Author: Natalia Varazi
On 16th of November, 2017, within the framework of “Open Government Partnership” (OGP), the Government of Tbilisi adopted Tbilisi OGP Action Plan 2017. In May 2016 the working group for development, promotion and monitoring of implementation of the Action Plan within the framework of “Open Government Partnership” was created. The working group is composed of representatives from various non-governmental organizations and international programs, including: “Open Society Georgia Foundation”, “Institute for Development of Freedom of Information” (IDFI), “Transparency International Georgia”, USAID Program on “Good Governance Initiative in Georgia” and “Delegation of the European Union to Georgia” program.
Tbilisi Government is planning to present its Action Plan 2017 on December 7-9 at the “Open Government Partnership’s” Global Summit in Paris. As for the obligations defined by the Action Plan, it is noteworthy that it includes 5 main obligations presented below:
Obligation 1 – Introduction of Multi-Discipline Mechanism of Open Government and Civil Participation – Information and Civil Activities Portal “Smart Map”
“Smart Map” is an electronic portal which will enable Tbilisi residents to receive information related to ongoing construction works, tree cutting and infrastructural processes. Furthermore, by means of “Smart Map”, the residents of Tbilisi will have an opportunity to share any problems that exist in the city and express their ideas to resolve these problems.
“Smart Map” will enable Tbilisi residents to actively participate in the city governing processes and receive comprehensive information related to it.
Start of the “Smart Map” launch process is planned for January 2017 and shall be finished in December of the same year. The entities responsible for implementation of the aforementioned obligation are: NCLE Municipal Services Development Agency, the Administration of Tbilisi Municipality, Municipal Legal Department, Municipal Department of Environment and Landscaping, Municipal Amenities Department and Municipal Department of Economic Development.
Obligation 2 – Introduction of Petition in Municipality System, Electronic Petition
Within the framework of Tbilisi Action Plan 2017 it is planned to introduce “Petition to the Mayor” - an integrated application for Tbilisi Municipality, which will enable Tbilisi residents to create petitions on important issues and invite other people to be a signatory.
The Portal will include information on the required number of signatures for the petition, as well as the terms of reviewing and responding to it. The entities responsible for implementation of the given obligation are: NCLE Municipal Services Development Agency and Tbilisi Municipal Legal Department. As for the implementation stages, the electronic petition portal shall be launched in March 2017.
Obligation 3 –Implementation of Participatory Budget Planning Mechanism
By March 2017 it is planned to implement the mechanism which will ensure involvement of Tbilisi residents in budget planning mechanisms and enable access to the information related to it. For this purpose, an integrated electronic platform will be created, enabling the residents of Tbilisi to have an access to the information related to the previous year’s budget allocation and priorities of the current budget. Furthermore, interested person will have an opportunity to mark/select their priority issues in budget planning. Consideration of the aforementioned priorities will be mandatory at any stage of formation and approval of budget. On the same portal will be published comparison between finally approved budget and budget developed by Tbilisi Residents. All the differences will be explained in writing. Noteworthy, the electronic portal will have sections for comments, discussions and remarks to the Municipality.
Implementation of participatory budget planning mechanism is carried out by Tbilisi Municipal Department of Finance, NCLE Municipal Services Development Agency, Tbilisi Municipal Legal Department and Districts administrations and shall be finished by May 2017.
Obligation 4 – Interactive Accessibility to Budget Spending and Introduction of Civil Control Mechanisms
This obligation aims to increase surveillance of Tbilisi residents on effective and targeted budget execution processes.
Based on current standings, information on budget execution is presented to the citizens only by the end of the year. Moreover, this information is given in the format, which complicates its processing and analysis. Therefore, it is planned to introduce a platform, which will enable the public to control budget execution and access budget related information on daily basis.
By means of the e-platform, Tbilisi citizens will have an opportunity to express their opinions on the ongoing budget spending processes.
The e-platform implementation shall be finished by December 2017 and this obligation is carried out by Tbilisi Municipal Department of Finance, NCLE Municipal Services Development Agency and Tbilisi Municipality Legal Department.
Obligation 5 – Introduction of Civil Control and Accessibility Mechanisms for Municipality Services
This obligation is implemented by NCLE Municipal Services Development Agency, Tbilisi Municipal Legal Department, Tbilisi Municipal Department of Healthcare and Social Services, Municipal Department of Education, Sport and Youth Affairs and 24 Tbilisi Municipality District Administrations.
The aim of the aforementioned obligation is to increase monitoring of services provided by Tbilisi Municipality. As a result, the number of transgressions from service providing municipality employees will maximally decrease.
For purposes of this obligation, Tbilisi Municipality is planning to authorize a special monitor group. Any interested person will be able to join the group. To become a member of the group it will be required to register in the civil monitor group. After registration the members of the group will be given cards. These cards will enable the civil monitor group members to easily access information related to services provided by Tbilisi Municipality.
Moreover, in order to introduce civil control and accessibility mechanisms for municipality services, an integrated web application will be created. This application will allow online access to all services provided by Municipal system. At first stage in 2017, health care, social services, education, sport and youth affairs will be included in web application.
By means of the application interested individuals will be able to create their online accounts and receive services and information without coming to Municipality.
It is noteworthy that Tbilisi Municipality undertakes all of the abovementioned obligations in the framework of the “Open Government Partnership’s” Pilot Program and with this step it actively gets involved in implementation of OGP Principles. We can assume that in the event that Tbilisi Action Plan 2017 is fully and timely implemented, involvement of Tbilisi residents in governing processes will dramatically increase and simplify.
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