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Mon, May 22, 2017
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K.E.P. - The C.A.B. of Greece

K.E.P. Centres - Citizen's Advice Bureaus of Greece

Crete's CAB Help to the British or Irish Ex-pat Community

ΚΕΠ Κέντρα Εξυπηρέτησης Πολιτών

Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) - Greek Style
( Κέντρα Εξυπηρέτησης Πολιτών )

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.

Facilitating Payments Through KEP Citizens Service Centers

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

Payment Services Already Provided For

  • Payment of DEH - electricity, OTE (telephone) bills
  • Payment of insurance charges toward IKA and OAEE (TEVE) (social insurance)
  • Income tax payment
  • VAT payment
  • Payment of private telephone charges toward companies of fixed and mobile telephony (Vodafone, Cosmote, Tellas)
  • Renewal of talk-time on mobile cards (Cosmote, Vodafone, TIM, Q-telecom, Frog and MoMad)
  • Credit card payments of all Greek Banks
  • Piraeus Bank loan re-payments

Dial 1564 - KEP National Hotline
Dial 1564 in Greece at a local call rate for KEP
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.

Other Useful Reference Pages on Ex-pat Living in Crete:

Schools for Foreign Children
Being part of the EU, Greece through state organisations has sponsored Schools for Foreign Children, including the EU, European School Heraklion. A true experience of bringing the kids over in "Making the Leap with Kids".

Public Utilities
Public Utilities - Electricity and water. Explanation of billing.

Living in Winter is Different
Crete - you know the weather is good that is why you come to Southern Greece but Crete also has a winter climate and its house heating implications.

Healthcare :: Public and Private 
Essential reading, including the private Cretan Medicare Centres.

Cretan Culture
Retaining language and customs yet making foreigners feel inclusive along with choices in local TV Viewing.

Cost of Living 2016 Update
More important direct feedback from those experiencing settling in Greece or who have been there awhile. In the chatter, they mention the differences in supermarket prices and where to obtain favourite goodies, edibles and household products from "back home". All in all, it is a good barometer of the cost of living when on a fixed monthly income when resident in Greece.

Save Water When Staying on A Greek Island
Water is a scarce resource that dwindles each year. Our helpful page on conservation of water lists a number of invaluable tips, ones that are common sense in reality. These tips show how easy it is to make the water that you use go further without investment or extra effort. The tips go a long way to help keep your garden and plants well watered thus ensuring they are green and healthy in a Mediterranean setting.

Stores and Supermarkets Grocery Shopping
From small village stores, to large supermarket chains, like Carrefour and Lidl, Crete has it all. A Quick guide to what is available.

Citizens Advice Bureaus in Greece (K.E.P.)
Your short cut to the Ministries and who is responsible for what.