«Moscow’s public services: benefit, care, smile!»
Government of Moscow

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Just a few years ago the only way for a Moscow resident to receive government services was to go in-person to the relevant government agency. For instance, to obtain documents or certificates, Moscow residents had to visit various agencies in different parts of the city, with inconvenient operating hours, and wait in line for hours. In order to submit documents to receive a single service, a person had to ask to be excused from work and visit three or four agencies in different districts of Moscow. The procedures were lengthy and time-consuming. All that was further complicated by the human factor, i.e. unwelcoming and unprofessional staff tasked with providing these services. Many people were reluctant to seek government services due to the inconvenient, unclear procedures, long lines and stress involved. In addition, people with reduced mobility (the disabled, young mothers with strollers, the elderly) were often unable to request documents they needed because the reception offices did not meet accessibility requirements.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Moscow moved in two directions to build a new system for providing government services: • streamlining the provision of government service in the traditional in-person format by creating a city-wide network of government service centres; • moving government services online so that they can be accessed through a website, with a mobile app to be developed in the future. Government service centres offer a new type of interaction between the government and the people. It removes administrative barriers by bringing together within a single facility all the key services people may need, reducing the time it takes to obtain documents and enhancing the transparency of government services. Moscow residents can now obtain 98 percent of government services in a one stop shop setting regardless of their registered address (except for migration services, which can only be provided at one’s place of permanent residence). Government services can also be obtained without leaving the apartment using mos.ru, the official website of the Moscow Mayor’s office. All services are grouped into sections (housing, medicine, children and education, transport, etc.), and users can filter government services depending on their specific real-life situations. The website provides extensive information about the provision of government services, application status tracking and an option to pay duties, fines and other fees. E-government services were designed with a multichannel approach to better suit the needs of various user groups: services are available through the government services website, a mobile app or terminals at the government service centres.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
This project greatly improved accessibility of government services in Moscow. The underlying strategy is based on a comprehensive approach: • to make services more accessible and user-friendly; • to raise awareness about services; • to provide assistance in obtaining services from federal government agencies. 1. In-person government services An efficient network of user-friendly government service centres was created. Moscow counts 127 offices across all city districts close to key transport routes. Moscow residents can use these centres to obtain the most sought-after government services. Moscow is the only city in the world where government service centres are open seven days a week from 8 am to 8 pm. With a total of more than 6,000 windows and over 7,000 employees, government service centres are used by some 70,000 people every day. The average waiting time per customer is just three minutes, which makes Moscow a world leader in government service centre waiting times. 2. Online services So far, most government services are available online. In fact, 97 percent of all government services that could be moved online are already available on the government services website. Whether a service will be provided offline or online or in both formats is decided on a case-by-case basis: • A service may be provided both offline and online, if this enhances its accessibility. For example, elderly and low-income residents may lack computer access or skills and prefer to obtain services in person. • A service may be available online only. Business-related government services are the first to be moved online (such as construction permits, passenger transit permits, etc.), which is aimed at preventing corruption in the course of their provision. Another example are services for targeted audiences with enhanced computer skills (for example, youth) who prefer receiving services online. The government services website can be used to track application status. Notifications on the key stages in application processing and additional actions that may be required (document submission, fee payment, etc.) are displayed in the user account. Services that have been moved online are still available to those who lack computer skills or simply do not have a computer at home. For this purpose, every government service centre has been equipped with connected terminals and has consultants who are ready to teach customers to submit online applications and requests. 3. Raising awareness of services Quite often city residents do not know what government services they need to resolve a specific issue and how these services can be obtained. This information is available: • on the website of Moscow Mayor’s office mos.ru in the Services section, which contains guidelines for more than 300 real-life situations when government services may be needed; • via a single hotline operated by Moscow government service centres. 4. The project is also intended to help people obtain services that fall within the competence of federal government agencies. For example, car registration requires submission of an application to the police department in person. In this case, mos.ru can be used to schedule an appointment and save time by not having to wait in line.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
1. Extraterritorial status. Unlike the traditional approach whereby government services are provided at place of residence, in this project service centres operate like bank branches or chain stores, offering a standard selection of services across the network. 2. Offering customer friendly hours to the maximum possible extent: seven days a week from 8 am to 8 pm. Moscow is the only city in the world where government service centres operate this way. 3. A plethora of government agencies are represented within a single facility, making it possible for them to operate as one stop shop centres. 4. Maximum use of feedback when implementing the project. For example: • In a number of cases, new features were first introduced in government service centres as pilot projects and became available across the network following positive user feedback; • Crowdsourcing ideas to streamline operations within the centres and improve navigation experience; • Government service centres are active on social media – answering questions, maintaining dialogue, etc. 5. Developing the mos.ru website as the city’s comprehensive online office: a single website featuring news, useful information and online government services. 6. Treating government service provider as a profession. Moscow has established a training centre for training and retraining employees of the service centres. It is the only facility of this kind in Russia. Overall, the results of the project have been revolutionary so far: a new format of interaction between the government and the people has been created in Moscow.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The project was initiated by Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, and implemented by the relevant bodies within the Moscow Government (Staff to the Mayor and Moscow Government, Government Service Committee, Department of Information Technology). So far, Moscow has 127 government service centres with a total of over 7,000 employees. In addition, the project involves: • Non-governmental organisations that hold various events on the premises of government service centres (computer literacy courses, educational and cultural activities, etc.). • Businesses taking part in the project as contractors under government contracts; • Moscow residents who contribute to the project by providing feedback (surveys in service centres, crowdsourcing projects, etc.).
