The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) will cut the work of its service offices in small towns from five days a week to three. The change has already been made in three cities and will be imposed in eight other cities from the new year.
From the new year, PPA service offices in Kuressaare, Paide, Rapla, Jõgeva, Põlva, Võru, Valga and Viljandi will be open for service three days a week.
In Valga and Viljandi, service points will be open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Service offices in other cities will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m to 5 p.m.
Haapsalu, Rakvere and Kärdla have already switched to the three-day service period. "The reduction of opening hours and the reduction of staff will probably lead to an increase in waiting times in the service office, but the experience so far shows that customers are understanding and that our employees are mostly satisfied with the work organization," PPA spokesperson Britta Sepp said.
The decision to limit daily opening hours was made by the PPA after a review of statistics, which were came from monitoring a Tallinn service office.
"We have tested the longer opening hours of the offices in Tallinn. Statistics showed that the actual attendance at 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. was extremely low," PPA identity and status bureau coordinator Marit Abram said.
The PPA will reduce admission times to meet the government's austerity plan. It will be possible to use self-service digital kiosks on all working days, where document applications can be submitted. Taking a photo, signing and giving a fingerprint at a digital kiosk is free of charge
"Currently, 45 percent of all applications are submitted at the self-service, meaning almost half of the PPA's customers have not come to the service counter. At the same time, a lot of people who have the digital capability, come to the service offices in smaller locations because the service times are shorter there. People could actually do all of that without visiting the service counter," Sepp said.
Editor: Roberta Vaino