HITRO.HR - Croatian One Stop Shop (HITRO.HR)

Published on: 09/06/2009
Document

After consolidating itself as an independent nation in 1991, new state administration was established in Croatia. This implied a necessity to make a change from the nomenclature system towards a modern civil service capable of facilitating Croatia’s democratization process and its transition to a market economy. In addition Croatia presently faces the challenge of structural reform as a Candidate Country.

Croatian Government aims at increasing the efficiency and transparency of the state administration through strong promotion of the e‑Government and One-Stop-Shop system in line with e-Europe Agenda. It has decided to forcefully begin the transformation of processes and raise the quality and efficiency of state administration services adopting One Stop Shop Program.

In October of 2004 by Conclusion of the Government, Central State Administrative Office for e-Croatia was entrusted with the coordination of the Program activities and Financial agency (FINA), as state owned agency, was entrusted to design and implement the One Stop Shop Program, later named HITRO.HR

 

The purpose of the Program is to encourage development of the information society in Croatia using innovative information and communication technology in restructuring state administration by increasing the efficiency, effectiveness, quality, flexibility and transparency of services provided for the businesses. The final objective of the Program is to interconnect all the state-administrative IT resources, which would allow the businesses to operate with the state or public authorities electronically. This will also increase competitiveness of Croatian business and economy in general.

 HITRO.HR is providing public administration services through variety of communication channels (on-line, mobile, phone and face-to-face) supported by the Government network HITRONET, and B2G e-services.

 On the HITRO.HR counters (currently on 61 locations) it is possible to establish a Limited Liability Company or a Craft Business in an easier and quicker manner. Prior to launching HITRO.HR the process of registration was at least 40 days and 9 institutions were included (data from FIAS study, World Bank, 2002). HITRO.HR decreased whole process just to 24 hours and 3 relevant institutions, fully electronically connected. HITRO.HR also provides e-services that are available from office or home, 24 hours/day. Using FINA e-card and digital signature, clients have access to different services relevant for the business operations as e-Regos*, e-Cadastre*, e-Pension*, e-Craft* and e-Health*. Significant savings in time and finances for business subjects were made. (* all described and translated in the abbreviations document attached)

HITRO.HR is a service completely oriented to clients by putting them ahead of procedures. That is why HITRO.HR is receiving the highest marks in general public. Clients appreciate the most HITRO.HR¢s orientation to their individual needs and transparency of the procedures. Considering the importance of speeding up start-up processes for the economy in general, HITRO.HR service has made a tremendous positive change in this area.

HITRO.HR has removed many of the administrative barriers which were present at state administrative bodies and helped Croatian bureaucracy in process of transformation to become a transparent, efficient and a client oriented. Typical bureaucracy has obtained a new shape popularly called HITROcracy.

Using well prepared Program, good organizational methods with clearly defined roles and responsibly and knowledge supported by IT solutions, as well as good coordination had enabled a system to provide services which are effective, efficient, user friendly, cost effective and transparent for final user.

Policy Context

Government of the Republic of Croatia has been implementing the e‑Europe agenda and the following i2010 Initiative through initiating a series of activities and implementation of targeted measures in Croatian public services and state administration. In 2003 Government adopted e‑Croatia 2007 Program, in line with eEurope 2005 Action Plan as well as the i2010 Initiative. The purpose of the Program is to encourage development of the information society in Croatia through the innovative use of information and communication technology and restructuring of state administration, fulfilling the basic preconditions for increased competitiveness of Croatian businesses by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness as well as quality of services the administration provides for the citizens and businesses. The final objective of the Program is to interconnect all the state-administrative IT resources, which would allow the citizens and businesses to run any of their businesses with the state or public authorities through electronic communications. The Program focuses on five priority areas: e-Government, e-Judiciary, e-Learning, e-Health and e-Business. Implementation of the Program is coordinated through yearly Operational Action Plans and Central State Administrative Office for e-Croatia is entrusted with the coordination of all the Program activities.

