Electronic Application System (EAS) developement
Rural Support Service

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Before developing Electronic Application System (EAS) (https://eps.lad.gov.lv) to receive different EU and state support for Latvian farmers, fishermen and rural entrepreneurs, all application forms needed to be completed on paper. Paper forms and applications allow lot of mistakes and slow down the decision making process from Rural Support Service (RSS). Also to submit paper application forms need extra time and finance resources to deliver them to RSS Client centers and wait in line to apply them. Important for developing rural areas and ensuring traditional way of life in Latvia countryside is that support from EU and state is received fully, minimize chance to make mistakes in application process which can provide to a result that support payments are not received or not received in full amount. To make application process more available for RSS clients, RSS developed Electronic Application System. It needed to be easy to use and reachable to all groups of rural community – farmers, fishermen’s, rural entrepreneurs, people who live and work in rural areas, students, youngsters - future farmers and other groups.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
In last 10 years in the world and also in Latvia availability and usability of internet and information technologies is developing very fast and that enlarges count of channels to provide state services to residents. Use of these technologies makes access to information more available and communication faster. Rural Support Service (RSS) developed Electronic Application System (EAS) to ease communication and applying process to receive European Union support for farmers, fishermen, rural entrepreneurs, accelerate decision making process, reduce errors in applying process and to improve access to people who live in rural areas far from main cities and RSS client centers. EAS started as system for applying for direct payments to help to farmers provide agricultural land in good condition in Latvia and develop business in rural area. From that time system is increase with more modules, for example EU program to provide healthy food - fruits, vegetables and milk to schools, seasonal workers, diesel fuel for farmers etc.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
In 2007 when system was developed, there were not many e-services used in Latvia, all application forms was filled and applied in paper in client centers of different state instances. Paper format filling process allows making a lot of mistakes which can cause very serious problem - to delay or not receiving different kind of support at all. Considering development of internet access and growing usability of information technologies, there was opportunity to make complex system easy to use and continue to develop it. Rural Support Service (RSS) developed Electronic Application System (EAS). In EAS is embed variety of data test and warning mechanisms, they cut the errors and simplify filling process of electronic forms for farmers and rural inhabitants. System is made web based, easy to use for all population groups and they are not needed specific prior knowledge of information technology. Users can register into the system using special username and password or E-signature or by using internet bank account.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
EAS was developed gradually. Strategy was to make it web-based – to be easy at use, not requiring additional resources only computer with web browser and internet connection. Programming started in 2007 and first modules were area payment application and field border clarification in maps. In 2010 was added “Diesel fuel for farmers”, in 2012 “School fruits and vegetables” and “School milk”, in 2013 “Agricultural Data Centre e-application”, “State Technical Supervision Agency e-application”, in 2014 “Seasonal farmer module”, “Reports on fishing licenses” and others. The users of EAS can authorize into the system using unique username and password or with E-signature and Bank authorisation. For easy to use system there are added video guides and manuals how to use system. RSS plans to improve system with more modules and mobile application in future as well.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Initiative of developing Electronic Application System (EAS) came from Rural Support Service (RSS) of Latvia to ease communication with clients and to coordinate different kind of payments for agriculture, fisheries, forestry. After the first version came out and increased the number of system users, RSS was making meetings with clients – public organizations of farmers in Latvia, discuss with them about future development, ideas of adding new modules and system improvements. Non-governmental organizations, like Farmers Federation, Agricultural Organizations Cooperation Council, etc., submitted ideas how to improve usability, were involved in usability testing and also submitted ideas of new modules. It is possible to express all ideas, opinion and suggestions how to improve the system also in special Feedback Form available on web site: https://eps.lad.gov.lv/login
