Progetto incontr@ciriè
Comune di Ciriè

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The Institution “Comune di Ciriè”, which is the local government of the Ciriè municipality, by law has to provide a set of administrative services on various subjects, such as demographic, technical, education, non-profit, etc. to provide certificates, permissions, notifications, and so on. All these service are used daily by citizens, professionals, associations, enterprises for many reasons, so the request of a good quality service is really widespread. The problem being addressed by the Initiative arose when the Institution realized that those who used the Administration services pointed out some issues, due to visible lacks in the services provided, and also due to problems in the internal organizational and process management. Front Office activities were fragmented, spread among different offices and locations, performed applying non-uniform rules and using inhomogeneous internal processes. The Back Office too presented some issues: there was not enough flexibility, people in the staff were not interchangeable, there were problems of internal communication and coordination. All those issues resulted in an inadequate quality of the services provided to final users. Other problems were: - the absence of a common standard adopted to perform the internal processes needed to accomplish each type of procedure - the absence of a standard structure for the document templates used to communicate with citizens - information flow to citizens was poor and not enough clear, and this caused the need for people to go to the physical desk even for minor questions Those problems caused also a lack of transparency and traceability. Finally, the Administration didn’t provide any procedure to collect and manage comments, proposals and complaints by users.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The initiative is the solution provided by “Comune di Ciriè” to answer the issues previously described. It was built keeping in mind the actual needs of all the people that every day access the services provided by the Institution (citizens, professionals, associations, enterprises,…). The initiative is very innovative and goes in the direction of simplification and transparency, and responds to the need of evolution and change, creating a new communication approach between public services and citizens, bringing a strong sign of the centrality of citizens in the services provided by “Comune di Ciriè”. The solution, called “incontr@ciriè” (which means “meet Ciriè”), consists in an innovative Front Office, which provides all the available administrative services through both an online web portal, called “online unified citizen desk”, and a physical multifunctional citizen desk. The Front Office is run by a dedicated staff, composed by people with strong interpersonal skills and interchangeable expertise, with competencies on all the services provided by the Administration. Thanks to this approach people can find all the information and services they need through a single point of access, managed by skilled people, and this is a clear advantage if compared to the previous situation. The “online citizen desk” is always open (24/7), allows people to send an online request to “open a new proceeding”, choosing among all the available services (more than 250), and includes clear, detailed and self-explaining document templates, prepared and managed directly by the Administration staff. An important component of the solution is the “Digital Platform of Shared Knowledge”, a “library” directly created and kept updated by the Administration staff, which describes all the provided services and is available for both the Administration’s personnel and for all the external stakeholders (citizens, professionals, associations, enterprises) through the “online unified citizen desk”. The solution includes also an Help Desk run by the Administration staff, which supports people by telephone and e-mail, providing further information about all the procedures performed by the Institution. Thanks to this solution all the services provided by the Administration are accessible to those who have problems to go to the physical desk, due to difficulties to move (this issue is strongly felt in the area of Ciriè municipality, which offers a poor public transport system), or because they live outside Ciriè, or because they cannot leave their home/workplace during the opening time of the municipal offices.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The Institution has been able to create a complete online citizen desk, which covers all the services provided by the Administration: more than 250 procedures are available, related to demographic, technical, education, non-profit, etc. All the procedures adopt the same work flow and use standardized document templates. This approach ensures transparency, traceability and understandability to citizens: it’s easy to submit new requests and it’s easy to verify the status of each proceeding thanks to an online personal dashboard. Since everything is online, people don’t need to go to the physical municipal offices, except in rare cases, so now all the offices are open to public only by appointment, to deal with very specific issues. A new dedicated physical desk, run by skilled operators, was open to provide effective consultancy services to give support on all the procedures. The adoption of online services allowed to work with a full digital document archive: this solution offers significant savings in time and resources, making easier to manage, share, archive, find contents; it also ensures full compliance to existing Italian regulations on archival and long term preservation.