One stop to happiness

In Sweden, there’s a general mistrust of the public sector in general and the municipalities in particular. To put it more precisely, people do not trust the competence of those employed by Sweden’s “lower-level local government entities.” It is most probably characteristic of other countries as well though, and not just Sweden.

The mistrust is best revealed and observed at the first point of contact between the municipality officials and the public in need of service. Usually, it is a kind of a customer service centre called “One stop shop” or “One stop centre”. (It is safe to assert that the one stop centre trend has been soaring over Sweden for the past several years. Skellefteå started it, I guess. The project Innoveta continued.) Both links are in Swedish.

The name of such centres in the English language has been amusing and intriguing me for some time. One stop. The idea is that regardless of the nature of one’s enquiry or its inherence in the organisation of the municipality, the public can get their questions taken care of only having to contact the local authority once.

One stop. The idea is fairly complex. Before one can fully buy it (as if it were a goal in itself), I believe, one needs to get the answers to the questions regarding knowledge management, case management, channel management, etc. On a totally different level, the idea is straightforward, too. The public sector pride themselves in customer-centric perspective. It is therefore natural for them to see the benefit of say cutting on administration to pursue efficiency for the sake of the public’s gain.

On a quite subjective and somewhat unexperienced level, I’ll be touching on different issues of establishing and running a one stop centre within the coming couple of months. More specifically, I am interested in operations and operational (business) development of one stop centres, which will probably lead me to consider the role that self-service plays in the interaction between the local government and the public.

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