Authors: Rushda Majeed
How did the government of Minas Gerais, Brazil, gain the needed interagency support to overhaul and revamp its one-stop government service shops, create a new organizational culture for the shops, and create an evidence-based system for monitoring their performance? The government of Minas Gerais, Brazil, successfully reformed the state’s inefficient one-stop shops for citizen services from 2007 to 2013, through a program that overhauled the shops to enable a variety of agencies to better deliver citizen services in a single convenient location. This case study details the government’s effective reform program. The one-stop shops were originally intended to bring together a variety of government services under one roof, but were hobbled by poor interagency coordination, nonstandard procedures, and an organizational culture that was not attuned to citizen service. The government’s program involved high-level political support, creative coordination of government agencies, building an organizational culture focused on citizen service, using a variety of performance measurement techniques, and building on lessons from similar successful shops.
Key contextual conditions were the culture of reform that Minas Gerais State Governor Aécio Neves da Cunha promoted by empowering the planning and management secretariat to improve the one-stop shops as part of a second phase of state government reforms and the World Bank’s support through a US$170 million loan in 2006, and a second loan of US$976 million in 2008.
Key stakeholders in the government of the State of Minas Gerais include its Commercial Board, Secretariat of Planning and Management, Unidades de Atendimento Integrado (Integrated Citizen Assistance Units), Postos de Serviço Integrado Urbano (Integrated Urban Service Units), Projeto Estruturador Descomplicar, Programa Empressa Mineira Competitiva, Minas Fácil, and the citizens of Minas Gerais; and the World Bank.
- The use of a variety of types of evidence—such as field data, a review of existing successful one-stop shops, mapping workflows, observations, interviews, and ongoing performance monitoring data—to redesign the one-stop shop system points to the importance of deploying evidence for results throughout all stages of the intervention.
- The state government's secretariat of planning and management team used a hands-on approach—observing its own shops, talking to staff, and recording the procedures and time taken to provide services—that led to innovative organizational and procedural changes.
- Designing and installing a formal online system measured the ongoing services at each shop, helping to redeploy resources in real time.
- Flexibility and adaptability were hallmarks of the one-stop shops, with observation and analysis frequently feeding back into implementation to improve these processes.
- With 15 federal, state, and municipal agencies participating in the one-stop shops, covering a multisectoral variety of services, successful implementation has meant overcoming legal and procedural obstacles to coordination.
- In 1996, the state government in Minas Gerais, Brazil’s second most populous state, had set up one-stop shops to provide a variety of services in single locations around the state, but these shops failed to reduce delay and confusion.
- In 2003, the new government pledged to improve government efficiency and serve its citizens better as its residents had long bemoaned the difficulty of obtaining work permits, passports, driver’s licenses, and other documents that were issued by a variety of federal, state, and local agencies.
- A prime challenge was winning agreement among agencies as the independence of the national, state, and local governments under Brazil’s federal system made it hard to create a unified approach in one-stop shops; the agencies had little incentive to cooperate with each other.
- Staff training and vetting were poor; there was no ethic of citizen service; the shops lacked standard operating procedures; and there were internal conflicts of interest.
- There was no central performance monitoring system to measure overall efficiency and employee effectiveness and address service gaps; budget limits intensified the problems in one-stop shops outside the capital city of Belo Horizonte.