Effectiveness of Simplex: the case of Portuguese Social Security

  • António Alberto Nifrário de Pinho Tavares


Debureaucratization initiatives are usually welcomed due to the anticipation of its benefits. Although such was the case of Simplex, its effectiveness is yet understudied and thus this scientific article aims to make a balance of the implementation of Simplex project. This balance covers both its effectiveness on the specific case of the Portuguese Social Security System as well as its levers and blockages in the ultimate goal of debureaucratize.

The scarcity of information about Simplex impact encouraged this exploratory research as well as the methodological option that backed up a qualitative approach. Findings suggest Simplex is much more than deadlines and cost decrease, and improving people’s lives. It is not just information and communication technologies (ICT), administrative simplification and legislative simplification. Simplex has a 360º impact. It is relationship, communication and information.

To achieve this, measures must be transversal to Public Administration (PA) and the private sector, demanding participation, transparency and accountability, valuing the human resources, as the best asset, because it is necessary to guarantee equity and generate trust in citizens in order to uphold the image of Social Security. But this also requires working the culture, in its most diverse facets, all with the political commitment.

Overall, a suitable number of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that allow monitoring and the comparability of the results is required as well as identifying constraints and blockages, and implementing corrective measures to reduce the risks of Simplex. In this way can Simplex become a tool of continuous improvement.