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The Development of Complex Electronic Services: Toward the One Stop Shop Principle

Algirdas Trakimaviius, Head of Interdepartmental Data Management Division, Information Society Development Committee under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania
Martynas Jokbauskas, Deputy head of Interdepartmental Data Management Division, Information Society Development Committee under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania

In April 2006, the Lithuanian governments Information Society Development Committee began to implement a new project Creation of Interoperability Among Information Systems: The Capacity of Interaction Among Systems of Public Administration Institutions. The aim was to help public administration institutions and officials more effectively to co-operate in the development of the network of public electronic services which are provided to Lithuanians on the Internet.

At the very end of 2002, Lithuanias government approved a conceptual document related to electronic governance.  It defined the goal of providing electronic administrative and public services on the Internet as part of the one stop shop principle.  The term refers to a system in which recipients of a service can order and receive it in a single place, and all of the information that is necessary to provide the service is collected by the service provider, not the recipient.



The fact is, however, that the transfer of services into the digital arena and the implementation of the one stop shop principle seem uncomplicated only if the services are provided on the basis of information that is available at just one single institution.  The number of such institutions is not large most public services are complex, and several institutions handle the data that are necessary to provide them.  Of course, at first glance this does not seem to be something which raises any major difficulties, but a more in-depth examination of the matter shows that government institutions do use different kinds of information systems ones which are adapted specifically for their needs.  Exchange of data can be complicated, and many of these systems were created without any thought given to the provision of administrative and public services.  Because of the functional and informational diversity in Lithuanias public sector, the provision of one stop shop services and interactive electronic services on the Internet has proven to be quite complicated.

It is usually the case that each government institution takes its own approach vis-à-vis interaction with major data registers and information systems.  Some institutions create data exchange systems at their own initiative, others create duplicate databases so as to ensure interaction among systems.  These are known as mirror systems, and they are both technologically outdated and very expensive when it comes time to expand on their functionality.  It is also true that institutions often find it difficult to ensure the confidentiality of data.  It should be noted that institutions which spend little on information and communication technologies cannot implement technologically complicated tools for interaction.  This means that the efficiency of their activities suffers.  People who wish to receive public services, as a result of this, must themselves collect necessary information various institutions in the public administration structure.



The project which is discussed in this paper was financed by the European Union.  An electronic online environment in which separate institutions can effectively exchange data among themselves in the context of public services has been established.  The following objectives have been achieved:

1)  A data exchange platform has been created for the exchange of data among institutions which use different systems, thus providing administrative and public services which are organised and provided in an electronic way;

2)  The portal which is the gateway to the public services is one in which there are tools for the centralised identification of personal identity, payment for the services that are provided, ordering of services, and oversight of the provision of the services;

3)  The portal is linked to the data exchange platform.

This means that there are now tools which allow public sector institutions to provide E-services via the public services portal, where recipients can order the service, pay for it, and observe the process of how it is provided.  The identity of the recipient is established via the electronic banking systems of Lithuanias commercial banks, as well as via mobile telephony and E-mail.

When data from several different institutions are needed in order to provide a service, the system permits for an exchange of data, making the provision of the service much faster and simpler.  Furthermore, the system helps to avoid duplication of effort on the part of public administration institutions, which means more rational spending of state funds.



Before people truly become convinced of the efficiency and benefits of the new system, several complex electronic services have to be transferred to the online environment.  Institutions which are participating in a project aimed at doing exactly that include the Vilnius Maternity Hospital, the Civil Registry Division of the city of Vilnius, and the Vilnius Social Assistance Centre.  The focus is on babies who are born at the maternity hospital.  The infants parents no longer have to visit the Civil Registry Division or the Social Assistance Centre to file applications for newborn support payments.  When babies are born at other facilities in Vilnius, they still have to visit both institutions.  The new project makes it possible to declare the childs place of residence and to apply for payments online, and the money is then transferred to the indicated bank account.  While the system is being tested, it is available only for residents of Vilnius, but eventually all of the citizens of Lithuania will have access to it.

The system which is being created during this project can also be used to create an interface related to mortgages.  Here the interface will help relevant institutions to exchange data more effectively in the area of property seizures and related issues.

The point here is that individual data exchange among various institutions is being reduced, and conditions are being improved for the creation of new and complex electronic services.  Institutions can do that themselves, creating or choosing already established data sets (so-called components) those which can be used in the provision of various complex services.  System administrators can provide access to the component to other service providers.  A simple, convenient and effective system will become a catalyst for the even more rapid transfer of public services into the online environment.


Figure 1. The main operating principles of the system


It should be noted here that the data of individual institutions are still stored in their own information systems.  Information that is used to provide services is presented according to individual enquiries and only to the extent that is necessary to provide the relevant service.  Institutions provide services in their information systems and their own organisational environment, which means that the provision of services is still possible both in the traditional and the electronic environment.

The fact that institutions which provide public services have differently developed infrastructural and information systems means that they can make use of this new system in different ways (see Figure 1):

1)  They can make use of references from the electronic services catalogue.  The service as such is provided directly, using only the service providers system.  This is a service which is restricted to a single service provider.

2)  The provider of services can use the system to establish identity or handle payment data, but the service itself is provided by the institution itself or by its information system.  The data of other institutions come through direct interfaces linked to the relevant institution.

3)  The service provider provides an E-service via a portal the service is initiated, its provision is observed, and intermediate results are presented.  Data exchange is used in the provision of the service.

4)  The service provider uses the system to interact with the recipient of the services so as to obtain external components (data sets).  The provision of the service is carried out within the environment of the service provider.

5)  The service providers electronic service is linked to other E-services when the result of one E-service is part of another service.  This makes it possible to develop complex E-services.

Institutions must examine their technical possibilities and infrastructures, and they must then decide on the way in which they will use the new system.



Public E-services will not eliminate traditional ones.  People will still be able to visit institutions to receive the services which they need.  The new system, however, will allow service providers to provide services much more quickly than has been the case until now.  It is also likely that it will not take long for service providers and recipients to appreciate the advantages of the new system, which means that the percentage of Lithuanians who are prepared to receive and provide services online will increase.

It should be noted that Lithuanias public institutions have had problems with all of this.  Of 20 services listed as major electronic services by the European Union, only five have been transferred to the online environment in Lithuania.  On average, 51% of all services in the EU are fully available online, while in Lithuania that is true with only 25% of services.[1]  It goes without saying, therefore, that the project which is discussed in this paper involves great expectations in terms of speeding up the implementation of one stop shop services in Lithuania.  The point is to make full use of the possibilities which the project creates.  Public institutions, establishments and other subjects must be involved as extensively as possible.  There must be an understanding among service providers that when the services are transferred to the online environment, time will be saved both by Lithuanian residents and by the employees of the service providers themselves.  The efficiency of work will increase.

The technological environment that is needed to provide complex public services online is in place.  Before data exchange among institutions can be ensured so as to provide E-services on the basis of the one stop shop principle, however, the necessary legal framework must be established.  This is a major priority for the immediate future.

It is expected that the new system will not only facilitate communication between the public and the public sector, but also encourage co-operation among institutions.  This is particularly important in ensuring co-ordination between the information and communications technologies of various subjects of public administration.

[1]   Wauters, P. and G. Colclough.  Online Availability of Public Services: How is Europe Progressing?  Web-Based Survey of Electronic Public Services, Report of the 6th Measurement.  Diegem: Capgemini Belgium NV/SA (2006).  See  Last viewed 29 August 2008.

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