Citizens and Business Services Improvement by Developing the Commercial Register Information system
Registry Agency

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Currently the existing functionality of the information system of the Commercial Register does not fully comply with the provisions and requirements laid down in the regulations: Commerce Act; Commercial Register Act; Ordinance No. 1 / 14 February 2007 on keeping, storing and accessing the Commercial Register; Tariff of the stamp duty collected by the Registry Agency: Other laws and regulations related to the activities of the Commercial Register. In accordance with Articles 622, 623 and 624 of the Commerce Act and with other provisions giving rise to an obligation for registration of circumstances and/or disclosure of acts related to bankruptcy, the information and the bankruptcy proceedings in the Bankruptcy section of the register need to be supplemented. The absence of complete reference information about bankruptcy proceedings limits the to information of the business and the other stakeholders and increases the time for issuing the necessary references. The references generated by the Commercial Register’s system need to be extended in order to meet the requirements of the Ordinance on keeping, storing and accessing the Commercial Register. Again with a view to complying with the regulations, there is a need to enhance the functionality for data exchange with subscribers of the Commercial Register’s information system by providing an option to subscribe for occurring changes in the register. The statistics kept by the Registry Agency shows significant increase on an annual basis in the number of applications submitted to the Commercial Register in the period 2008-2010, from 319 740 in 2008, to 421 114 in 2009 and 673 586 in 2010. The figures show that the number of applications submitted electronically increases on average by 10% annually over the period while the number of applications submitted over the counter decreases. Considering these trends, there is a need to expand and improve the e-services provided by the Commercial Register and to facilitate users’ access to information and e-services. The progressively increasing volume of work over the 3-year period under review entails the need to take measures to cut down the time for provision of services and to facilitate the work of the registration and clerical staff. A need to decrease the number of issued refusals to enter in the Commercial Register has been identified. According to the statistics kept by the Registry Agency refusals to enter are issued on about 5% on average of the applications to the Commercial Register, amounting to an absolute value of 36 209 in number in 2010. The refusals issued increase the time which the business as a service user spends on administrative activities and also the time which the administration spends to re-examine the cases. Most of the refusals are due to the business’ failure to comply with the legal requirements, whereas another, smaller, portion are due to decisions of the administration of the Commercial Register which are repealed by the court in appeal procedures because of the specifics of the cases and the absence of standardised decisions and practice.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Who proposed the solution: the Registry Agency to the Managing Authority of Operational Programme “Administrative Capacity” with a Grant Application Form. How did the initiative solve the problem: The project activities satisfy the identified needs of the target groups – the improvement and upgrading of the information system of the Commercial Register planned under the project and the system’s adaptation to the requirements of the Bulgarian legislation improved the service quality and contributed to compliance with the Bulgarian legislation. • The improved Bankruptcy section of the information system of the Commercial Register has helped the users of the respective service to obtain accurate, clear and complete information and has reduced the service time for the business and the citizens because the references requested are generated automatically by electronic means. • The developed “Subscription for occurring changes by account and by section” module of the data interface between the information system and its subscribers has improved the quality of the administrative support of the business and the citizens that have subscribed for the respective service. • The English translation of the Commercial Register’s public section interface facilitates its use by the nationals of EU Member States and third countries and makes possible the generation of e-references in English without a need to file an application to receive the requested information on paper carrier. • The designed new functionality for establishment of administrative violations made by the business and other stakeholders and for imposing administrative punishments will improve the control for compliance with deadlines and with the other requirements regarding the Commercial Register laid down in the regulations. • The communication ensured between the systems of the Commercial Register and the Property Register with a view to automatic data exchange between them, as well as the overall optimization of the information system of the Commercial Register with a view to improving the speed, security, fail-safe feature and the other qualitative parameters of the system resulted in reduced service provision time and facilitated work of the registration and clerical staff. • In order to reduce the number of issued refusals to enter and the complaints lodged against decisions of the Registry Agency in court, actions have been taken within the project to improve the quality of the decisions issued by the officials in the Registry Agency and to raise the awareness of the business about the most common errors in applications.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
• The initiative is creative because the new upgraded functionalities of the information system of the Commercial Register are necessary and justifiable with a view to complying with the Bulgarian legislation and facilitating users’ work with the register. • The trainings of the registration and clerical staff on the development and improvements of the information system of the Commercial Register and on working with the guide for issuing refusals to enter will improve their qualification and will contribute to the provision of quality and user-oriented administrative services. • The aim is, by developing and improving the information system of the Commercial Register and by implementing new e-services for the business, to reduce significantly the paper document flow resulting from the business – state administration interaction. In addition, the electronic services for the business and the reduced time for provision of administrative services aimed to improve the conditions for doing business in the country and to encourage economic growth and employment in the long run.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
