Unified client service centres for rural development and smart governance in Latvia
Latvia University of Agriculture, Faculty of Economics and Social Development, Institute of Economics and Regional Development, 18 Svetes Str., LV-3001 Jelgava, Latvia
Nowadays rapid increase of technological environment allows residents to be more mobile, choose working place, different from one’s place of residence, start a new business or transfer company to rural areas, thus promoting polycentric development of a territory and increasing capacity of rural territories. It means that government should think of smart governance and service provision, providing different government services at one place. From June 2015 until December 2015, under the concept of improvement of public service system, the government of the Republic of Latvia established 75 unified state and local government customer service centres. Service centres operate on a local basis and in accordance with the uniform principles, provide customer with one place to access multiple public services. The objective of the present article is to evaluate the necessity and current activity of unified customer service centres and their contribution to smart governance of the country. The necessity for unified client service centres in the rural areas were therefore assessed with the analysis of attributable data, theory on establishment of such centres, and residents’ survey, which showed that a big part of customers of the present centres are residents of neighbouring towns and cities where the regional governmental and local institutions are located, but they are attracted by the possibility to receive all the necessary services at one time.