The currently running Public Administration and Public Service Development Strategy 2014-2020 program has set high goals for the processes of public administration, including organization, consistency, professionally trained staff, cost-effectiveness and competitive service fees. To reach these goals, the debate of a legislative package aiming to simplify the operation of government offices started in November 2019 in the Hungarian Parliament. The package was accepted in December 2019, with the majority of the changes getting into effect starting in March 2020, and the remainder coming in September 2020 and January 2021.
The most important overall change to ensure the simplified operation of capital and county government offices is the removal of the pre-existing system of slow procedures caused by rigid regulation and setting the primary focus on the interest of citizens and customers. Having a long term goal of making Hungary one of the most livable countries in Europe for people and businesses as well by 2030, the package is said to affect around 700 procedures. Many disciplines and offices are affected, including the organization of the construction authority, the range of departments entitled to request information from the personal data and address registry, the scope of police cases, the communication between authority offices, the educational activity of the commerce chambers and the application for moral certificates to name a few.
The most important measures are the establishment of a single building authority system as of 1 March 2020, as well as the introduction of a one-step administrative procedure. The right of appeal against decisions of district offices is eliminated and clients can exercise their right of appeal directly in court.
By simplifying, reorganizing and speeding up so many administrative processes and reducing the number of cases, administrative costs can be saved and administrative burdens can be reduced. It is interesting to point out that quite uniquely, the package was developed based on the comments of officials working directly with the people and businesses, which means that in theory this legislative package is based on the input of about 30,000 people.
By Levente Csengery, Partner, KCG Partners Law Firm