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Resident service points

A tool for improving residents’ access to public services
Rzeszow / Poland
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Size of city: 
182 028 inhabitants


Barbara Onoszko
Inspector - Funds Raising Department - Municipality of Rzeszow - Rzeszow City Office
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This good practice is an example of organisational change. The City of Rzeszow (PL) set up external Resident Services Points (RSPs) to improve the accessibility and provision of public services. Four RSPs have opened since 2011 in easily accessible shopping malls that have extensive parking and are tailored to the needs of people with disabilities. RSP services include issuing ID cards and driving licenses and registering vehicles, as well as helping with official applications and providing information on local events.
This local self-government initiative was based on residents' needs as identified in a survey. Residents' expectations were taken into account when defining factors such as location, opening hours and the scope of services. As a result, people can visit the RSPs on their way to everyday activities such as shopping, entertainment or sports. The aim is to improve the quality and streamlined handling of official matters and to provide a comprehensive, professional service.

The solutions offered by the good practice

The Good Practice of Rzeszow is focused on organisational change in terms of direct service of applicants and the provision of public services by establishing the external Resident Services Points. RSPs are available in the easily accessible shopping malls (“Rzeszów Gallery”, Shopping Centre “Plaza”, “New World” Shopping Centre, “Millennium Hall” Cultural and Shopping Centre), offering facilities such as extensive parking, architectural solutions tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, and allowing the applicant to manage everyday matters (shopping, entertainment, sports).
RSPs are open six days a week (Monday-Saturday) from 10:00 to 18:00. RSPs cover almost all citizens' affairs: issue and exchange of ID cards; check-in for permanent or temporary stays, and checkout of permanent or temporary residences; PESEL number registration. RSPs also cover vehicle registration; vehicle sales reports; issue of driving licenses. Payment for the issue of a driving license or a registration certificate may be made at RSPs using a card (VISA, MasterCard).
In RSPs you can also get information about cultural and sports events in the city, arrange a meeting with a chosen official, and get help filling in official applications. RSPs also serve as feeder offices. RSPs provide the opportunity to settle a wide range of civic issues in comfortable conditions, including the needs of disadvantaged groups (persons with disabilities, seniors, women with children, etc.).

Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

One of the goals of Rzeszow authorities is a harmonious and sustainable development of urban life, taking into account the most recent problems of cities in terms of demographic (increasing number of urban dwellers, aging population), functional-spatial (spillover of cities) and territorial management. The creation of RSPs, aimed at meeting the expectations and needs of residents, is in line with direction of sustainable and integrated development. The RSPs are an expression of Rzeszow's concern for the welfare of the inhabitants and, more generally, of the whole community.
Their attractive locations, extended opening hours, the possibility of combining official dealings with other types of daily activities allowed all residents to save time, financial resources, etc. They counteract social exclusion by guaranteeing equal and free access to public administration services to people with disabilities (disabled, seniors, unskilled workers, etc.). They are also one of the tools to tackle environmental problems (including reducing CO2 emissions by reducing the number of journeys to official affairs etc.).
An integrated and participatory approach to solving contemporary urban challenges is evident in the way RSPs work. The scope of their activities is constantly adapted to the most up-to-date needs of the inhabitants (reported by the residents during the systematic consultations examining the functionality and effectiveness of their activities).

Based on a participatory approach

All activities undertaken for the development of the municipality of Rzeszow are realised with a participatory approach, and the implementation of new ideas takes place with the active participation of the local community. Taking into account the needs and perspectives of the residents positively influences their local identity, enhances their sense of responsibility and co-responsibility for the common good.
RSP implementation was preceded by meetings of the city president (and closest co-workers) with the inhabitants of the various housing estates, conducted during the period of January 2010 – July 2011, during which the inhabitants were consulted on the idea of launching the RSPs as well as the details related to their functioning (location, hours of operation, scope of competence etc.).
Based on the collected feedback, guidelines for the functioning of the first RSP were developed, meeting the needs of the inhabitants reported during the meetings. Periodic satisfaction surveys of residents were conducted (within the framework of UMR Quality Management System ISO 9001), where residents reported the need to launch further RSPs and presented ideas to improve those already functioning in the city. The ideas submitted were then analysed by the ORA, where legal/financial/organisational feasibility was investigated (evidence: summary report, ORA archive).

What difference has it made?

The analysis of the statistics shows that every year the number of cases settled in RSPs increases. Residents increasingly prefer to do all the formalities in the service points located in shopping malls, open from 10:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Saturday. In 2013 in RSPs handled about 20,000 cases, for example: - issue and exchange of over 6,000 identity cards; check-in, check-out, accounting for 15% of cases; vehicle registration, over 20% of cases; driving license - 16% of cases. In 2016 about 50,000 cases were handled in the RSPs.
The innovation effect of the solution is the satisfaction of customers through the extended working time of the office, greater availability of officials, the ability to handle many official matters in one place, the possibility to pay the required fees with a payment card, to provide a pleasant and professional service in a fast time, comfortable underground car park, elevator access.

Why should other European cities use it?

Bearing in mind Europe-wide trends in demographic, functional-spatial or social changes in cities, it is likely that other European countries will be interested in the Good Practice described above. Efficient execution of public tasks requires at least occasional contact with citizens, which in other European cities, as in Rzeszow is increasingly difficult due to the already mentioned general development trends.
Spilled into ever-expanding urban territory, urban citizens are increasingly unable to access the usual centres of government offices, resulting in declining local social solidarity, interest in the "life of the city" and its influence on the situation, and the avoidance of responsibility for coercion. The Rzeszow idea is an expression of interest by the authorities in the needs and expectations of citizens.