My Documents are comfortable and queue-free government service centres with children’s corners and friendly staffs. About six years ago they revolutionised the perception of state services. They replaced 1,200 different government agencies by integrating all the services in one place, thus eliminating the need to go to office after office to obtain official government documents.
Currently, there are 127 government services centres in Moscow. Moscow is the only city in the world where the centres are open daily from 8 am to 8 pm. In addition, 98 percent of the services are available at any of the centres regardless of an applicant’s residential address.
From mandatory medical insurance and passport to sign language interpretation and vaccination
Every day about 70,000 people go to My Documents services centres, of which there are now about 170. People can apply for domestic or foreign passports, a driver’s license, a mandatory medical insurance policy, a residential parking permit; they can file a tax statement, get registered by the Federal Tax Service and many other things.
Just six years ago it was hard to imagine obtaining a packet of documents in just two visits. Today, people can change their surname, apply for a pension or heritage or get documents for a newborn baby or a multi-child family.
These packets of services are called ‘life situations.’
Some new projects have been started just recently. These include the issue of documents required for residential property purchases and change of place of residence registration. These services are offered at 51 centres so far. Only two office visits are required – first to file an application and later to retrieve the documents. Apart from that, just one visit might be needed to make changes in a military registration document, obtain a recalculation of housing and utilities charges, get a residential parking permit or housing benefits or land and transport taxes subsidies.
Additional services have also been made available. These include copying and printing documents and paying fees. Those unable to obtain the services online will be assisted by consultants including through computers that are available at the centres. People with impaired hearing can use a remote sign language interpretation system.
Each centre has terminals to file water and electricity metre readings. There are also bicycle racks, Wi-Fi, children’s corners, information books and pamphlets and venders with food and beverages.
On 4 September-29 October, vaccination will be available at 73 government services centres.
To save people time, the centres’ peak workload hours are available and updated regularly. This allows visitors to choose a convenient time to visit and avoid too many people. According to the latest information, Tuesday is the busiest day. The best time to visit is a weekend or in the morning, and after midday. For more accurate information, anyone can check the average workload of a government services’ centre in their district.
Information on how many people are at the centre right now is also available on mos.ru. Green indicates offices without queues, yellow identifies centres with up to a 30 minute wait time, and red indicates a wait of over 30 minutes. The latter is something rare as average wait times are only three minutes, which is a world record according to an international survey. Just one in 2,000 visitors waits more than 15 minutes. Visitors can take a cup of coffee.
To avoid a queue, pre-registration is provided to file and obtain certain documents. The most popular use for this is services of the Federal Registration Service, the Federal Cadastral Chamber, the Pension Fund and the Migration Service. An SMS or email notification that the document is ready will be sent.
The goal is to listen to the client’s needs: the client is the top priority
State services are rendered at My Documents centres in a prompt and friendly way. This is achieved by providing on-site training and distance learning courses for the staff. The classes are of two types – provision and service oriented. The former are aimed at training specialists to render government services and use special software. The latter help instill a customer-oriented approach.
Training sessions teach attendees how to provide services, use special programmes and how to respond to non-standard situations. They learn emotional tones’ scale, how to express empathy as well as the ability to not just listen but most importantly to hear what a client says.
The rule to “listen and hear” has been approached quite literally at the government services centres. An unusual feedback channel is provided in the form of the installation Ear. Clients can voice there their suggestions or complaints on the office’s performance. So far, the Ear is at the government services’ centre in Strogino District.