OGP Georgia Action Plan for 2014-2015 – Completed and Unfulfilled Commitments

Georgia has recently started working on its third Open Government Action Plan, while it has yet to complete the main commitments of the second one. The study presents the reasons why second Action Plan commitments were not met, possible consequences and recommendations to be considered in the future.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international initiative that was launched in 2011 and currently includes 69 states. OGP member states develop annual action plans and voluntarily take on commitments to promote open government principles of transparency, accountability, citizen participation, and technology and innovation. Georgia joined the OGP in 2011. The action plan development process is coordinated by the Open Government Georgia Forum (Forum), which unites representatives of government, international and non-governmental organizations, and is co-chaired by the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).


The goal of this study is not to offer an alternative evaluation of the OGP Georgia Action Plan for 2014-2015. It rather aims to discuss the reasons for the failure to meet its commitments and develop effective recommendations that can be of use to the Forum moving forward. For this purpose, IDFI decided to present a simplified version of the evaluationconducted by the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM). IDFI, as the Forum co-chairman, together with other members shares the responsibility on the completed and unfulfilled commitments. Our goal is to assist the Forum to better plan future action plans.
The OGP Georgia Action Plan for 2014-2015 included 29 commitments and 16 state agencies responsible for their implementation. The commitments included in the second action plan were developed on the basis of cooperation between the government and non-governmental organizations and public consultations held across the country (19 public meetings with 700 total participants were held in 15 cities).
Of the 29 total commitments 9 have not been completed. This result is based on the comparison of the action plan indicators with the actual results at the end of 2015.

Unfulfilled Commitments
(Open Government Partnership Georgia Action Plan 2014-2015)
# Commitment Responsible Entity Indicators Result

 

1 E-petitions portal I-Change.ge Government Administration E-petitions on the I-Change Portal are launched and properly functioning.

 

The portal is not operational.
2 Freedom of Information Act (FoI) draft Ministry of Justice Draft law is presented to the Parliament of Georgia.

 

The draft law has not been presented to the Parliament.
3 Interactive statistics and crime mapping Ministry of Internal Affairs The interactive statistics and crime mapping system is launched and operational in a test version.

 

The test version has not been launched.
4 Asset declaration monitoring system LEPL Civil Service Bureau Proposal on monitoring system is submitted to the Government of Georgia; Agreement on the monitoring system model is reached; The system is operational.

 

The system is not operational.
5 Citizen’s Portal (www.my.gov.ge) LEPL Justice House Number of users increased by 15% by the end of 2015 compared to 2014; Number of e-services increased by 10% compared to 2014.

 

The number of users has not increased.
6 Establish a mechanism to inform the public on budgetary processes Ministry of Finance Institutionalized mechanism for informing public on budgetary processes is created.

 

Activities were limited to publishing of data on the ministry website in substandard formats.

 

7 Digital preservation system:
E-archive
LEPL National Archives of Georgia Technical requirement and functionality of the System is elaborated, as well as necessary legislative framework in place.

 

A general concept was developed but the system was never launched.

 

 

8 Introduction of e-governance
in local self-governments
LEPL Public Service Development Agency E-governance is implemented in 10 municipalities; Decrease of time for service delivery; Increased number of local citizens engaged in decision making process on the local level.

 

E-governance has been introduced in only 6 municipalities.
9 Access to educational services (school certificates and diplomas) in Public Service Halls LEPL Public Service Development Agency Number of service users throughout the country The services are not available at Public Service Halls.

 

 

 

 

Completed Commitments
(Open Government Partnership Georgia Action Plan 2014-2015)
# Commitment Responsible Entity Indicators

 

1 Travel insurance services at Public Service Halls

 

LEPL Justice House Service of insurance companies is provided at Public Service Halls.

 

2 Services of National Agency for State Property Management
in Public Service Halls
LEPL Justice House Citizens are able to obtain services for privatizing or leasing of national property in Public Service Halls.

 

3 Voice of the Consumer LEPL Justice House, Ministry of Justice

 

The project Voice of the Consumer is operational.

 

4 JUSTdrive LEPL Justice House JUSTdrive service is operational.

 

5 Development of community centers in Georgia

 

LEPL Public Service Development Agency

 

The number of local citizens using the services of Community Centers; Their satisfaction; The number of events organized in community centers.
6 Transformation of public libraries for regional
development
LEPL Public Service Development Agency

 

The number of local citizens using services of the new libraries; their satisfaction with the provided literature, infrastructure and delivered services; the number of trainings conducted for librarians.
7 Digital signature and online authentication LEPL Public Service Development Agency

 

Number of organizations having introduced digital
stamp/seal; Number of digitally signed/sealed document types within Public Service Development Agency.
8 Open data portal
(data.gov.ge)
LEPL Data Exchange Agency

 

Open data portal – data.gov.ge is created and operational.
9 Coordination and support of the Open Government
Georgia Forum
Ministry of Justice

 

Forum sessions are held on regular basis, minutes are published on the webpage.
10 Transparency and impartiality of public service recruitment

 

LEPL Civil Service Bureau

 

The rules for recruitment of public servants are adopted by the government.
11 Political party financial declarations

 

State Audit Office

 

