Barcelona (ACN).- Last Autumn, the Catalan Government launched a plan to foster one-stop offices and rationalise bureaucratic procedures at local, Catalan and Spanish level. The plan aims to facilitate companies running their business in Catalonia by simplifying procedures and saving time and money. On Tuesday, the Catalan Government presented the first results of this plan, which should be achieved by 2014. Catalonia’s Single Window system for Businesses has already eliminated 48 procedures and has simplified 119 others in its first nine months in place, between October 2011 and June 2012. The figures exceed initial forecasts. It is expected that by 2014, when companies will be able to make all their administrative procedures related to any government level or public body through a single contact point, 20% of the current procedures will be eliminated and 68% will be simplified. This will save €640 million for companies operating in Catalonia, according to the Catalan Government. Furthermore, once fully in place, 90% of the procedures will be made via the Internet.
In order to foster economic activity, the Catalan Government is implementing a plan to reduce and simplify the red tape companies have to get through. The plan has two main objectives. Firstly to group all the public body windows in a single contact point system. This way companies will not have to go to different institutions and offices to look for certificates or to hand in forms. When the Single Window system is in place, companies will be able to deal with all their bureaucracy in a single office. In addition, it will be possible to do 90% of the procedures via the Internet. Secondly, the plan aims to eliminate superfluous bureaucratic steps and to simplify most of the others. The global objective is to make things easier for companies, in order to facilitate the kick off of new businesses, the arrival of foreign companies, and the running of the companies already operating in Catalonia. The plan aims to save time and money.
The first phase of the Single Window plan has exceeded initial forecasts. Between October 2011 and June 2012, it was expected that 37 procedures would have been eliminated and 108 others would be improved. However, by last June, 48 procedures had already been eliminated (30% more than initial calculations) and 119 more had been simplified (10% more than expected). Furthermore the Single Window network, called ‘Oficina de Gestió Empresarial’ (Business Management Office, in English), made it possible to make 63 new procedures, related to tourism, health, transport, artisanship, sport professionals or taxation from this one-stop contact point.
Currently, companies operating in Catalonia can already make 196 procedures out of the 600 ones existing in any of the 22 branches of the Oficina de Gestió Empresarial network (OGE). The new system has been created to avoid making companies go to the town hall offices, the Catalan Government’s, the Spanish Ministry’s, and independent public agencies to fulfil the required administrative procedures. In two years’ time, it is expected that the procedures will be reduced and simplified, and that all of them will be able to be made in any of the OGE branches.
Additionally, technological tools are currently being developed to offer information and management services through the Internet. In fact, it is expected that once completed, 90% of the procedures will be able to be filed through the Internet.