One-visit service centers cut red tape

Sharing data between official departments offers convenience for Hangzhou's citizens while cutting costs.

A one-visit service center initiative has been making significant headway and now been introduced across the country. Hangzhou, one of the first to put the one-visit service reform in place, built an artificial intelligent platform using big data in cooperation with local hi-tech companies.

It is poised to further deepen reform by sharing big data between official departments. Last week, Jianggan and Xihu districts announced the result of a “Four Portals” pilot program, which was introduced in Dinglan and Gudang neighborhoods last October.

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People submit application on an artificial intelligent machine in a service center in Hangzhou. The capital city of Zhejiang Province was one of the first to put the one-visit service reform in place. 

Four portals refer to personal computers, mobile phones, self-service machines and service windows. An online system integrated the services of different government departments and placed them all under one roof. The four portals are all accessible on the system.

If residents need to handle affairs, they can do so at one of the portals and then the information will be uploaded. Previously, people had to visit different departments. Now, they can handle 42 types of affairs without going to any service windows.

“That is a huge step of reforming the one-time service, and also an opportunity for government departments to shift to a digital service,” said Zheng Rongxin, director of Hanghzou Data Resources Bureau.

The upgraded service helps cut labor cost. Dinglan Service Center reduced the number of service windows by 70 percent and staff by 40 percent, while Gudang halved the number of its windows and staff.

The four-portal system is expected to cover more than 199 service centers in the future. That is going to cut about 6,000 service windows, saving more than 300 million yuan (US$4.47 million) in staff cost in a year.

Administrative authorities aim to eliminate citizens’ visits and build a “smart Hangzhou.” The personal computer portal is based on the Zhejiang government service website (www.zjzwfw.gov.cn), and the mobile phone portal is built on the applications Zhe Li Ban Hangzhou Banshi and Alipay.

“Our system provides visitors with 408 checklists that could be applied in 100,000 circumstances. The smart search engine helps people find their to-do affairs and checklists,” said Wang Wenshuo, deputy director of Jianggan District.

The online platform also provides an artificial intelligence service. Visitors can click on a page and ask questions such as where to upload documents or where to make appointments.

Wu Huixin

A woman uses a self-service machine at Dinglan Service Center. ­

The optimized working process solves pressing problems. For example, a person planning to apply for public medical insurance on behalf of his child had previously to visit a service window and submit an application. Now, the applicant can hand in the necessary documents at any service portal just once, avoiding long queues.

Applicants can order an express service to avoid going to service windows after the application is granted. That will realize a “no-more-visit service” in the future.

If citizens go to service centers and forget their identity cards, the facial recognition service could help.

Once an application is submitted, people can check the process through any portal. Meanwhile, they can make a face-to-face video call online with department staff.

“The system is easy to get familiar with. Our workers were trained for a couple of days. In the past, window staff only handled things related with a part of departments and industries. Now, any application submitted to four portals will be dealt with immediately,” Wang said.

The new system is supported by Hangzhou Data Resources Bureau. A billion pieces of data from 59 government departments have been pooled onto an intelligent platform of the bureau.

In the past, due to a failure to share information between different departments, people were required to get a permit from every relevant department to get anything done. Now, all the information is shared among departments.

“The four-portal system collects statistics and analyzes citizen’s affairs. That helps us adjust working processes, boosting effectiveness and scientifically allocating resources,” Zheng said.

Hangzhou established the Statistics Resource Management Bureau in 2017, the first of its kind in China. Its main responsibilities include implementing policies and regulations of national and provincial governments on data resources management, compiling local laws and regulations and organizing implementation after review and approval.

Other responsibilities include making data resources development strategies, development plans, annual plans, policies, measures, evaluations and organizing implementation.

A big screen is used to give the public the information they need.

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