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The most important and successful aspect in the project strategy has been the choice to implement the project as an internal initiative, directly owned and managed by the Administration personnel. This choice has been made both for economic reasons and (mostly) to involve all the Administration staff on the project objectives, aiming to generate a common and shared awareness among all the participants, promoting a cultural change inside the Institution, investing on internal resources and their professional growth. The implementation phases were: (1) analysis of the existing procedures, (2) preparation of new document templates and (3) creation of the “Digital Platform of Shared Knowledge”. All these steps have been managed by an internal "analysis group", whose members were first of all trained on the initiative objectives, and were chosen among employees coming from all the involved municipal services. The analysis group was then extended to include all the persons that were identified as the new Front Office operators. The members of this group were selected by volunteering, keeping in mind their interpersonal skills and personal attitudes. The whole project, which lasted about 3 years, was promoted as a cross-sectorial target for all the Institution: the allocation of the compensation incentives for all the staff was based on the initiative objectives, to encourage and promote the contribution, direct or indirect, by all the Administration personnel. Another important element in the project strategy was to focus on the Front Office “physical desk”: it was designed on the basis of accessibility and acceptance criteria (choice of the location, use of clear and simple furnishings, structure of the front desk, choice of the instrumentation, etc.). Last but not least, particular attention was dedicated to the IT infrastructure (proprietary fiber optic network, hardware and software – through a document and process management platform).

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Many inputs came from users: citizens, professionals and enterprises, as well as those organizations which represent them on the territory (trade associations, citizens associations, social welfare services, non-profit organizations, etc.). The analysis of their needs and their feedbacks on the actual experience allowed the Institution to clearly identify the most important objectives: optimize procedures, reduce time and costs, digitalize document management, reduce disservices and inefficiencies due to fragmentation in information and in service management, avoid citizens wandering back and forth from an office to another. Another important request was to reduce/eliminate the cases that require to go to the physical desk, through the adoption of innovative and easy tools that could allow citizens to communicate with the Administration via electronic channels. Citizens wanted to find online: - an archive to get information about all provided services - a way to submit requests for new proceedings - a tool to get information about the status of open proceedings The “analysis group” then had to translate all these requirements to build the solution, through a continuous involvement of all the Administration offices and personnel.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The project was funded using financial resources entirely allocated by the Administration. The costs on hardware, software, and professional services directly related to the implementation of the online citizen desk amounted to about € 150,000. The costs related to the preparation of the “physical multifunctional desk” (rooms, furnishings, equipment,..) amounted to about € 200,000. The involved staff performed most of the project activities during normal working hours, with an estimate overall cost of about 2 man-years FTE. The available budget to cover overtime costs was set at € 10,000.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1) All the procedures are handled by the Back Office through standardized work flows and document templates; thus everything is easily traceable and provides transparency to the users, both with respect of the expected times and of the impartiality in the proceedings management. The use of the same work flow for all the proceedings allows great savings: *) cost savings, because it’s not required to implement very specific workflows, one for each procedure: since there’re more than 250 procedures, it’s clear how huge are the benefits. *) time savings: having one single workflow allows to minimize the resources needed to keep it updated (on the contrary: using customized workflows, one for each procedure, brings to a “never ending project”, since it’s highly likely to have to periodically reengineer all of them). 2) The projects helps the cultural and professional growth of the entire staff, which is more focused on simplification and transparency, shaping services to meet the needs and preferences of the final users (citizens, professionals, associations, enterprises, etc.). 3) The initiative provides a new way to interact with users, through both a “unified multifunctional physical desk” (open 6 days a week thanks to the interchangeability of operators), and a complete “online citizen desk” which allows users to submit new requests and access the “electronic folder” of their proceeding (that includes all the documents involved in the process), ensuring high transparency on the acts released by the Institution. 4) The digital management of proceedings and documents facilitates information sharing and retrieval, offers a better organization of the archive, and allows digital long term preservation. It’s also essential to manage the “Digital Platform of Shared Knowledge”, all the document templates, the proceedings instructions. The underlying document management platform, based on Siav’s Archiflow (an ECM application included in the Gartner’s ECM Magic Quadrant since 2010, developed by an Italian software house) makes all these contents available to both internal operators and external users through the Institution web portal. 