A case study submitted by The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) on the innovative Azerbaijani Service and Assessment Network (ASAN) has been selected for publication in an official report from the UK House of Lords Select Committee on Digital Skills. The submission was made by Lionel Zetter, Director, TEAS. It says: “Although not a British case study, the UK Government can learn from the ASAN model about the delivery of public services.” It goes on to contextualise such approaches in relation to the UK, where central and local government budgets for public services are being slashed, yet the public still expects a high standard of services to be supplied. It continues by explaining that such innovations as ASAN serve to increase the amount of data sharing between service providers, thereby enhancing efficiency and driving down costs.
According to the submission, all ASAN service payments are made online and that “the quality and speed of services is faster than in the UK. Through digital innovation, services have become much more responsive and cost-effective, and opportunities for corrupt transactions are eliminated.” It draws parallels in the UK with the Universal Credit transaction concept, which is currently in its pilot stage.
The ASAN concept – aimed at reducing corruption and increasing efficiency – was launched in January 2013. The sixth ASAN Centre was opened in May 2014 and the network will cover the whole of Azerbaijan by the end of 2015. Each centre provides services to around 2000 people on a daily basis, and more than two million people, to date, have used ASAN. The centres are completely transparent, corruption-free zones with minimal bureaucracy, and supply 29 private and 150 public services, bringing various government representatives under one roof. Accountability is a cornerstone of ASAN, and citizens are encouraged to make suggestions and give feedback. Features include crèches and mothercare rooms, and the centres are intended to be as user-friendly as possible.