Two years ago, the then Minister of Economic Affairs, Johann Schneider-Ammann, announced the new online platform of the authorities: “The EasyGov.swiss online counter brings administrative relief to SMEs”. At the beginning of December 2019, the third major expansion of EasyGov with new services for public authorities took place. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO is thus demonstrating that e-government is possible at a high level in a federal state The goals set are high: on EasyGov, government services are to be made available in such a way that they can be used from a single source without special knowledge of government responsibilities and without specialised technical knowledge. “The business processes of the administration will be consistently aligned with user needs, simplified, standardised and optimised in terms of their efficiency,” states the Confederation’s “Digital Switzerland” strategy. “The most important principle of EasyGov is customer centricity,” Martin Godel, head of SME policy at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO, tells governmenttobusiness.com. In order to know the needs of businesses in the area of eGovernment, these were surveyed at the beginning of 2019 in the second National eGovernment Study in collaboration with eGovernment Switzerland. For example, 60 percent of businesses are of the opinion that finding government offerings makes them most difficult to use. This is precisely why the central goal of EasyGov is to offer a bundled range of government services on a single platform. Step by step, a one-stop shop is to be set up on which companies can process all public authority services offered via a single account with uniform user guidance. In this way, regularly required company data such as address data or the commercial register number only have to be entered once. EasyGov thus already fulfils the once-only principle, which the EU has defined as a benchmark for good e-government solutions.
Three major updates in two years
SECO also takes into account the wishes of businesses as far as possible in the order in which new administrative procedures are launched. For example, the ten most common changes to the commercial register were integrated a year ago and all debt collection offices were connected last summer. With the current update from the beginning of December 2019, wage declarations can now also be transmitted to SUVA. All of these official procedures were at the top of the companies’ list of priorities. Since its launch in November 2017, EasyGov has already undergone three major updates. At the beginning, the platform was used in particular by founders, who can complete all the necessary official procedures for setting up a company online, from registration with the commercial register to VAT, social security and accident insurance. With the latest updates, EasyGov has now also become more attractive for existing companies.
E-Government in a federal state
EasyGov is part of the strategy of eGovernment Switzerland, the organisation of the Confederation, cantons and municipalities for the expansion of electronic government services. Every time new services are launched, new authorities must be involved. This is always a great challenge for Martin Godel’s team. “We can’t order the authorities to do anything, we have to convince them of the benefits each time,” Martin Godel recently told Radio RTS. Many public administrations today operate portals with correspondingly high costs for development, operation, maintenance, support and personnel. These costs could be saved by the authorities choosing EasyGov as their portal and focusing their activities on their core business – the processing of the actual authority process. Furthermore, this usually goes hand in hand with a higher standard of development and customer friendliness, as EasyGov offers many things that most platforms cannot provide. For example, a customer service desk is part of the EasyGov package, where SMEs can call from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in four languages. The ambitious approach of building a one-stop shop for government services in a federal state requires good stakeholder engagement and staying power. Each launch of a new service goes through the same process. This project management allows new government services to be offered to companies every six months or so.
Services offered by EasyGov.swiss Version 1.5
Currently EasyGov offers the following government services:
- Company formation
- Registrations with: a) Commercial Register, b) AHV (Compensation Funds), c) Value Added Tax and d) Accident Insurance (Suva and Private Insurers)
- Commercial register changes with cross-cantonal relocations of registered offices and public certifications
- Debt collection and debt collection information for companies, associations, foundations, cooperatives and private individuals
- Guarantees for SMEs The guarantee cooperatives recognised by the Confederation provide SMEs with easier access to bank loans. SMEs can contact the relevant guarantee organisation via EasyGov.
- Suva wage declarations Companies without their own payroll accounting software can enter their wage data directly in EasyGov and then transmit it to Suva.
- Licensing database Overview of professions requiring a licence and regulated professions in Switzerland at federal, cantonal and municipal level.