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From Red Tape to Smart Tape

Administrative Simplification in OECD Countries

From Red Tape to Smart Tape by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
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"Too much red tape" is one of the most common complaints from businesses and citizens in OECD countries. Filling out forms, asking for permits and licences, etc.,  is often extremely complex and cumbersome, generating unnecessary regulatory burdens. When excessive in number and complexity, administrative formalities can impede innovation, create unnecessary barriers to trade, investment and economic efficiency, and even threaten the legitimacy of regulation and the rule of law.

This report looks at a set of tools and practices commonly used by governments to make administrative regulations simpler and less burdensome to comply with:

one-stop shops (physical as well as electronic);

simplification of permits and licence procedures;

time limits for decision-making;

assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises in implementing regulation;

methods to measure administrative burdens;

organisational and structural approaches to administrative simplification, and, more broadly,

the use of IT-driven mechanisms.

Governments increasingly focus on efforts to simplify administrative regulations. This report shows how innovative thinking and skilful use of IT in many areas are leading to new and more effective approaches to administrative regulation. In this respect, “smart tape” may soon be a more appropriate label for many governments’ approach to administrative regulations.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; January 2003
264 pages; ISBN 9789264100688
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Title: From Red Tape to Smart Tape
Author: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development