K.E.P. Centres are Crete, Greece's version of the UK's Citizen's Advice Bureaus (CAB). Modern Greece uses the Ombudsman concept and local government through the K.E.P. network of local centres. K.E.P.offices are a gateway for residents of all nationalities, including the Brits and Irish Ex-Pats to help cut through official Greek government red tape and endless bureaucracy. In fact, come to think of it, "bureaucracy" is a Greek word, and with some 3,000 years of a continuous legal system, and resulting contradicting laws, there are some amazing contradictions in the ways to get things accomplished when dealing with government at all levels. That is where K.E.P. offices and staff come in to their own and are proving to be most useful.
At the grass roots level, K.E.P. is your likely first contact with local government (Municipalities and Prefectures) and the Greek national government departments.
K.E.P. Centres are part of The Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization (MIPAD) - ΥΠΕΣ.
The main objective of K.E.P. is to simplify the procedures and bureaucracy related to the Greek Government. Staff help with supplying the correct forms for various Ministries and government departments. The list of available license applications, tax forms etc is increasing year by year.
There is a K.E.P. Centre in most municipalities, usually quite close to the local Town Hall or part of it. The Greek Government is endeavouring to ensure there is at least one staff member in a K.E.P. Centre who speaks English to help foreigners. That is an incredibly helpful move when 99 per cent of all Greek government documents are still only in Greek. Through individual initiatives you may be surprised at the local level to even find some guidance documents in English. There should be at least one French and one German member of K.E.P. staff locally who speak those languages, as well. In the past couple of years there has a been a sea change in attitude of Greek civil servants from being offhanded and helpful to being exceptionally friendly and accommodating. But Greeks are, well Greek, so be prepared for an off day as you would anywhere in the world.
K.E.P. Centres, opening hours: 0800hrs-2000hrs Monday-Friday, 0800hrs-1400hrs Saturdays. 24/7 Telephone Hotline number is 1564.
As part of the Greek National Policy on converting the workings of the administration into e-government (part of the epactice.eu project), KEP has piloted an electronic payment scheme through their network of branches mnaged by Piraeus Bank. On the island of Crete, Chania Prefecture is one of the 23 KEP centres nationwide with the electronic payment service. MIPAD is rapidly moving to installation of electronic cash payment equipment in the entire KEP network
Dial 1564 - KEP National Hotline
The K.E.P. national telephone hotline number (at local call rates) throughout Crete and Greece is 1564. Usually at least one member of the K.E.P. customer service local staff will speak English, French or German or all three.
Reminder of the URL of the main K.E.P. website in English (also in French and German, as well). Check the web site for the opening hours of Greece's K.E.P. local government offices as they may be quite different from UK's Citizen's Advice Bureaus.
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