From 1 June 2012 to 31 May 2013 “Institute for Development of Freedom of Information” (IDFI), in cooperation with “Center for Post-Soviet Studies” (CPSS) was implementing a project “Development of e-participation in Georgia” with the financial support of the grant “Partnership for Change”, within the framework of the USAID program of “East-West Management Institute” “Public Policy, Advocacy and Civil Society Development in Georgia” (G-PAC).
The purpose of the project was, based on the research and analysis of the best international examples and practice of e-governance and e-participation, familiarizing the Georgian society with the necessary tools for enhancing the level of their involvement in political planning and to find the ways to adopt and improve the government/civil platforms in order to assist development of modern e-communications in Georgia.
In order to develop e-communication in Georgia, government must take effective steps. As the interaction is bilateral process, along with the political willingness, citizen activeness is important; thus effort of both sides is decisive. In the frames of the project “Development of e-Participation in Georgia” project team studied various aspects of e-democracy and e-participation through analyzing the examples of the countries that have serious achievements in this field. We present the recommendations elaborated based on the detected tendencies. These recommendations may contribute to the process of introducing e-services in Georgia.
Firstly, government and public institutions must create the complete public relation strategic plan, identify priorities, plan activities.
It is important to mark off the competences in PR departments of public institutions and define who will be responsible for administrating various communicational tools (web-pages, social networks, public information, e-services, petition, etc).
Similarly to written correspondence, letters received through e-mails and online contact forms must be given official status. It would be desirable to create public registry similarly to the document registry.
Institutions must keep records of questions, comments, complaints of citizens sent via various facilities (telephone, e-mail, social networks etc.) as well as responses. Institutions must define the exact dates and forms of response to citizen questions.
In order to provide citizen participation in political processes and planning, it is important to implement various interaction-oriented services – blog, forum, petition, voting, public consultations with the help of which citizen participation in decision making will be guaranteed.
Simultaneously to introducing e-services, institutions must make sure that applications have no technical flaws. In order to improve the service, public institution must take the advice of citizens and specialists, express readiness to cooperate and provide feedback which is easier through various communicational tools like polls, feedback forms, meetings, public discussions.
In order to mobilize and encourage the activeness of the citizens, government must conduct effective information campaign and inform the broad segment of society about their rights and mechanisms they can use.
According to the international responsibility, Government must urgently elaborate, adopt and technically implement the citizen platform ichange.ge.
Working group must be set up in State Chancellery the main competence of which will be effective communication with citizens (including e-communication). This group must be responsible for creating and enacting citizen platform ichange.ge.
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