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The project was launched in 2010 as part of Information City and Open Government long-term programmes of the Moscow Government. The project is funded from the city budget. It was designed as an evolutionary project whereby the old, inconvenient system for providing government services in Moscow was gradually replaced by a new, customer-oriented approach. The most sought-after services were gradually moved to the government service centres as their network spread throughout the city. The same gradual approach was used to move government services online: taking into account customer feedback, starting with city residents (individuals), and then businesses. Project timeline 2010: Government services website created in Moscow. 2011: Programme to open government service centres launched. 2012: • Open Government city programme adopted, with the objectives of creating government service centres in every city district and moving government services online. • First government services for businesses become available online. 2013: • Consistent standards were introduced for all government service centres. • Government services available through a mobile app. 2014: • Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin approves the Moscow Government Service Standards, a set of rules and regulations stipulating the key principles for the new system of government services. • Government service centres begin issuing all documents related to specific real-life situations (childbirth, probate, etc.) in a single visit. • Number of users registered on the government services website showed record growth rates, tripling from 2013 and reaching 3.7 million users. 2015: • The number of registered users on the government services website increased by another million. • The first training centre for government services staff was created in Moscow, the first institution of its kind in Russia. 2016: Government service centres opened in all Moscow districts, including New Moscow. 2017: Government service website merged with the official website of the Moscow Mayor’s Office.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
• Federal government bodies. Government service centres operate under Federal Law on the Organisation of Government and Municipal Services, as well as Government directives. • Moscow government bodies. The project was initiated by Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, and relevant Moscow Government departments were tasked with implementing it. • Moscow residents, who actively contribute to improving the project by sharing feedback.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
1. The new system improved the accessibility of government services and made them more convenient for all Moscow residents by leveraging all available communication and interaction tools (offline, online, mobile app). 2. The new government service system is becoming increasingly popular with the number of services provided by government service centres up from 21.3 million in 2015 to 22.7 million in 2016. In addition, 5.8 million people, or every second Moscow resident, registered on the Moscow government services website. In addition, 1.8 million Moscow residents use mobile apps developed by the city that are related to government services. 3. High satisfaction rate. Opinion surveys show that over 90 percent of Moscow residents are satisfied with the quality of government services. According to a customer survey conducted in government service centres, 96.5 percent of people who visited them were satisfied with the quality of services they received. 4. Sharing experience. More delegations from Russian regions, as well as from abroad come to Moscow to exchange experience and see the city’s projects and achievements in the provision of government services. In its efforts to deploy a new system of government services, Moscow relied on best international practices, so that now Russian regions can follow in Moscow’s footsteps. 5. Evaluation by the international expert community. A PriceWaterhouseCoopers study has ranked Moscow among the top cities in the world in terms of provision of government services in accessibility, convenience, queue management and communicating with customers.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
1. Administrative and legal challenges. Regulations regarding the provision of government services failed to mention government service centres. There were also no regulations in place for providing government services online. Consequently, regulations had to be drafted and enacted in order to fill this regulatory gap. 2. Management issues were related to bringing together a plethora of services provided by various government agencies at different levels (federal and regional) in a one stop shop setting. In addition, these government agencies were not eager to transfer their functions to government service centres. These issues were resolved through lengthy and arduous talks and discussions on the transfer of authority, as well as by training staff to provide government services, and ensuring methodological and legal support. In addition, making the processes transparent and less time-consuming was also a challenge. These issues were resolved by updating administrative regulations for the procedures and standards related to e-government services, as well as monitoring their execution. 3. Human resources. The new system meant that a new mindset in the provision of government services had to be embraced in order to move from a conventional applicant–bureaucrat scheme toward a more business-like framework where a customer deals with a service provider. Government service centres had to be staffed from the ground up. Candidates were required not only to master the workings of government bodies, but also to adopt a customer-friendly and welcoming attitude. 4. Psychological challenges. Psychological barriers were a major issue during the roll-out of online services, since very few people were ready to use the internet in their day-to-day interaction with government agencies. However, online government services have established a solid track record of reliable operation with ever-improving service quality, responsiveness and effectiveness. That said, some users, especially the elderly, can experience difficulties with online government services, which is attributable to the lack of information and skills in working with online documents. The way to overcome this challenge is to promote education, including online courses, as well as mobilise consultants in service centres, etc.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