5) The intensive and extensive use of IT tools brought by this project allows the entire Institution to conform to the existing Italian regulations about “digital administration”, which is working to push all the public services to “go digital”. From this point of view the entire “incontr@ciriè” project is extremely relevant, since the transition to digital is still very limited in the Italian public administration, even for larger Organizations.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Activities related to the project lasted three years (2008 - 2010), and ended with the opening of the new multifunctional citizen desk called “incontr@ciriè”. The launch took place March 1, 2011, with the inauguration of the new Front Office: that day the “citizen desk” went online on the Administration’s web portal, the new unified multifunctional physical desk opened in a dedicated location, while all the other municipal offices became accessible to public only by appointment. All the phases of the project were carefully planned, step by step for each activity, and placed in a detailed time schedule. The coordinators of the "analysis group" continuously tracked the progress of project activities to monitor the respect of planned timing, and organized periodical meetings (every six months) to inform all the Administration staff on the work progress. To underline the strong commitment on the project objectives of the Institution top managers and political leaders, all the top administrative managers participated to each meeting.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main problems the Institution met were: *) Internal resistance to change. To solve this problem the Administration decided to involve the whole staff in the development of the initiative since “day one”, sharing project objectives with all the personnel, through a continuous flow of internal communication on the activities progress. This involvement was also supported by the commitment of the cross-sectorial “analysis group”. *) Human resources: the project was for the most part implemented during normal working hours, which implied subtracting people from their ordinary activities. To address this need each Administration office had to optimize its internal organization and processes, to free up the resources required to work on the project. This need encouraged the development of attitudes such as flexibility, interchangeability, the and the capability to optimize human resources activities with no change on the quality of services provided. *) Financial resources. To deal with this problem the Administration opened a bank loan and spread the costs over several years. *) Complexity of the Italian legislation, often unclear and restrictive. (eg. lacks in the national regulations, that didn’t allow to pay "stamp duty" through online services; lack of official solutions for online user identification, etc.). This has resulted in a number of obstacles in the accomplishment of the project, and leaves room for further improvements in the future (see question n.12). *) Lack of similar experiences to refer to. The initiative was really innovative in the Italian panorama, so the Administration had to deal with some issues that no other public organization had faced before.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The key benefits are: *) streamlining, simplification and optimization of internal procedures *) increased citizen-oriented vision, with all the staff focused on users’ needs, on openness, on transparency. The Administration provides a continuous monitoring on the provided proceedings, and publishes an annual report on the overall performances *) significant increase of services availability, especially thanks to the “online citizen desk” provided by the Institution web portal, open 24/7. The success of the initiative is confirmed by the statistics on the use of the online citizen desk: more than 50% of the accesses occur outside the opening hours of municipal offices. *) unified Front Office, to provide users with a single point of access to all the municipal services, run by experienced operators, also available from home and/or workplace via web portal and e-mail, characterized by high flexibility and multi-functionality. *) the solution allows to easily add new procedures, thanks to the adoption of a common standard for document templates, work flows, internal organization. This approach, together with the use of the “Digital Platform of Shared Knowledge” that explains in detail every single aspect of the solution, makes it very easy to train new operators. As a direct proof of this approach, the Institution has yet added more than 50 new procedures to the initial ones, and 30 procedures have been totally revised. Also, it’s possible to activate “temporary” procedures which last just few week or months. The usefulness of the “Digital Platform of Shared Knowledge”, which contains more than 3,000 document templates, has been tested on new operators trained after the opening of the Initiative: in less than a month they have been able to become completely autonomous. *) transition to digital services, through digital management of contents, data, information, processes. The solution is based on an Enterprise Content Management platform which offers powerful capabilities to manage documents and processes, includes enhanced archival features (expressly designed to meet public services’ needs), and is continuously enriched with new features based on the experience collected “on the field”. The success of the initiative was also measured by the increasing number of proceedings managed by the online citizen desk: - 2011: 5080 - 2012: 5072 - 2013: 5215 - 2014 (from January to October): 5172 To measure the quality of the Initiative, the Institution started a project in collaboration with “Politecnico di Torino” (University of Turin): thanks to this project it was possible to get an evaluation of the Initiative by external people, and to collect users feedbacks through a survey provided by the University, which highlighted the strengths of the “citizen desk” and the opportunities for further improvements (most of which, however, require changes in the Italian laws).

