One-stop-shops (OSSs) are not a recent invention, but they are currently popular as governments attempt to address complaints about fragmentation in public service delivery. OSSs often struggle with multiple implementation problems. This review assesses ten years of research into government one-stop-shops, and seeks to determine drivers and barriers relevant to the adoption and implementation of OSSs in the public sector. OSS reforms are frequently promoted as win-win solutions, allegedly delivering seamless service at lower cost. Such promises are appealing to political decision makers, but typically understate the complexities, costs and risks of the OSS approach. When the time comes for implementation, managers often struggle with unrealistic political and citizen expectations, turf conflicts, inadequate resources, and dilemmas relating to the need for administrative specialisation. OSSs tend to be more successful where the goal of seamless service is pursued gradually, with sufficient resources, and where implementers address trade-offs between integration and specialisation.
Australia and New Zealand School of Government and the author 2017