eGovernment and Reduction of Administrative Burden: Applying the ‘Once only’ principle


In a nutshell:

According to the Malmö Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment of 2009, EU Member States will use eGovernment to reduce administrative burden, partly by redesigning administrative processes in order to make them more efficient. The European Commission sees eGovernment as a catalyst in the reduction of administrative burden. The aim can be further facilitated by applying the ‘once only’ principle, which considerably reduces bureaucracy by avoiding a repetition of procedures that citizens and other end-users need to complete.

Under the eGovernment Action Plan 2011-2015, the Commission foresees the conduction of a Study on eGovernment and the Reduction of Administrative Burden, which has a twofold process; firstly to develop a European roadmap for further policy measures, including an outline of possible courses of future actions and developments at both national and EU level and secondly to identify how to make electronic procedures the primary channel for delivering eGovernment services. The roadmap identifies ways to assist Member States to deploy Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), to implement legislation and activate relevant enablers. The study, which will have been completed and be available before the conference, has shown that there are three interlinked strategies commonly deployed in Europe, which minimise unnecessary administrative burdens:

‘Once only’ strategies, which involve eliminating the unnecessary administrative burden that occurs when users are required to supply the same information more than once to public administrations.

Simplification and personalisation strategies, like the point of single contact, which involve making interactions between government and user as simple as possible for users, thereby reducing their administrative burden, and thus becoming more efficient and effective.

Digital by default strategies, according to which, in any interaction between the government and the users of a given service, the user is obliged to use the electronic channel unless there are good countervailing reasons.

The challenge ahead is to utilise some Member States’ best practice cases in the field and create a roadmap for eGovernment services to reduce administrative burden in a cross-border manner. Preliminary evidence shows that most Member States already have some building blocks in place or under implementation, which means that if this is coordinated effectively at European level, the results might materialise faster than initially planned.

The European Commission (DG CONNECT) and organise the conference under the title ‘eGovernment and Reduction of Administrative Burden: Applying the once-only-principle’ on 10 April 2014, to discuss the final findings and recommendations of the Study on eGovernment and the Reduction of Administrative Burden and relevant EU Member States’ experiences on the matter. The purpose of the conference is, firstly, to raise awareness about the potential savings and best practices, and, secondly, to discuss next steps for the implementation of the ‘once only’ principle at both European and national level.

Event Topics & Questions:

  • What kind of processes and procedures can the ‘once only’ principle be further applied to?
  • What are the elements, initiatives and services that can create a broader landscape for ‘once only’ strategies to operate fully and effectively?
  • How can the ‘once only’ principle be applied across Europe and at European level?
  • Which legislative measures would be needed – in view of the current national once-only legislations?
  • What are the best strategies for national governments to successfully adopt the three aforementioned policy options and maximise benefits for both governments and users?
  • What barriers exist to reduce administrative burden both at national and European levels?
  • What are the lessons learned from various Member States concerning the application of strategies that reduce administrative burden?
  • Given the differences between Member States, and especially the legal actions concerning data protection in various countries, what should be the next steps in trying to create strategies with a European scope?
  • What are the quick wins?
  • What are the approaches to measure costs and benefits and is a common approach viable?


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Submission of summaries/PPT slides:

To be considered for a speaker placement for this event, kindly submit a summary of one page and three PPT slides of your intended presentation to with a cc to Regarding your summary, please download and complete the "Proposal form" (use the link) that may be found in the presentation and documents section below. Final presentations should not exceed 6 power point slides and should be concise and factual.

Important Dates:

-         Submission of summaries/ presentations: 21 March 2014

-         Speaker confirmation: 28 March 2014

-         Submission of final presentations: 4 April 2014 

-         Event date: 10 April 2014

-         Publication of workshop proceedings: End of April 2014

Expected Participants:

This event anticipates robust participation by eGovernment experts, practitioners and stakeholders, across the public and private sectors, such as CIOs and other C-suite executives, civil servants, representatives of governmental authorities, academics and IT professionals. The event’s agenda will include presentations from high-level speakers from the EU and Member States administrations, international bodies and the private sector.


Contact email



The Agenda of the day will be available soon

Physical location
European Commission premises
Avenue de Beaulieu 25, Meeting room BU 25/S1, Brussels
Avenue de Beaulieu 25, Meeting room BU 25/S1, Brussels
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