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    Brussels region aims to simplify admin for residents

    Bernard Clerfayt, Brussels minister for administrative simplification © Belga

    The Brussels region has launched its “Only once” project which aims to make official administrative tasks easier for residents dealing with government at the regional and communal level, Belga reports.

    The project is the brainchild of Bernard Clerfayt (photo), minister for administrative simplification, whose office carried out research in November last year which found that no fewer than 71% of Brussels residents wished dealing with the administration – and among the different levels of administration – was simpler.

    The aim of Only once would ultimately be to make it possible for a functionary to access information from the National Register or the Business Register by a simple series of computer requests. Citizens would thereby be spared the trouble of filling out forms with information such as age and civil status which is already part of the public record somewhere. That would save members of the public time, cut down on waiting times at the busiest town halls like Brussels-City and Schaerbeek, and reduce the workload of functionaries, argues Clerfayt – in his other role as mayor of Schaerbeek well aware of the problem.

    The change, which would also cut costs, will, however, require a change of certain rules to ensure that electronic forms have the same legal standing as paper versions, which is not always the case at present.

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    Since the whole point of the plan is to make life easier for the people of Brussels region, Easybrussels, the agency for simplification, has launched a survey in Dutch, French and English asking residents what areas they think suitable for simplification.

    Easybrussels makes sure that the Once Only principle is implemented in the Brussels-Capital Region,” the website says. “According to this principle, administrations can no longer ask you for information that can already access (for example household composition, fiscal documents, social certificate, etc.). You can inform us of any administrative procedure related to a public administration of Brussels (regional, local, public association, etc.) that doesn’t comply with the Once Only principle or that could be simplified.”

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times