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Electronic Application System was developed by RSS in cooperation with Programmers Company and NGO’s. RSS workers defined the requirements and tested system, Programmers Company developed system technically. Non-governmental organizations, like Farmers Federation, Agricultural Organizations Cooperation Council, assisted with ideas of development, testing and suggestions of improvement of easy to use. The development and improvement of the system is financed from state and European Union budget.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Grooving count of Electronic Application System (EAS) users proves that this initiative is successful (1,064 users in 2008 and 21,500 in 2014). RSS received state prize “Platinum mouse” as best e-service provided by state institution in Latvia. EAS module “School fruits and vegetables” is used by 780 schools and “School milk” – by 917 schools. More than 90% schools in Latvia providing children with healthy food under the program. EAS module "Diesel fuel for farmers" is very important module, because by government rule, fuel on preferential terms for farmers can be accounted only by records in EAS. Module "Seasonal farmer module" ensures seasonal workers in rural areas to register their incomes legally in seasonal works and get minimal social guaranties in future. That gives straight impact to economic and social area not only in rural areas of Latvia but to state as holistically.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Project management was organized by Rural Support Service (RSS). In meetings with non-governmental organizations RSS informed about progress, issues affecting clients and also listen to farmers organizations suggestions of improvement of Electronic Application System (EAS). In this process non-governmental organizations were asked to give their views how to make system more user-friendly for farmers and rural inhabitants. Every year for the clients of RSS it is possible to participate in special customer satisfaction survey developed by RSS and express their attitude, level of satisfaction with services. It is much targeted system how to monitor and evaluate the system.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main problem was the internet access and people weak knowledge of information technologies in rural areas. 3G access coverage in all territory of Latvia started to evolve in 2011 (4G in 2013), before there was DSL and optic internet but only in cities. Internet access in all rural areas of Latvia uncounted Electronic Application System (EAS) users and improved their knowledge of usage of internet and information technologies. Lot of rural inhabitants didn’t use EAS before because of their weak information technologies knowledge. This problem was solved with video guides, demo version and Consultant module, that allows authorized person to submit applications in EAS in place of client.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Number of Electronic Application System (EAS) users has grown and in 2014 about 23% of all applicants for agricultural land in good condition apply forms in EAS. In 2007 there were only 1,064 system users which are grown to 21,500 in 2014. EAS module “School fruits and vegetables” is used by 780 schools in which fruits and vegetables in winter period can get 157 531 pupils and module “School milk” uses 917 schools and milk in their diet can use 195,930 children. Module of EAS "Diesel fuel for farmers" is used by 18,000 farmers to receive discounts for diesel fuel used in agricultural work. The latest module "Seasonal farmer module" helps rural inhabitants to register legal incomes in seasonal works and get minimal social guaranties. System implementation has raised usage and knowledge of information technologies in rural areas and it’s opened to evolve and extend with new modules for farmers, rural entrepreneurs and rural inhabitants.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Electronic Application System (EAS) is developing every year with new modules part of which ware suggested by farmers organizations and NGO’s. For example seasonal workers module was suggested by farmer’s organizations. Development of EAS is continuing and next year is planned to add “Fertilizers plan” module to help farmers with follow requirements of their agricultural land fertilization. EAS at start was created only for RSS services, but developed and are used by other institutions of Ministry of Agriculture, like Agricultural Data Centre and State Technical Supervision Agency.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
In process of developing EAS, RSS and non-governmental organizations come to conclusions that to make user-friendly but complicated system, it needs to be developed step-by-step. Large role in the course of development and implementation should be given to activities how to inform and educate people about the system performance and capacity. This was solved by creating training materials on paper and in electronic environment - were created videos with different instructions for use of the system. These videos can be viewed at: • http://www.lad.gov.lv/lv/e-pieteiksanas-sistema-eps-1/e-pieteiksanas-sistema-eps/ (description of EAS in Latvian) • http://eps.lad.gov.lv:9110/login (log in to EAS, demo version in Latvian) • http://www.lad.gov.lv/lv/e-pieteiksanas-sistema-eps-1/video-instrukcijas/ (video instructions how to use different modules of EAS, in Latvian)

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Rural Support Service
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Anna Vītola-Helviga
Title:   RSS Director  
Telephone/ Fax:   +371 67095000 / 67027120
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   lad@lad.gov.lv  
Address:   Republikas laukums 2 (Republikas squere 2)
Postal Code:   LV-1981
City:   Riga
State/Province:   Latvia
Country:  

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