In brief

In 2012, the Chilean government launched ChileAtiende, which provided a single point of contact for public services through three channels: a web portal, a telephone call centre, or one of 200 offices throughout the country (or mobile offices). The portal can be used for any number of services, whether it’s a startup applying for seed capital or a low-income family obtaining social security benefits.

The challenge

Before 2012, if a Chilean citizen needed to interact with the state, they needed to complete a costly and time-consuming procedure. They had to work out which agency delivered the service and where its offices were located, and they would contact the agency concerned to find out the requirements that had to be met in order to access the relevant service. The process was organised from the government’s perspective rather than taking a customer-facing view.

The initiative

In order to address the problem, the government formally launched ChileAtiende the national citizen service, a one-stop shop, in 2012. The bill creating ChileAtiende was signed by the president, Sebastián Piñera, with Cristián Larroulet, the minister of the General Secretariat of the Presidency of Chile, and Bruno Baranda, the minister for social development. These were the departments most closely concerned in its development.

It was designed by the General Secretariat of the Presidency’s Unit of Modernisation and E-Government. The aim was to create a network that brought government services to the people, delivering a set of procedures for various public institutions in one place. It was intended to:

  • Make savings in time and costs both for citizens and the state through more efficiently organised services.
  • Provide a wide range of different services and products through a variety of easily accessible channels, e.g., enabling citizens to access services via internet or telephone without having to leave their home or workplace.

Its multi-channel network has around 200 offices across the country, a national call centre (#101), and a digital platform through which citizens can access multiple services and benefits without having to contact multiple government offices. There are also mobile offices in O'Higgins, Bío Bío, Araucanía, Metropolitan and Valparaiso.

The public impact

It is estimated that the implementation has resulted in savings of US$30 million in infrastructure costs. It also saves individual citizens expense in terms of reduced travelling time and access fees.

The online portal provides 2,240 public benefits and services. “The coverage of the ChileAtiende [office] network is 75%, which means that 13 million Chilean citizens have a ChileAtiende office in their county (commune)." [1]

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What did and didn't work

All cases in our Public Impact Observatory have been evaluated for performance against the elements of our Public Impact Fundamentals.

Legitimacy

Stakeholder Engagement Good

The main government stakeholders were the General Secretariat of the Presidency, in particular its Unit of Modernisation and E-Government, and the Ministry of Social Development. At the 2012 launch, Cristián Larroulet, the minister for the General Secretariat of the Presidency  “thanked all the workers of the Institute of Social Welfare, Fonasa Sernac Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Ministry of National Heritage, Institute of Occupational Safety, Sence, Dipreca and Capredena, who made possible the launch of this initiative day today." [2]

There were a number of other government stakeholders, such as the Ministry of National Heritage, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the Institute of Social Welfare and the Institute of Occupational Safety. “Twenty-four public services participate in the ChileAtiende network, integrated at the national level." [3]

The other main stakeholders are the citizens who use the services via one of the three channels: the office network, the call centre or the web portal.

Political Commitment Strong

ChileAtiende was an initiative of the General Secretariat of the Presidency, which funded the development and led the design through its Unit of Modernisation and E-Government. It formed part of the government’s second action plan and received significant levels of investment. There have also been publicity campaigns to promote public awareness for the web portal, https://www.chileatiende.gob.cl/. “Two publicity campaigns have been organised to introduce the citizenry to ChileAtiende through mass communications media." [4]

Public Confidence Fair

In 2012, the view of the general public about the government was that it was slow to respond to the need for a single point of contact for its services to citizens. However, with regard to the ChileAtiende project, in particular, it was agreed that concrete progress had been made. “The interviewed stakeholders collectively agreed that the progress of the commitment to date has been concrete. The achievement is substantial [and leads] towards the … modernisation of the state because  it contributes to improved public services and facilitates more efficiency in the processing of a variety of procedures for  the country’s public services." [5]

Policy

Clear Objectives Good

The objectives of ChileAtiende were clear and have been consistently maintained since its launch. The aim of ChileAtiende is to simplify citizens’ access to government benefits and services by having a single point of access, although delivered through three different channels.