Financial declarations of political parties submitted to the State Audit Office are published in machine-readable format on the official webpage of SAO.
12 Accessibility of Ministry of Interior’s webpage to
people with special needs
Ministry of Internal
Affairs
Official webpage of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is accessible for the people with disabilities; Online consultation and interviewing tool is launched on the website.
13 Proactive publishing of surveillance data

 

The Supreme Court

 

Surveillance statistics are published on the webpage of the Supreme Court of Georgia.
14 Public awareness of the electoral process Center of Electoral Systems Development, Reforms and Trainings

 

High level of public awareness; Active public participation in the elections.
15 Public e-procurement system extended – “Everyone Sees Everything”

 

LEPL State Procurement Agency

 

E-Contest module is operating through Unified Electronic System of State Procurement (Ge-GP).
16 Digital human resource management system for the public service

 

LEPL Civil Service Bureau

 

Electronic system for the management of human resources is launched in public agencies.
17 Openness and accessibility
of national archives
LEPL National Archives of Georgia

 

Relevant legislative framework is in place; Archive documents are available in electronic format.
18 Electronic catalogues of Ministry of Internal Affairs
(MIA) archives
Ministry of Internal
Affairs
Electronic catalogue for documents preserved in the archive of former National Security Committee is created and gradually published.
19 Increase efficiency and transparency of public finance management
system
LEPL Financial
Analytical Service
Number of users of eTreasury, eBudget, eDMS and eAuction; Dynamics of complaints received on the hotline number 1551; Number of trainings delivered while implementing the systems.
20 Develop alternative channels to connect to ‘112’ LEPL 112 Alternative channels to connect to ‘112’ developed.

 

Reasons for Failure to Meet the Commitments

Currently, Georgia is working on its third OGP action plan. Consultations on Open Government Partnership Georgia Action Plan 2016-2017 are underway (Recommendations of IDFI on Perspective Commitments for the Open Government Partnership Georgia Action Plan 2016-2017). IDFI believes that identifying and discussing the reasons for failure to meet some of the commitments of the previous action plan will help better implement the next one.

Insufficient Resources
In some cases, responsible agencies were unable to properly evaluate and estimate their resources and capabilities.
For example, the Civil Service Bureau was responsible for setting up a monitoring system of asset declarations filed by public officials. This commitment was aimed at preventing corruption, and ensuring the integrity and transparency of the public service. The responsible agency prepared the legal basis, but was unable to launch the system.
The Civil Service Bureau failed to fulfill the commitment due to technical reasons, despite the fact that it had ample opportunity to properly evaluate and estimate the resources that would be required.
A similar problem prevented the LEPL National Archives of Georgia and LEPL Public Service Development Agency from launching a digital archive system and introducing e-government in local governments, respectively.
Reason Unknown

Unfortunately, the 9 unfulfilled commitments include 3 of main commitments of the second OGP action plan. These are: 1. E-petitions platform (ICHANGE.GE); 2. Interactive statistics and crime mapping (both commitments were included in the action plan based on IDFI’s recommendation); and 3. Reform of the legislation on Freedom of Information. All three commitments are reformative and directly related to OGP’s main principles.
Even though all of the technical and practical preparations were made for the launch of the e-petitions platform and the freedom of information reform, their implementation was delayed indefinitely for unknown reasons. The same happened in relation to interactive statistics and crime mapping. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ progress report presented to the OGP Georgia Forum, the ministry was actively working on implementing the commitment and had already taken practical steps, however, in the end, the process was stopped for no apparent reason.
Conclusion

Georgia is recognized as an exemplary OGP member state. The country has served as a member of the OGP Steering Committee since 2014, which places its actions under an international spotlight.
In order for Georgia to remain on the front line of reforms, maintain its distinctive position in the Open Government Partnership and have a chance to become a co-chairman or chairman of this international initiative, the government and individual state agencies must be more responsible, undertake ambitious commitments and, most importantly, fulfill them. Taking on significant commitments and then refusing or failing to complete them will damage Georgia’s international prestige and reputation.
The Georgian people also expect the government to fulfill its OGP commitments. The Georgian model of cooperation between the government and civil society within the OGP framework is recognized internationally. The government’s failure to implement key civil society recommendations will have a negative impact on this cooperation and will give rise to distrust and nihilism towards the OGP process among the citizens and the civil society.
Recommendations
IDFI calls on the Georgian government to consider the following recommendations when planning and implementing future OGP action plans:
1. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) must be a national priority for Georgia. Commitments included in new action plans must be accompanied with a clear political will and intent of fulfilling them.
2. The commitments included in future OGP action plans must be not only realistic but also ambitious. Their results must be large-scale, tangible and transformational.
3. The commitments that are directly related to OGP principles must be prioritized during implementation. This recommendation was also made by the IRM.
4. Public consultations demonstrated the need for more commitments that have a direct impact on the everyday lives of citizens. The same was recommended by the IRM.
5. The indicators used to evaluate the successful completion of commitments must be clear and realistic.
6. Georgia must undertake more commitments aimed at introducing OGP principles at the local government level. The commitments undertaken by OGP member states in this regard are most commonly related to electronic platforms, participatory budgeting and proactive disclosure of public information in easy-to-use formats.
7. The Open Government Georgia Forum must be expanded to include more state agencies that will be able to take on and implement effective and ambitious commitments.

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