1. Radical change in how Moscow residents view government services. Government services are no longer associated with long lines, exasperating procedures and unfriendly officials, but with simplicity and friendly staff always eager to help and provide advice. 2. Improved accessibility of government services. More than 170 government services that are essential to Moscow residents are now provided by government service centres. Of this total, 98 percent are available at any centre regardless of the applicant’s place of residence with the sole exception of three services related to registration with migration authorities. In addition, Moscow residents can receive about 75 percent of these services online using the Moscow Mayor’s website. Specifically, the website can be used to pay for utilities, schedule a doctor appointment, enrol a child in school or kindergarten, get a parking permit, etc. Moreover, government services are also available through a mobile app. Overall, the government services were designed to satisfy customer preferences in the best possible way. 3. High-quality services. Moscow has become one of the top 3 cities in the world for accessible, customer friendly government services and queuing systems, as well as an absolute leader in communicating with customers. In developing its government services system, Moscow not only searched for the best ideas, mechanisms and practices, but even took the lead in some areas. Government service centres are conveniently located and operate at the most convenient hours. Understanding how big the city is, management has been paying a lot of attention to queuing solutions. A system was developed to track developments in real time and make adjustments. Special algorithms were put in place to respond to peak customer traffic situations, and there are always employees on standby who can be dispatched to overwhelmed centres. As a result, waiting time now averages just 3 minutes, which is a world record. All government service centres offer the same set of additional customer-friendly services. Low-income residents who do not have a computer or a smartphone can use terminals in the centres to access online services. Consultants are available in all centres to help visitors access online services using the terminal, submit or track an application. In all centres, people can print out their documents from a thumb drive, get ID photos, pay duties and even buy a snack. All centres are equipped with playrooms, so that visitors can bring along their kids. All centres offer Wi-Fi and have bicycle racks. There is also the option to schedule appointments for the most popular services. If the waiting time exceeds 15 minutes, a free cup of coffee is offered. 4. Timesaving effect. With the network of government service centres and website, Moscow residents save on average two days per year. This is how long it used to take people to obtain various certificates and wait in line. 5. Leaner and more efficient government agencies. Moscow used to have more than 1,200 offices scattered across various government agencies for accepting applications and delivering certificates, but now the same services are available in 127 offices or online. Instead of applying with three or four agencies, a customer deals with a one stop shop. Government services have also become less time-consuming. 6. Improved business climate resulting from the greater availability of government services for legal entities, especially in key areas such as land use, construction and transport services.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Government service centres and e-government services are bound by strict regulations, making any kind of corruption impossible. The use of electronic systems greatly reduces the number of documents people have to present when applying for a service. Usually, it is sufficient to show a passport, while the employees of the centre request other documents from relevant agencies on their own, saving customers the need to make other applications or returning for submitting them. People working at government service centres act as advocates for Moscow residents. They represent their interests, ensuring that various agencies involved in the provision of a specific service respect deadlines. Regarding G2B services, the fact that the process is completely transparent and personal contacts with officials reduced to a minimum makes corruption less likely. The Moscow Government views the initiative to move government services for businesses online as one of its key priorities. In 2015-2016, the number of such services surged almost five-fold from 8 to 38.

 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)
Government service centres provide social services, including targeted social assistance to the elderly, people with disabilities, low-income families and families with many children. These services are also available online. All government service centres provide certain services in convenient packages in a single visit. For example, parents can get all the documents they need for their newborns, register as a family with many children, etc. Government services for parents (mothers) were among the first to be moved online, including applying for benefits after childbirth, enrolling children in kindergarten, elementary schools, scheduling doctor’s appointments, etc. All government service centres offer a barrier-free environment by testing and implementing on an ongoing basis new services aimed at making it easier for people with disabilities to receive government services (for example, providing sign language translation by video conference). A special course was developed for the Training Centre to teach staff how to treat people with disabilities and limited mobility. All employees who work with customers have to complete this course. There are also baby care rooms and playrooms in government service centres. In terms of HR policy, government service centres promote gender equality in their recruitment, training, career growth and leadership. For example, 72 percent of centre directors and 48 percent of division heads are women. Working mothers benefit from additional social guarantees. Government service centres won the title of best employer for working mothers in a city competition.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Government of Moscow
Institution Type:   Local Government  
Contact Person:   Natalia Rusaeva
Title:   Manager  
Telephone/ Fax:   +79851808813
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   rusaevanv@mos.ru  
Address:   Tverskaya,13
Postal Code:   125032
City:   Moscow
State/Province:  
Country:  

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