Evidence Strong

It was based on similar programmes that have been delivered across the world and in Chile itself, while pilot studies were conducted to ensure that the design was valid and could be implemented within the available budget.

A similar practice in was followed in the Foreign Trade Integrated System (SICEX), which was developed by Chile’s finance ministry. It is a one-stop shop for foreign trade, which aims to streamline the operations of trade and the transit of goods into and out of the country. Policymakers used the same approach in ChileAtiende – of coordination and integration of services provided by different public institutions and delivered through a single window.

The government of Chile studied the examples of international models that had already proved successful, such as Service Canada, Centrelink in Australia, and the eCitizen model in Singapore.

The testing was thorough and well managed. “The strategy was not to have everything planned and funded through new investments, but rather use existing resources ... on a small scale ...[6]:

  • “Prototyping using [an] agile methodology to test the tools for delivering the services, and even using public consultation for open innovation to create the digital channels.
  • “Using lean start-up logic by testing with users, usability evaluations, beta testing and piloting.
  • “Studying the needs of people, their expectations and prejudices about the public sector, through various methodologies (interviews with citizens, market research, usability analysis and testing of products).”

Feasibility Good

ChileAtiende is supported by the government and acts as a common platform for both government and citizens, saving both time and costs for both. It received sufficient funding for its implementation and operations.

ChileAtiende makes use of existing government infrastructure to provide services, making efficient use of state resources to undertake a major reform programme.

The technical feasibility was established by:

  • Studying similar solutions in other countries, the SICEX one-stop shop in Chile’s Ministry of Finance.
  • Using a prototyping methodology in developing the web portal, to manage the technical risk.
  • Piloting both the design and implementation of the portal.

“Among other challenges, certain legal obstacles needed to be overcome in order to transfer specific powers from certain public services to others." [7]

Action

Management Good

The General Secretariat of the Presidency led the initiative through its Unit of Modernization and E-Government. “During the implementation of this commitment, those in charge of ChileAtiende faced three challenges:

  • To design strategies that would transform the work culture of public services …
  • To succeed in extending the hours of service provided to the public by the institutions involved.
  • To succeed in achieving a necessary coordination between the first 25 participating public services.”

.The portal content was reviewed continuously by a specialised team to ensure the reliability of the information provided. The customer relationship management system has progressively been strengthened to manage citizen requests and minimise operational errors.

Measurement Strong

There were several parameters used to measure the impact over the period of time, such as cost-savings for both the public administration and Chilean citizens:

  • Citizens’ savings were calculated from the number of network contacts plus a set of savings parameters (from a nationally representative citizen survey).
  • Infrastructure savings were calculated as the amount of investment that institutions using ChileAtiende would have had to make to get the geographical coverage achieved by the programme.
  • Qualitative as well as quantitative evaluation was carried out, using survey techniques such as focus groups and anonymous inspection.
  • There was regular monitoring of customer satisfaction with the service.

Alignment Good

The General Secretariat of the Presidency led the project, which required the cooperation between numerous public agencies in in order to connect with citizens. “This project, the result of an important collaboration between various institutions, is part of … the modernization, decentralisation and strengthening of democracy and is part of the presidential commitments on May 21, when President urged public institutions to build a state [that was] 100% at the service of citizens." [8]

ChileAtiende enables the government to connect with its citizens in remote rural areas in providing public services.

There was “initial resistance against change within the Institute of Social Security as before implementation of ChileAtiende the civil servants from the IPS received requests just from pensioned persons; under ChileAtiende they would receive them from the service users of different institutions." [9] This was overcome by the members of the ChileAtiende team. “The solution was to implement a programme of change management and to explain the benefits to the civil servants and for their careers." [10]