The phrase “one-stop shop” has an immediate political attraction. It sounds like a way to sweep away unnecessary paperwork and create a streamlined and easy-to-use interface between government and citizens or business. Indeed, one-stop shops can be a very effective way to communicate regulatory requirements more clearly. However, achieving this goal requires upfront and ongoing investment, as well as a change in government mind-set about the way in which regulations affect everyday life.
Delivering services well is a critical facet of the regulatory environment. The passage of a law or regulation is just the beginning of a process. Laws do not serve the community when they are poorly delivered. Being required to provide the same information to different government agencies is an unnecessary burden that distracts citizens from engaging in other activities. The poor delivery of regulations can result in potential businesses not being created, and put unnecessary strains on those that exist. In particular, small and medium-sized enterprises acutely feel the brunt of poor delivery – they often operate on thin profit margins and the resulting increased costs may force some to cease operating.
The report provides real-world insights into the difficulties in designing and operating one-stop shops across a range of OECD member countries. At the same, the principles have been devised in part around well-established tenets of sound public governance. The principles thus reflect good public policy as well as the actual experiences of various one-stop shops.