Strategic and Political Setting
British Columbia business people had complained for years that the rules and procedures for registering a new or existing business were complicated and costly in terms of time and money. More specifically, they criticized the lack of integration among the different forms that had to be filled out and the muddled information about what office they had to go to.
The British Columbia government is also in the process of developing alternative methods of service delivery organized in terms of a client-focused approach. Due to budget demands and harsh economic conditions, cutting red tape soon became a popular trend under the New Democratic government that started the process. The new Liberal government plans to continue deregulating the economy. Through various measures, including an income-tax reduction, the new government also wants to make the province more attractive for economic development (Lunman, 2001). The new government, whose victory assured a sure thing a year before the elections, had time to prepare itself to govern. Extensive reforms are planned, including a substantial cutback in the size of government services. One of the new government's first steps was to reduce the size of Cabinet (Danard, 2001).
The alternative method of service delivery chosen reflects the growing complexity of government operations and the need to provide services with a horizontal dimension. British Columbia government personnel are familiar with the "Citizens First" survey conducted by the Public Administration Institute of Canada. They cite the survey in justifying the need to improve public services. The public administration is working in an environment where the public is more demanding and costs have to be reduced in a province whose geographic characteristics make travel difficult outside of the southwest corner.