Maxim Oreshkin: MFCs are to be offices for everyone to come and receive any kind of facilitation
Maxim Oreshkin, Russian Minister of Economic Development, opened up the Plenary Session of the 3d Russian Forum for Goverment and Municipal Service Centers held in Svetlogorsk (Kaliningrad Region).
Transcript of the talk given by Maxim Oreshkin:
A warm welcome to all of you in Kaliningrad. The region has a new governor now and I am happy to offer Anton Alikhanov my congratulations on being elected for the post. He is the youngest amongst the governors and, perhaps, the youngest governor ever elected in history. So, we must wish him good luck. I have hopes that in some five years the Kaliningrad Region will be totally different and steps ahead.
The 3d Russian Forum for Government and Municipal Service Centers has become a good tradition for all those who are involved in development and expansion of the project. Today, of course, we have a special occasion, as it is ten years since multifunctional centers (MFC) were created across Russia,
with Rostov, Tomsk, Tula, Irkutsk, and Omsk regions pioneering. And they laid the foundation for the project that matters greatly to everyone in this country.
We can already boast of a mature, large scale MFC network that meets the highest public service standards. And our citizens can now be rendered public services at the time convenient for them, in comfortable offices and, what is most importantly, being treated politely.
This can be said to have totally changed the paradigm which had been historically developed.
Creating and expanding of the MFC network is primarily a regional project. It is the federal entities that are engaged in creation of all required infrastructure and ensure that services are of full range and high quality.
Nevertheless, in this talk, I would like to address the steps and projects undertaken by the Federal Central Authority that methodologically and legislatively ensure local implementation of the project.
The first set of issues concerns managing and monitoring the evolution of the MFC system.
The Ministry of Economic Development has been quarterly ranking the entities over the past three years. As at Q2 2017, the Voronezh Region is at the top among the leading regions like it was a year ago. This demonstrates the region’s systemic approach, with a focus on all dimensions of the MFC activities. Our colleagues there keep up with continuous advance and improvement and this is sure to deserve the highest praise.
Although the ranking results are not available so far, but the top five regions also include the Republic of Dagestan, the Primorsky Territory, the Lipetsk Region, and the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), while the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Pskov Region, and the Republic of Crimea are among the lagging regions. I am going to highlight their common stumbling blocks. Most important is that the system for monitoring the service quality is poorly organized, with challenges concerning the key indicator. It is coverage of the population. Accordingly, the regional authorities need to take comprehensive measures to remedy the situation and it is regularly brought to the notice of the regions’ leaderships.
Any ranking is obviously imperfect, whatever method is used and the Moscow agglomeration is a good example. Although it is ranked high, technically, it is not among the absolute top leaders. In many ways, it is the most advanced region in terms of MFC service management. Moscow centers are certainly popular with the inhabitants, with queue times not exceeding 15 minutes.
And what is to be done to adjust the ranking?
First, we find it important to shift the focus in the ranking methodology onto the applicants' needs.
Secondly, we need to improve the reliability of the data used for the ranking process. We plan to start analyzing the data that will be collected in an automated mode directly from MFC information systems from as early as December. It will include verified information about operating MFCs and their boxes, the quantity and composition of services provided as well as queue times.
It is also planned to develop a digest of the best regional practices so that other regions can see those achievements, those best moments that are accomplished in other regions and move together towards increasing the quality of services.
To conclude the issue of the project monitoring run in the regions, it is worth mentioning our collaboration with the Russian Popular Front. It relates to evaluation of the regions’ performances in terms of their activities aimed at creation and expansion of the MFC network and management of government and municipal services. This will allow to identify and eliminate the relevant violations, as well as to arrange an independent evaluation of the MFC network.
The next set of initiatives expected to be launched covers extending the list of MFC services provided, and we are working on several fronts in this respect. The key areas that can be highlighted are as follows.
First comes the possibility of birth and death registration through My Documents centers. A corresponding bill has been already developed and it has received Government approval and is now on the table at the State Duma. It is planned to be passed by the State Duma this fall.