FINA is still the main provider of the services in public finances and information support to the state administrative bodies. The Law on Financial Agency  (Official gazzette 117/01) nominated FINA as the institution responsible for streamlining the information-communication infrastructure, for support to the system of state and public finances, registers and information services for state administration bodies, regional and local government bodies. In the contract between the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Financial Agency of 23 October 2003, FINA was entrusted with the tasks related to the development and support to the application services and the e-Government solutions. In the Government Conclusion of 15 October 2004 FINA was entrusted with the development of IT-Communication Network of State Administration Bodies (ICN SAB) – (Croatian: HITRONET). By that Government Decree FINA was entrusted to finance and build the network that will connect all the state administrative bodies. FINA is also obliged to provide network operating centre (NOC), establish common Internet access and remote access services, help-desk, and comply with information security standards.

 Since 2004 Croatian Government has initiated an e-Government Program (One-Stop-Shop Program) HITRO.HR, as part of the implementation of the e-Croatia 2007 Strategy and in line with e-Europe agenda. The Government therefore adopted Strategy of the One Stop Shop Program in December 2004. It is in line with the e-Europe 2005 Action plan.

FINA communicates on a daily basis with the Central State Administrative Office for e-Croatia and other state administrative bodies on all the issues concerning the coordination and implementation of the HITRO.HR Program. For every year an Implementation plan for e-Croatia agenda is passed and confirmed by the Government. More inputs regarding the development and implementation of electronic services and its solutions within the bodies of the Government and state administration are elaborated at the “Strategy of development electronic commerce in Croatia 2007- 2010” written by MELE and partners.

HITRO.HR Program is aimed at providing efficient, simple and fast administrative services to businesses. It is developing towards transferring all the communication and transactions between its users and the Government into an easy to access electronic format, which would reduce the time and the costs of the interactions of business community with state administration.

Description of target users and groups

Target user groups included in the One Stop Shop Program are businesses, citizens and administrative officials on the state, regional and local level. Within the services provided by HITRO.HR target users are all business subjects of Croatia and all services are created with the aim to increase competitiveness of Croatian economy.

 One of the main objectives of the Government of the Republic of Croatia is to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, business subjects and citizens by saving time and reducing the cost of administration service when fulfilling their rights, as well as assuming their legal duties.

The concept of "one-stop-shop" is based on the premises that state authorities must enable all business subjects, i.e. tax payers, to access services in a simple and fast way, without unnecessary expenses, without repeated attempts to acquire the same information and/or documents, in other words - without "walking" from one office to another. Therefore, it is necessary that business subjects are entitled to obtain all the documentation and/or information "at or from one place", through the application of modern means for connecting and exchanging information, via available and established information technologies by using meaningful and flexible web applications.

For the state offices, new, modern, secure and reliable technological solution has been established. Officials have no need to retype the date from the applications any more,as the processes have been linked electronically, errors have been removed and time saved. Also the efficiency level of the state service provider has been improved as the information needed is easily updated, reliable and accessible.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

FINA as main operational coordinator and body responsible for implementation has established a project team responsible for fulfilling project goals.

 In first step the teams of law analysts and other experts have undertaken researches in order to come up with shorter and more transparent procedures in the processes of founding a new company or registering a craft. In parallel the whole concept of HITRO.HR was designed and tested by pilots who have also engaged the whole team of relevant experts from IT, legal, process organization etc. background.  Constant, strong coordination, managerial, and negotiation skills were needed to coordinate all actions between relevant state administrative bodies and responsible representatives from Government and Parliament.

 After the adoption of the necessary legal documents, the implementation phase begun by establishing a first operational HITRO.HR office in Zagreb in May 2005. For that purpose FINA also provided complete operations. That included staff education and furnishing of the offices.

EU funds have been used for the raising the level of the services. The Minimum technical requirements for business that was analysed and implemented through the CARDS 2003 Project. Capacity building of the HITRO.HR staff was done within the SIDA Project through the various workshops and trainings.

 Team of experts with marketing and PR background was in charge of brand development and graphical standards of the brand HITRO.HR as well as design of the web and printed materials (brochures, posters, promo DVDs, T-shirts, badges, paper bags, folders). “HITRO” stands for quick and “.hr” is an internet shortcut for Croatia – Hrvatska. By this name service was marked both quick (hitro) and electronic (.hr).

 Web and application designers have build applications that linked HITRO.HR with the court registry and the National Bureau of Statistics in order to make on-line document submissions possible.

 There are still ongoing managerial efforts in coordinating all the bodies of the Government in order to develop new, advanced e-services and continually update existing services.