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The initiative is certainly sustainable and replicable on other public services, not only in Italy, since it responds to universal needs; the logic and the requirements on which the project is based are in fact common to many public services, not only at a local level but also beyond. That’s why the project was included in 2013 in the list of “applications suitable for reuse” managed by the “Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale” (AGID, that is “Agency for Digital Italy”, the national authority which defines regulations and paths to lead Italian public services to “go digital”). The inclusion in this list (called “catalogo nazionale del riuso”, “national catalog of reuse“) certifies that AGID considers the project a model that can be replicated in any other public service in Italy. In case of replication, the economic sustainability of the project is made easier by its inclusion in the “catalogo nazionale del riuso” (which allows cost savings), and by the opportunity to take advantage of all the achievements derived by an already ​​active and consolidated solution, used and fine-tuned for over three years by “Comune di Ciriè”. Another important point which encourages the replication of the initiative among all local governments in Italy is that the library including all the (250) standardized procedures implemented for this project, and all the related document templates, is “ready to use”, since the services provided by “Comune di Ciriè” are by law the same for all the municipal Administrations in Italy. It should be noted that the project, first in Italy, is going to be extended in the coming months to allow online payments by users. This is an experimental feature that will be available thanks to an agreement signed between “Comune di Ciriè” and the “Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale”, and it will make possible for any citizen to use e-commerce to pay all the services provided by the Administration. Thanks to this feature the Administration will receive an “immediate acknowledgement” of user payment and will be able to start the required proceeding at the same time.

 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)
A project like this can reach its objectives only if it pays particular attention to the wider involvement of the entire staff: collaboration among people, sharing of information, professional and cultural growth are essential elements to succeed. A project like this requires also a strong commitment by the political leaders: their role is fundamental to take under control any hostile attitude by Administration’s managers, that may occur even after the inauguration of the initiative: the possible behavior may be a strong tendency to restore the previous situation, since it’s better known and therefore perceived as more “comfortable”. Starting from these considerations, the Administration decided to organize periodical meetings with all the staff, every 6 months. The goal of those meetings was to inform about the progress of the activities, and also underline and confirm the strong commitment of the Administration to successfully complete the project. Very effective was also the external communication, broadcasted through many different channels, and the continuous collaboration with all the internal stakeholders. Another effective success factor has been the involvement and the active participation to the project of the entire staff, especially of the Front Office operators, whose personal attitudes have been very helpful to reach the project objectives, in particular thanks to: their ability to keep a good relationship both with colleagues from other offices and with external users; a strong attitude to team working; the flexibility to adapt to news and changes (in fact it’s important to underline that this project is not “static”, nor “closed”; on the contrary it’s an initiative in constant evolution, with many objectives achieved, but also with many other still to accomplish, and it’s always open to accept new ideas and add new, different, features).

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Comune di Ciriè
Institution Type:   Other  
Contact Person:   Marina Macario
Title:   Signora  
Telephone/ Fax:   00390119218151
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   marina.macario@comune.cirie.to.it  
Address:   Via A. Doria 14/7
Postal Code:   10073
City:   Ciriè
State/Province:   TO
Country:  

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