Once-Only Principle

The EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 is guided by the following vision:

"By 2020, public administrations and public institutions in the European Union (EU) should be open, efficient and inclusive, providing borderless, personalized, user-friendly, end-to-end digital public services to all citizens and businesses in the EU. Innovative approaches are used to design and deliver better services in line with the needs and demands of citizens and businesses. Public administrations use the opportunities offered by the new digital environment to facilitate their interactions with stakeholders and with each other."

The once-only principle is among the seven underlying principles of this action plan to make government more effective, simpler and reduce administrative burdens for citizens and businesses by re-using data within government. The principle requires public administrations to:

"ensure that citizens and businesses supply the same information only once […]. Public administration offices take action if permitted to internally re-use this data, in due respect of data protection rules, so that no additional burden falls on citizens and businesses." (EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020)

Vision for the Once-Only Principle

On the basis of the Action Plan of the EU, the SCOOP4C partners have defined the following four-fold vision for once-only implementations for citizens:

  1. In 2020, the Once-Only Principle (OOP) has become a centerpiece of public administration with a clear commitment to transparency, privacy, and data protection.
  2. The once-only principle is so well-understood by active citizens that it is demanded from their respective public administrations. The general public is aware of the significant reduction of administrative burden and trusts implementations of once-only, based on their ability to verify and track the compliant use of their data at all times. 
  3. The public administration values the benefits delivered by realising the once-only principle, such as improved quality of data and efficiency gains, and thus consider it as the default option for any new administrative process or reform of existing processes. Based on the full political commitment, any deviation from the once-only principle needs to be explicitly justified. 
  4. The legislative, organizational, and technological framework for implementing once-only opens up new opportunities for innovative private sector services aimed at citizens.

SCOOP4C will engage with stakeholder communities to investigate how this vision can be effectively implemented by governments in 2020.