“Institute for Development of Freedom of Information” (IDFI) has significantly expanded the research activities and thus managed to gain analytical expertise in this direction.
Alongside with developing the research direction, on May 21, 2013 IDFI signed the Ethical and Quality Standards Document, developed with the support of the East-West Management Institute (EWMI) program “Policy, Advocacy and Civil Society Development in Georgia” (G-PAC).
The document presents comprehensive standards to guide the work of Georgian think tanks and establishes principles to ensure that the think tanks meet the highest possible professional standards. The ethical code covers the issues such as transparency, accountability and governance, while the quality standards focus on research, analysis, and advocacy processes.By signing this document,IDFIhas taken commitment and responsibility to follow the major principles. This will enhance the credibility and quality of the policy research.
In 2013 IDFI has prepared number of research papers on the following issues: access to information and good governance; media and digital broadcasting; internet and e-governance, public service reform, economy and social policy.
Access to Information and Good Governance
With the aim of improving the access to public information practice and the legislation, experts have prepared number of studies, including the analysis of international practice. The prepared studies basically covered the following issues: the openness of Government meetings, international legal practices of access to information, the concept of Information Commissionaire and etc.
It is notable that the results of studying the best international practices of access to information laid the groundwork for the recommendation package developed by the representatives of NGO sector and presented to the Georgian Government. Based on this document, government passed a resolution About the Form of the Electronic Request of Information and Proactive Disclosure of Public Information. With this legal act, completely new proactive standards are established to ensure the transparency and accountability of state agencies.
Media and Digital Broadcasting
In order to meet the challenges, connected to the process of digital switchover and to solve the existing problems, experts of the institute presented number of analytical products on various aspects of this issue, including: information campaign and financing, references and beneficiaries of a state subsidizing policy, competition regulating policy, technical and technological aspects, digital broadcasting multiplex access tariffs, strategy of Georgia’s digital switchover and recommendations.
It is notable that the strategies and initiatives, elaborated by IDFI were used by the government in the process of developing the strategy in this direction in 2014, which can be seen as one of the major achievements of the organization.
Internet and E-governance
In 2013 organization significantly expanded the research activities on the e-governance issues. In particular, organization became more active in analyzing the Georgian reality and foreign practice in terms of engaging citizens in public policy with the help of the modern technologies. Analysts have elaborated the comprehensive methodology of assessing the communication between the state institutions and citizens and based on this, prepared the studies on the following issues: role of telephone communication between the government institutions and citizens, social networks and official online resources, communication strategy and etc.
What’s more important, based on international practice, IDFI team prepared the paper on which features and mechanisms should be available on citizen participation platform www.ichange.ge and later presented to the government. It is notable that within the frames of the international initiative “Open Government Partnership” (OGP) Georgian government took the commitment of introducing the citizen platform which aims at implementing the necessary tools in order to ensure the citizen participation in decision-making process.
One of the major premises of e-governance is development of internet. In order to display the main tendencies in this direction, IDFI team conducted number of surveys about the users of internet and the major aspects around this issue. Furthermore, IDFI prepared the analysis of legal basis of e-communication (on national level) and public consultations (on international level)
Public Service Reform
IDFI got actively involved in the reform of public service since 2013 based on the expertise that the organization researchers owned in this direction. Organization offered the society its own analysis and position regarding the issues such as disciplinary liability in civil service, concept of whistleblower and international practice, remuneration system and the experience of other countries.
Later, in close collaboration with the state chancellery, together with Grigol RObakidze University and Smart Consulting, started implementing the "Development of Civil Service Concept and Action Plan" project. Concept, developed within the frames of this initiative must contribute to producing the modern model of civil service.
It is notable that the organization is still involved in drafting the civil service strategy and action plan.
Economy and Social Policy
One of the newest research directions of the organization is assessing and analyzing the economic and social policy of the country. For instance, in 2013 IDFI experts presented their views on the certain aspects of relation between the employer and the employee as well as labor legislation.
It is notable that the Ministry of Justice of Georgia partly considered the recommendations of IDFI regarding the issue of theright of employees to claim a compensation for unused vacation in cases of labor contract termination.
In 2013 IDFI started the “State-owned enterprises (SOE) and their efficiency in Georgia; Focus: Agriculture Sector” project which is being implemented within the frames of the Think Tank Support Grants Program. Project aims at studying the conditions of those state-owned enterprises, whose shares of 50% or more are under direct or indirect ownership of the state. Research aims at determining the effectiveness and the expediency of the existence of such enterprises. IDFI implements this project in cooperation with the Tax Payers Union within the frames of the East-West Management Institute program Policy, Advocacy and Civil Society in Georgia.
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