Technology solution

For the e-services e-REGOS and e-Pension the technology used is standards based. Standards are architecture J2EE, IBM Web sphere application servers, Adobe livecycle PKI - public key infrastructure servers (e-Pension only), PK (public key) technology (CA – certificate authority), Smart card support, Revocation list – CRL, time stamp server, SSL with client authentication, Advanced digital Signature (PKCS#7), Intelligent electronic forms – electronic document (e-Pension only).

For these services following acts are followed; Electronic Document Act, official gazette 150/05 and eSignature Act, official gazette 10/2002.

For services e-VAT, e-Health and e-Katastar there is only smart card support.

For obtaining the classification solution from the National Bureau of Statistics, web technology J2EE technology, IBM Web sphere application servers with Oracle database server is used, application is approached to by an e-card as an identifier.

Description of the services;

e-Pension is a service within the HITRO.HR service, by which the Croatian Institute for Pension Insurance offers its user an advanced electronic business method within their modernization and reorganization scheme through the option of submitting applications electronically. For these operations electronic forms are used, advanced electronic signature and completed application has the characteristics of the electronic document. Advanced PKI technology is used, no repudiation implemented with the encryption and integrity of data as well as the standard of long term archiving is obeyed PDF – A (HRN ISO 19005-1:2008)

e-REGOS is an e-service of Central Registry of Insured Persons (REGOS) that exists in order to provide the users of its services with adequate technical support in a new pension system for the insured persons – members of funds.  The e-service is intended for all persons obliged to submit R-Sm Form. The service enables online submission of electronically signed R-Sm Form to the REGOS system at FINA, online download of the Specification Errors file on calculated contributions per insured persons and download of Overview of Non-Associated R-S/R-Sm Forms, payments, i.e. refund of contributions.

 FINA e-card is a multi-functional smart card enables companies to conduct their business from their offices by using the Internet. The FINA e-card has two business certificates. It is intended for corporate and other legal entities and craftsmen. It offers unlimited access to FINA’s services (24 hours a day), lower transaction costs, access to accounts at various banks, a cheaper and faster way of obtaining financial information (WEB-BON and the Register of Annual Financial Reports – financial and statistical reports), as well as an opportunity to look into the Register of Land/Cadastral Certificates and the Register of Concessions. This card also ensures a safe signing of documents using digital signatures.

FINA offers the service of certifying and issuing digital certificates to both retail and corporate clients. It is consistent with Electronic signature directive, EU and Ordinance of the record of certification authorities for electronic signatures, Official gazette 54/02.

By implementation of these e-services business process are optimized and time is shortened for its users.

 

 

Technology choice: Standards-based technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

HITRO.HR covers one-stop-shop based services in the processes of starting a business (company, craft) and filing on line applications for the health and pension insurance + taxes. From the beginning the approach to the clients was through two interfaces – the office as the human contact and through the web for the electronic solution. In four years 19 844  e-cards were issued to business in order to use it for e-services. Through HITRO.HR over 30 000 companies and crafts were established.

By establishing HITRO.HR offices/counters in FINA branches the first step was made in shortening of the procedures. Clients could do 5 steps in one office vs. going to 5 different governmental/administrative offices or sending the papers through mail which was very time consuming. One must know that Croatia has many islands at the Adriatic Sea and cities as far as 500 to 900 kms from the capital Zagreb, and yet before HITRO.HR was established some of the administrative steps for registration of the company/craft involved documentation from the offices that were situated only in Zagreb (National Bureau of statistics, Ministry of justice). Also there are 13 court registries throughout the country and clients needed to travel to those cities in order to submit papers for company incorporation. HITRO.HR is a link for the clients, and collects/handles client’s documents as a channel between the client and a State bodies.

 HITRO.HR puts business subjects as clients ahead of procedures. That is why HITRO.HR, in comparison with the “classic way” of starting a business and going to all the different institutions, has become so popular and is receiving the highest marks in general public. What clients appreciate the most is HITRO.HR¢s orientation to their individual needs and the transparency of the procedures. Having insight in every stage of the procedure, the client is aware of the status of his request during the whole process.  Also it was the first time ever in Croatia that an “administrative body” calls upon client and addresses the client by phone, e-mail, sms etc. in order to give message about the status of their applications as well as the notice if there is any extra documentation needed for the process.

