In the Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, ambitious work is underway to simplify starting a business using digital public services. In a joint report, the National Audit Offices of these countries now find that much work remains before the objectives can be achieved.
In order to strengthen competitiveness and promote new business creation, the governments of the Nordic countries want to simplify the process of starting new businesses. The digitalisation of services and case handling processes at the responsible agencies has been identified as an important tool.
The National Audit Offices of the Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have carried out parallel reviews of digital support for entrepreneurs. The restaurant industry was chosen as a case study, since it is a heavily regulated growth industry, requiring extensive government and municipal contacts at the start up stage.
The joint report was published today. Among other things, it shows that most of the participating countries are well placed in a European comparison of the degree of digitalisation in the public sector, but that much work remains to be done to digitally simplify the processes of starting a business.
The report also states that it can still be a challenge for entrepreneurs to gain a full picture of what is required to start a business, that e-services are often not sufficiently user-friendly and that the public agencies' internal case handling systems are not effectively digitalised.
The areas most in need of further development vary between countries - from the introduction of e-services for business registration to more sophisticated interactive solutions or pre-filled forms with personal information.
“We see that despite high levels of ambition, much work remains to be done to make the processes as efficient and smooth as possible, both for entrepreneurs and for case handlers in public agencies. These findings apply at both national and local levels,” says Helena Lindberg, Auditor General in Sweden.
Other common challenges are difficulties in sharing information between public agencies, as well as management and development of multi-agency digital services.
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