New study on EU-wide digital once-only principle for citizens and businesses released

The implementation of the once-only principle can have a big impact in making life easier for citizens and businesses across the EU and could contribute to the Digital Single Market. These are some of the main results of the study on “EU-wide digital Once-Only Principle for citizens and businesses“ (study reference: SMART 2015/0062) published on 1 February 2017. It was carried out for the European Commission by Jonathan Cave, Maarten Botterman (GNKS Consult BV), Simona Cavallini and Margherita Volpe (FORMIT).

The report takes stock of current data re-use in national and cross-border interactions with public administrations, explores gaps and barriers affecting prospects for a EU-wide digital once-only principle, identifies policy objectives and options and analyses their impacts on key stakeholders under different possible scenarios. The results show that once-only enjoys broad support in general, but with variation across Europe, and many initiatives and legislative measures exist and are likely to simplify the implementation of Once-Only. The result also point to significant evidence gaps on costs and benefits, especially beyond the EU Member State level.

However, an EU-wide implementation of the once-only principle still needs policy support. Therefore, the experts state call for a legal basis to support EU-wide data exchange. Also, an EU-wide taskforce to further encourage the dissemination should be established. Finally, an interoperable and clearly-described collection of base registries can boost its implementation.

The once-only principle is one of the seven principles of the eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 and proposes that individuals and businesses should not have to supply the same information more than once to public administrations.

OOP implementation is designed in support of Action 16 of the Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy which calls for improved cooperation among national systems to ensure that “businesses and individuals only have to communicate their data once to public administrations” and that in consequence governments will no longer make “multiple requests for the same information when they can use the information they already have.” Again, assuming that if another Member State’s government within the EU has the information, all other Member State governments could have access to it, if so permitted by the data owner.

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