• With a successful project under Operational Programme Administrative Capacity and a grant contract concluded for the implementation of 7 activities: ACTIVITY 1: Project organisation and management The project organisation and management is provided by staff members of the Registry Agency. After the signature of the project implementation contract, civic contracts are signed with the team members. Detailed descriptions of the obligations and responsibilities (assignments) are elaborated for each position and attached to the contracts. The project team provides ongoing monitoring and control on the implementation of the project activities during the project implementation period. ACTIVITY 2: Analysis of the ongoing situation of the Commercial Register’s information system, the degree of conformity of the proposed functionality with the legislative requirements and preparing terms of reference for developing and optimizing the information system of the Commercial Register; ACTIVITY 3: Improving and upgrading the information system of the Commercial Register and adapting it to the requirements of the Bulgarian legislation. The activity involves implementation of the following sub-activities: 1. Enhancing the functionality of the Bankruptcy section; 2. Enhancing the functionality for data exchange with subscribers of the Commercial Register’s information system; 3. Designing an English-language public interface of the Commercial Register; 4. enhancing the existing functionality by adding an option to the public section for identification of launched transformation proceedings; 5. Designing a new functionality for establishing administrative violations and imposing administrative punishments; 6. Ensuring connectivity and automatic data exchange between the information systems of the Commercial Register and the Property Register; 7. Designing new references and filters: Design and implement all currently unavailable references required by the regulations and references about refusals issued by the Registry Agency and court acts repealing refusals; 8. Optimizing the quality parameters of the Commercial Register’s information system; 9. “Delivery, configuring, installation and testing of servers for the Commercial Register’s information system”. This sub-activity envisages delivery, configuring, installation and testing of 8 servers. The new servers will add to the existing configuration, distributing and lowering the load and minimizing the risk of collapse or disturbance of the normal operation of the system; 10. Developing the content of a brochure on the operation of the Commercial Register’s information system; 11. Organising training for administrators of the Commercial Register’s information system – on-site training will be provided by the Registry Agency to the administrators supporting the information system of the Commercial Register. ACTIVITY 4: Designing a guide for issuing refusals to enter in the Commercial Register – the guide aims to improve the quality of administrative support of citizens and of the business by enhancing the competence of the registration staff. The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of refusals issued for immaterial reasons and the number of appeals lodged against the decisions. ACTIVITY 5 and ACTIVITY 6: “Ensuring information, publicity and logistics during trainings to work with the new functionality of the Commercial Register’s information system and for use of the designed guide for issuing refusals to enter”; This activity includes several sub-activities: • Preparing training programmes; • Designing training materials and training plans; • Providing general two-day trainings to work with the new functionality of the Commercial Register’s information system for 2 groups of clerical staff and 3 groups of registration staff (RS); • Providing two-day trainings to work with the guide for issuing refusals to enter; • Information about the objectives pursued by the project will be provided to all stakeholders and to the general public within the information and publicity activity. This activity will present the interim and final outcomes of the project. Information about the financial contribution of the EU to the project implementation and about the role of ESF and OPAC in improving the quality of service for the citizens and the business and about e-service development will be disseminated within the activity. ACTIVITY 7: Project audit – this activity is necessary in order to ensure the lawful and proper spending of the funds in compliance with the requirements of ESF, OPAC and the Bulgarian legislation.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Interested stakeholders involved in the implementation include: The business The business is the main user of the services provided by the Registry Agency (RA). The Commercial Register (CR) kept and administered by RA is one of the main tools for entry, storage, processing and provision of up-to-date information about the Bulgarian traders and the branches of foreign traders. All registrable acts relating to the traders and the branches of foreign traders are stored in the Commercial Register and on their basis references are made, certificates are issued and transcripts are made. According to the Commercial Register Act every trader is obligated to request entry into CR. The Commercial Register is public and this enhances the security of business transactions. The staff of the Registry Agency – the registration and clerical staff responsible for keeping the Commercial Register The registration and clerical staff are employees of the Registry Agency who have primary responsibility for keeping the Commercial Register on an ongoing basis. The registration staff (RS) has the following functions and responsibilities in the Commercial Register keeping process: examine the applications for entry of traders, branches, foreign traders and the related circumstances; examine the entry applications of traders, branches of foreign traders and related circumstances; examine the legality of the entry of traders and related circumstances; make other verifications and exercise control of the content and legality of the submitted documents. The registration staff are members of the RD Directorate which is part of the specialized administration of RA. Currently the total number of the staff in the directorate is 85 persons; 12 other registration staff members are to be appointed in the next months. The clerical staff has the following functions in the Commercial Register keeping process: accept and enter in the information system of CR the applications for entry, deletion and disclosures in CR, for reservation of company names; make references and issue certificates for the circumstances entered and the acts disclosed in CR; scan files of re-registered companies, sign documents with electronic signature, etc. The clerical staff are members of Directorate General “Registers” which is part of the specialized administration of RA. The directorate general has 12 regional directorates comprising registry services and registration offices staffed with clerical staff.