SIMPLEX+ Program

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award


SIMPLEX+ is the Portuguese national simplification and modernization program, which envisages a citizen-centered approach and a strong focus on co-creation to facilitate the citizens and businesses' everyday life and their interaction with the public administration.

The responsibility for the program lies with the Minister of the Presidency and of Administrative Modernisation, with direct support from the Prime Minister. The Secretary of State Assistant and of Administrative Modernisation is in charge of coordinating and monitoring the program, with the technical support of the Administrative Modernization Agency (AMA).

The first edition of the program was in 2006, and between 2006 and 2011, more than 1 000 measures of administrative and legislative simplification and e-Government were successfully implemented across all Portuguese public administration.

After a brief interregnum from 2001-2016, SIMPLEX was re-launched in 2016 as SIMPLEX+, retaining its original feature of a nationwide cross-cutting program and adjusted to address new challenges in a new digital era.

As such, SIMPLEX+ combines in a single governmental program the objectives of: better regulation; reduction of the administrative burden; service interoperability; forms and procedures dematerialization; easy access to public services; cutting red tape; and the promotion of Digital Government. Moreover, some of the initiatives encompass more than one area and ministry, making the cooperation and coordination between different entities a prerogative of the program and enabling a more efficient public administration and a better service delivery to citizens and entrepreneurs.

The SIMPLEX+ considers the needs of the users of public services - citizens and businesses - as the key criterion to identify priority areas for action and the most appropriate simplification measures.

The program is highly participative and innovative and has a strong focus on co-creation, stimulating the participation of different stakeholders in the process of designing and defining the initiatives to be implemented by the public administration. Citizens, entrepreneurs and public servants are all consulted during the design of the initiatives and its subsequent implementation.

There are several meetings and design thinking sessions engaging different stakeholders all across the country, in which several measures are identified. Another relevant form of participation is the SIMPLEX+ website, which works as an open channel for communication and submission of suggestions and ideas through the SIMPLEX+ BOOK. The website is also an instrument for transparency, publicizing SIMPLEX+ activities and projects, their implementation stage and timelines, as well as the entities in charge for each of the initiatives.

The SIMPLEX+ program is also an opportunity to stimulate innovation and to invite innovators to look at the public administration.

With that in mind, the "Startup Simplex" competition was launched in 2016 as part of that year SIMPLEX+ edition, inviting Startups to present their ideas for services and products aimed at improving the Portuguese public administration. There were 196 projects submitted and the three winners had their ideas embedded in the 255 measures of SIMPLEX+ 2016.

Some of the most emblematic initiatives developed and implemented under SIMPLEX+ include, for example: the “On the Spot Firm”, that allows to register a company online in less than one hour; the “Citizen Card”, which is the national identification document combining five ID cards, and allowing electronic identification and electronic signature of documents; the “Born a Citizen” project, that enables birth registration and requesting the newborn’s Citizen Card at the maternity units/hospitals; the “Automatic Tax Declaration”, which made the Portuguese tax returns completely digital and automatic; and the “I lost my wallet” counter, which is a physical one-stop-counter where the citizen can renew most of his/her documents in case his/her wallet is lost or stolen.

The way the program is designed and executed has proven to be a successful and replicable model. The execution rate of the measures is very positive, ranging from 92% for SIMPLEX+ 2016, 83% for the 2017 edition and 32% already for the SIMPLEX+ 2018, which was launched in JUN18. Considering that 154 of the SIMPLEX+ 2018 initiatives are to be finished until the end of 2019 and that other 15 are to be completed until the end of 2020, the execution rate of the current edition is considered well on track.

Award info
Award category: new solutions to complex challenges - a public sector citizen-centric, sustainable and fit for the future - european or national level
Award type: award
Award year: 2019
Project type
Sector: cross-sectoral
Type of activity:
Keywords: Administrative Simplification; Citizen-Engagement; Co-creation; Digital Transformation; Public Service Delivery; Open Government
Short English description: SIMPLEX+ is the Portuguese national simplification and modernization program, which envisages a citizen-centered approach and a strong focus on co-creation to facilitate the citizens and businesses' everyday life and their interaction with the public administration.
Further information
Organisation: Administrative Modernization Agency
Other applicants:
Level of government: national level
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved: >15
Country: Portugal
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:

SIMPLEX+ Program (38.72496096367632, -9.14663851261139)
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