better regulatory framework. 


The characterstic of the programmes are:

  • Stimulate economic growth and job creation
  • Make public service delivery more efficient and effectiveness
  • Ensure prioritization and simplification of public initiatives
  • Improve and systematize collaboration and cooperation across public sector
  • Improve performance and use monitoring and evaluation systematically.

“The objective of SIMPLEX programmes is cutting redtape, reducing compliance cost and using ICT for delivering better services.”

The SIMPLEX programmes were launched in the year 2006 as a strategy for administrative modernization. Each year public bodies initiate simplification drives for public programmes and publish timelines for implementation. The simplification ideas may come from civil servants, enterprises, citizens and public associations. Results are announced by respective executives every quarter, and all information related to program and progress is made available online for public to see. Some of the positive impact that were implemented as part of the program are  – Citizens’ Card, On the sport business, Zero Licensing etc.

Some key features that programs must assume by default to qualify on innovative culture  are:

    • Interact Once: If an information has already been provided, and is held by any of the public administration department, the information should not be re-requested from stakeholder (citizen/ business). The sharing of information between different departments or entities should take place, and at the same time adhering to data protection needs.
    • Share and reuse: In an extension of previous point, each department is required to build capability to allow free data exchange. This includes met-data standards, technology capabilities to exchange data and required collaboration to achieve the same.
    • Digital by default: The stress is more on providing digital platforms to avail the service. However, it does not implies that multi-channel platforms have to be evaded completely.
    • Behavioral economics: It is understood that advances in cognitive science, psychology and social science considerably influence decision making capabilities of people. Therefore the development of tools must adhere to certain recommendations to help achieve objective of administration.
    • Emerging Technologies: With the significant automation and advances brought out by Internet of Things, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence et al., the public body should devise ways for automation and decision making. 

The monitoring and programme engagement is done on the SIMPLEX website.

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