Citizen’s Guide of the Region of Epirus

6 years ago

In public administration the focus is on increasing the customer service and potential savings with customer-focused information and e-Government solutions. The problem was that administrative procedures in the Region of Epirus were not fully described or documented, there was a lack of relevant information, there were many interpretations, weren't not updated. As for public servants they didn’t know what to implement & how to implement. As for citizens & business there were delays and poor service.

The "Citizen's Guide of the Region of Epirus" aims to offer access to a wide range of administrative procedures for citizens, business and public services.

The website is the central channel (point) to access (and deliver) public services in the Region of Epirus, serving as a map of administrative procedures. Regarding the Greek use of the word, politis means citizen, one who belongs to the city.

The Citizen's Guide was launched in February 2014 and in the last 3 years it has been upgraded functionally with operational and technical updates.

At this time, the Citizen’s Guide gathers all relevant information from over 260 administrative procedures. These administrative procedures are updated continuously.

The website was created to be aligned with the best practices to better serve the society, providing information (e.g. the procedure steps, the cost, accompanying documents, the necessary documents, the relevant legislation on which it relies, the contact details, ...) and public services for citizens and businesses in a simpler, clearer and more accessible way.

The Citizen's Guide allows users to navigate via thematic categories and subcategories or via the five General Administrations of the Region of Epirus. Great importance has been given to the organization and presentation of information to be accessed in an easy and simple way by its users.

For citizens as end users, it offers features such as key word and thematic searches, thanks to a search engine. The search results point to procedures and their information. On the homepage, there is an alphabetical index available to access procedures and lists of new, updated and most wanted procedures. Also, it allows users to publically rate, comment and share their suggestions and evaluations about the services and information provided. The Citizen's Guide takes into consideration users’ suggestions for improvement. Furthermore, voice reading of site content (in Greek) is also available.

The website is more accessible and is a fundamental part of the national inclusive e-Government approach, conforming with the WCAG 2.0 AA level and adaptable to different kinds of mobile devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, etc.) allowing citizens to access the services with no time and geographical barriers / restrictions. The support is via phone, live chat, email or skype. The Citizen's Guide shares info on social networks like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. The site content (information and public services) is in Greek and there is Google translate.

The project “Citizen’s Guide of Epirus Region” receives the European Public Sector Award “Best Practice Certificate” of the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) in the category “European, national and regional” in EPSA 2015. 64 projects submitted by 21 European countries and the European institutions received a recognition in 2015 (out of a total of 266 submitted projects form 36 countries and EU institutions).

The project was implemented solely by civil servants of the Region of Epirus and Decentralized Administration of Epirus-West Macedonia, thus representing a model of public sector provision, an option for public sector bodies not wishing to delegate all ICT services.

The budget of the project was zero (0,00€).  The website is based on Free / Open Source software (CMS Joomla 3.6.x), incorporating components, modules and plug-ins, as well as developing custom code. CMS J is under General Public License

According to the statistics of the Citizen’s Guide over 175.000 thousands users have visited the website in the last 3 years.

It intends to significantly contribute to building a better society, providing an effective and simple interface and better services between the Public administration and the citizens.

The concept has clear potential for transferability to other public sector entities in Greece and in other EU Member States.