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The project costs amount to BGN 1 152 719,94, which have been paid by the Registry Agency to each one of the contractors under the contracts concluded pursuant to the Public Procurement Act. The amount is to be verified by the Managing Authority of Operational Programme “Administrative Capacity”, Ministry of Finance.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The project activities satisfied the identified needs of the target groups; the improvement and upgrading of the Commercial Register’s information system and its adaptation to the requirements of the Bulgarian legislation improved the quality of services and contributed to compliance with the Bulgarian legislation. The improved Bankruptcy section of the Commercial Register’s information system has helped the users of the respective service to obtain accurate, clear and complete information and has reduced the service time for the business and the citizens because the references requested are generated automatically by electronic means. The developed “Subscription for occurring changes by account and by section” module of the data interface between the information system and its subscribers has improved the quality of the administrative support of the business and the citizens that have subscribed for the respective service. The English translation of the Commercial Register’s public section interface facilitates its use by the nationals of EU Member States and third countries and makes possible the generation of e-references in English without a need to file an application to receive the requested information on paper carrier. The designed new functionality for establishment of administrative violations made by the business and other stakeholders and for imposing administrative punishments will improve the control for compliance with deadlines and with the other requirements regarding the Commercial Register laid down in the regulations. The communication ensured between the systems of the Commercial Register and the Property Register with a view to automatic data exchange between them, as well as the overall optimization of the information system of the Commercial Register with a view to improving the speed, security, fail-safe feature and the other qualitative parameters of the system resulted in reduced service provision time and facilitated work of the registration and clerical staff. In order to reduce the number of issued refusals to enter and the complaints lodged against decisions of the Registry Agency in court, actions have been taken within the project to improve the quality of the decisions issued by the officials in the Registry Agency and to raise the awareness of the business about the most common errors made when filing applications.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
On one part, the project implementation and progress is strictly monitored by the Beneficiary (the Registry Agency) through the project management team and the financial controller in the Registry Agency. The Managing Authority of Operational Programme “Administrative Capacity” examines and controls the implementation of all project activities and verifies the payments made under the project, accordingly.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main obstacles are connected with the procedures under the Public Procurement Act and are due mainly to the time limits set for the organisation of the procedures and with the possible appeal which could delay the project implementation.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The project activities satisfied the identified needs of the target groups; the improvement and upgrading of the Commercial Register’s information system and its adaptation to the requirements of the Bulgarian legislation improved the quality of services and contributed to compliance with the Bulgarian legislation. The improved Bankruptcy section of the Commercial Register’s information system has helped the users of the respective service to obtain accurate, clear and complete information and has reduced the service time for the business and the citizens because the references requested are generated automatically by electronic means. The developed “Subscription for occurring changes by account and by section” module of the data interface between the information system and its subscribers has improved the quality of the administrative support of the business and the citizens that have subscribed for the respective service. The English translation of the Commercial Register’s public section interface facilitates its use by the nationals of EU Member States and third countries and makes possible the generation of e-references in English without a need to file an application to receive the requested information on paper carrier. The designed new functionality for establishment of administrative violations made by the business and other stakeholders and for imposing administrative punishments will improve the control for compliance with deadlines and with the other requirements regarding the Commercial Register laid down in the regulations. The communication ensured between the systems of the Commercial Register and the Property Register with a view to automatic data exchange between them, as well as the overall optimization of the information system of the Commercial Register with a view to improving the speed, security, fail-safe feature and the other qualitative parameters of the system resulted in reduced service provision time and facilitated work of the registration and clerical staff. With a view to reducing the number of issued refusals to enter and of the complaints lodged against the Registry Agency, actions to improve the quality of the decisions taken by the officials in the Registry Agency and to raise the awareness of the business about the common errors in filing applications have been taken.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The initiative could be sustained through the participation of state institutions in different operational programmes enabling the implementation of different projects in the public sphere.

 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)
The beneficiaries should apply under more operational programmes which enable the design and implementation of different initiatives in the field of public administration.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Registry Agency
Institution Type:   Public Agency  
Contact Person:   Ventzi Spirdonov
Title:   Executive Director  
Telephone/ Fax:   +35929486181/+35929486166
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   office@registryagency.bg  
Address:   Geo Milev quarter, 20 Elisaveta Bagriana st
Postal Code:   1111
City:   Sofia
State/Province:   Sofia
Country:  

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