Secondly, it is application for inclusion in the electoral roll in MFCs at the place of residence. Last Sunday, on the single election day, the service procedure was piloted in those entities of the Russian Federation that held regional head elections, including the Kaliningrad Region, while MFCs are to be added nation-wide in early 2018.
A separate large set of services intended for rendering via the MFC network pertains to the Federal Tax Service (FNS). Together with FNS, we are now discussing arrangements for a three-service pilot project: first, for adjustment of incorrect tax assessments, second, for receiving tax deductions, and, third, for tax debt notifications. Moscow My Documents centers have been actively and successfully involved in the process.
A month ago, FNS of Russia issued the order on the pilot project to provide a variety of services throughout the country, and by today relevant agreements must be already concluded with MFCs. And we kindly ask the regions to provide maximum assistance and arrangements in the area.
I would also add the project for taxes and duties paid through MFCs. Technically, this option is now available via bank terminals. However, we all perfectly understand, and, when visiting different regions, I come to MFCs and see that it is available and works not everywhere and not always. This certainly causes a lot of dissatisfaction in people. So, now a bill has been developed entitling MFCs to accept payments of taxes and duties. I hope this will also allow people to give higher credits to the quality of MFC services.
The next set covers issues of how to improve the form of service provision. There are several critical areas here, as well.
First, it is arrangements for rendering public services as part of the comprehensive request. We have already introduced the relevant bill, it has been approved by the Government and is now on the table at the State Duma. In fact, this approach is the key part of the one-stop-shop concept.
At the same time, Russian Ministry of Economic Development is engaged in preparing a subordinate legislation framework, which would ensure the correct execution of the bill provisions. In particular, the draft guidelines have been already developed for public services rendered as part of the comprehensive request for the most common life situations. It means that someone, who is living through a life event such as the birth of a child, comes and applies not for a specific service, but rather submits one application for all those services related to the life situation of the birth of a child and receives all those services, which are needed at the moment. This is a far-reaching reorientation from the base service concept to that of the individual’s basic needs.
The Ministry of Economic Development has also drafted amendments to the law on the provision of government and municipal services and the Tax Code. They cover elimination of repeated collection of fees and national duties from applicants in the event of changes in documents issued in order to correct errors committed through the fault of government officials or a MFC. This is also a step towards increasing the serviceability of the processes for rendering public services and a step towards the good mood of applicants.
There are also other significant tasks, including revision of MFC locations.
We estimate that, during normal work, up to 20 services per box are on average rendered in MFCs across Russia, daily. This is a satisfactory indicator; however, this is understood to be a mean and the figures can vary greatly depending on the particular center of the network. Somewhere boxes are overbusy and somewhere they have low work loads. Thus, we need to do more work, analyze all the indicators and divide the work of MFCs, whenever possible. One of solutions is to review approaches to locations, reduce unbusy boxes and increase boxes in MFCs with high work loads.
Anyway, there is still a lot to be done. The project is in progress and it has a great future. We are going to see accelerated process digitalization. There are specific tasks in this respect for the regions, federal ministries, departments and also for MFCs themselves since much depends on an individual multifunctional center. I really see country-wide that, where MFC leaders take their job seriously, their services are of a higher quality, and in fact it encourages people in coming there. Whatever amendments are introduced in the federal laws, whatever is done at the federal level, of course, it is specific people who deal with applicants on whom everything primarily depends. Ultimately, we must, of course, come to ensure that each and every public service that is most common and socially significant is totally assigned to MFCs without duplicating corresponding functions in the government bodies. This concept, in fact, has a great potential including from a financial point of view.
We have collected proposals from all regions and a number of federal laws are to be amended including the Civil Code, the Land Code, the Law on the Provision of Government and Municipal Services and many other laws. We are ready to persist in such a way that you can enjoy more ease and convenience while working.
MFCs must be offices for everyone regardless of their life situation to come and receive any kind of facilitation. This is the vector we must be guided by in our work and we must certainly keep it in mind.
Thank you for your attention.