Six years ago, the first My Documents integrated government service centre opened in Moscow under the project to replace 1,200 reception offices at various public agencies. Within this short space of time, the city managed to completely convert the way it had gone about providing services. Now every district has a My Document centre that provides up to 170 services with an average waiting time of less than three minutes. This is how the city has delivered on President Vladimir Putin’s instruction to improve the public administration system, allowing people to make more efficient and less time-consuming contact with authorities, which was specified by in his executive orders in May 2012.
According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) research, Moscow is among the world’s top three cities, in terms of easy access, comfort and queue management. The My Documents centres lead in the category, “skills in customer dialogue.” Also, Moscow is the only city in the world where government service centres are open seven days a week from 8 am until 8 pm without breaks or days off.
127 centres and 25 million customers
Currently, there are 127 My Documents centres in Moscow. While every district in the city has them, 98 percent of all services can be obtained from any district centre, regardless of district of registration.
Over 96 percent of customers approve of My Documents centre performance. Residents can rate the work of office staff with the digital pads at each reception window. Over 90 percent of people who voted on the Active Citizen website gave the government service centres full marks. Another indicator of the quality of service is the number of customers. In 2015, about 22.7 million people used the centres, while the figure for 2016 increased to 25 million. Over 70,000 people visit the centres every day.
Convenient services and a cup of coffee for waiting longer than the target time
The government service centres offer plenty of useful services that save people a lot of time, including a very convenient one-stop-shop service, which allows people to obtain many documents, such as birth certificates for newborns or documents that may be required by families with many children, or in the event of changing a family name, coming into possession of inherited property, changing a place of residence or buying a flat.
In addition to services that were normally provided by the military enlistment offices and the tax revenue offices, recent My Documents services include new IDs, as well as passports for travel abroad, which are valid for five years – previously, these issues were handled by the Interior Ministry. Issuing new or replacement driving licences is another new service offered at 53 My Documents offices.
With an average waiting time of only three minutes, Moscow comes out on top globally. The maximum wait time should not exceed 15 minutes. One out of 2,000 customers has to wait longer than the target time, which will result in a free cup of coffee as an appeasement.
All centres have a standard set of complementary services: for example, a customer can copy documents, have a passport photo, pay duties, print out information on a flash drive, drink coffee or have a snack. In addition, many services can be provided online in special areas equipped with computers. Specialists will show customers how to use electronic services.
Feedback and a training centre
The My Documents centres rely on feedback from city residents in their work. The ambitious My Government Service Office crowd-sourcing project helps My Documents personnel reach out to customers, whose best proposals have already been translated into everyday life. For example, a government service standard has been established and now the centres have free Wi-Fi, new copy machines for customers to print files from their flash drives, and bike racks at the entrance. A website is available to make an appointment with a specialist, receive notices that documents are ready and choose the best time to visit an office by consulting its average congestion schedule. These and other ideas have been prompted by project participants.
Also, a My Documents training centre has been established so new staff members can undergo two-week training with a focus on the basic customer handling skills while experienced employees can attend advanced training courses. A specially developed unique programme includes 30 full-time courses and over 100 correspondence courses. In a bid to further improve the programme, the government services centres jointly with civic organisations have recently developed a special training course to handle customers with disabilities. The training sessions allow personnel to put themselves in the place of people who require special attention and learn the right way to communicate with them.
Flagship centres and other plans
The plans for the next two years include opening a My Documents flagship centre in each administrative area. They will be located in hot spots - intersections with heavy foot traffic. These offices will offer an extended list of services and even more complimentary services, for example, those of a notary.
The choice of services available from all local offices will also be gradually expanded.