The first version of the STEPS Handbook (Solutions for Telematics Between European Public Services) has now been issued by the European Nervous System (ENS) programme of EC support for the establishment of trans-European networks between administrations. Administrations play an important role in overcoming technical barriers in the European Community and, as lead-edge users, contribute to the improvement of an essential service infrastructure for business and the economy in general. To achieve this synergy, publicly available solutions must be used and developed by the administrative services. The justification for EC involvement is the creation of the "Virtual European Administrative Service", whereby individuals, wherever they may be, have the perception of a single, European administrative structure, although in reality the administrations operate nationally, regionally or locally. The use of advanced communications is a prerequisite for the achievement of this objective. The development of a handbook was seen as an integral part of work in this area, in order to provide compromise options and alternatives in several domains from which the responsible authorities can make choices which they consider appropriate. The STEPS handbook will contribute to the selection of information technology and telecommunications (IT&T) products and services, and the development of new application-specific software modules to support the information-related tasks identified in the requirements analysis phase of the projects. The Handbook is intended for staff responsible for initiating, specifying and implementing Euro-applications. While primarily directed to the system manager responsible for the implementation of new telematic applications, many of the topics should also be of interest to users involved in cross-border cooperation between administrations, and to senior managers. It is intended to provide practical advice in each problem area having reference to the collective experience of the ENS projects.