The Ministry of Interior has issued updated instructions on procedures to introduce One Window Service mechanisms at all commune halls across the country. The service was introduced through a sub-decree in 2017.

According to the nine-page directive issued by Minister of Interior Sar Kheng in mid-May and seen by The Post this week, commune administrations need to set up the One Window office to provide public services more efficiently.

Sar Kheng said commune halls should be places where many services can be obtained by the public in a simple, quick, transparent and credible way.

The One Window office will be under the authority of the commune chief with the commune clerk as administrator.

“The One Window office should be established in the compound of the commune hall or a similar location which is easy for people to access. It should be equipped with the equipment necessary to provide these services, as well as a notice board which can be used to share information with the public,” he said.

Each commune hall must also set up a counter for providing information and receiving documents from the public. The counter should be labelled “information and receiving document” or “cashier”. A table showing the fixed price of all services must also be on display.

There should be a comfortable waiting area for people and the phone numbers of officials ought to be available so the public can ensure that their queries are answered.

The One Window office will also be able to receive applications that are beyond the commune level, in which case they will be forwarded to relevant ministries or institutions.

Local people may submit complaints about service provision at the ombudsman office or any “citizens’ office” located at the district hall.

San Chey, executive director of the NGO Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said the One Window service is currently not perfect, but acceptable. He expected that delegating the service to the commune level would move it closer to the public.

“We want [the state] to conduct a thorough study on the needs of the people at the community level to make service quicker for them. Some people live far from their district halls, so placing the One Window office at the commune level is really responsive to their needs,” he said.

Chey said that making the service more accessible is particularly important for women and young entrepreneurs, as it improves the business environment and makes it simpler for them to register their businesses legally.

Keo Romdet, Stung Trang commune chief in Pailin province’s Sala Krao district, said he was happy to receive this instruction, as it could respond to the needs of the people more quickly.

“This service makes it easier for people to access public officials and documents. Commune offices are closer to more people’s home so they will avoid wasting time – especially because district officials are often busy with larger jobs. This will help to end the delays which cause frustration among members of the public who need faster service,” he added.