At the Corporate Registers Forum 2009 in the “World class Indicators” report presented by the Companies office of UK  HITRO.HR service was pronounced a “top performer” in the area of company registration, usage and application of electronic solutions among 42 countries from Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

The client satisfaction survey, that was conducted by an independent Customer relations agency, showed that the clients of HITRO.HR ranked highest time saving through faster procedure, less personal visit to different institutions, less paperwork, availability of all information/forms/payments at one place, clear and understandable procedure, transparency and professionalism of the employees. Continued efforts are made for increasing public awareness of using the e-services . Government has launched an e-Corner campaign through HITRO.HR offices in FINA branches. E-Corner is a free education spot that is set to give insight into the possibilities and advantages of using an e-card and the services included. It helps transition from paperwork to electronic business transactions by helping citizens to overcome their fear of using new technologies and allow themselves more freedom for the development of new business activities.

 

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

HITRO.HR is a concept that can be easily implemented by any administration regardless of the law (civil or common) background. The level of IT infrastructure today can follow any business procedure and transform it in to the electronic world. In order to achieve this, standards must me adopted and applied and there must be a joint synergy action plan implemented by all relevant bodies of the government. That can then lead into the interoperable services that can operate on the One Stop Shop principle. Technology used in the e-services implemented through HITRO.HR helped to remove unnecessary steps from the administrative bodies and has removed replication of data in the systems.

 

This project was presented at regional and international conferences such as SPIRA by USAID in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, CRF (Corporate Register s Forum), Vancouver, Canada, IACA (international Association of Commercial Administrators) Seattle, USA, EU Charter for SME, Vienna, Austria.

 

For the purpose of exchange the information and sharing the broader picture in Croatia many bodies were linked in order to cooperate jointly. There were joint workshops with the Trade court officials, Croatian bank for restructuring and development, Croatian Trade and  Investment promotion agency, Croatian Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises. All these workshops had a primary goal to change the mindset of the public in Croatia and work jointly in order to promote the effectiveness of Croatian economy.

 

Numerous meetings were made in the regional level with the Serbian business registers agency and the Central registry of Macedonia in order to form a sort of regional cooperation group and exchange of good practice to implement.

There are ongoing efforts to apply for different bilateral project funded by the European Commission, as tenders are applied for upgrade of existing services and to promote our own projects and, hopefully, implement it through other administrations.

Lessons learnt

Prior to starting a radical reform such as reform of the administration, and as early as possible, is necessary to ensure as wide as possible consensus on the basic principles of the reform within the Government and competent institutions. Sustained vision of the reform will only be implemented if this consensus is achieved at the very beginning.

Since reform involves competencies of several ministries, it is necessary for the Government to establish an inter-ministerial body to follow up and coordinate the overall reform and to ensure consistency in the regulations and in the implementation of the Action plan for the reform. This helps to ensure that the Government departments avoid introducing duplicated or superfluous forms and/or contact points in the reform of the procedures. All involved will have the broader picture and the higher level of the interoperability would be introduced of all stakeholders, hopefully resulting with integrated services across governmental bodies.

There is definitely need to use IT and databases as much as possible for the transmission and authentication of information submitted and/or the exchange of information between public authorities. Within those reforms standards must be followed but not as a bottleneck for the use of new technologies such as advanced digital signature use and the use of digital documents instead of paper ones, but as a “gate opener” to the new perspective of business solutions.

When one puts it into simple words I guess these three key words would describe our reform in the best way are simplicity, open approach and adaptability.

Simplicity would open the minds of the general public into introducing one new service and hopefully change the general mindset of “fear of the new and unknown” as one of the key components within simplicity is transparency of the procedures.

Open approach goes two ways, to the project partners and to the public. Mangers need to listen to the pulse of the public as well as of the decision makers in order to provide the most effective service at a high time for it, so timing is relevant factor for this component as well as it is openness to the introduction of new and innovative technology but not at any cost as some common sense and realistic possibility must be taken into consideration.

For the third factor; adaptability, basically summons up the best of the first two as we strongly believe only simple yet innovative services developed through the synergy of all of the stakeholders at a right time will be adaptable enough in order to replace the “old” procedures.

Scope: National