Action plan – Banská Bystrica, Slovak Republic, 2021 – 2022
Action plans are at the core of a government’s participation in OGP. They are the product of a co-creation process in which government and civil society jointly develop commitments to open governmen...: Action plan – Banská Bystrica, Slovak Republic, 2021 – 2022
Action Plan Submission: 2021
Action Plan End: August 2022
Lead Institution: City’s Leadership (i.e. mayor, vice-mayor, master)
30th July 2021
The city of Banská Bystrica (“municipality”) has become one of the world’s 56 municipalities that joined the OGP Local. With this it is joining the ambition for a transformative change, that mainly brings reforms in governance by attempting to redefine the relationship between the government or municipality and civil society/citizens, and redefine the means by which these groups interact, what rights and responsibilities they have so that this method is most open and cooperative. We can see more and more that in the current complex times, it is imperative to be innovative and adaptive. The innovation policies, that we currently need and which the open government is trying for, cannot be produced by governments alone, but cooperation with civic and other actors from different sectors is needed – be it political or academic. Cooperation with civil society brings into governance credibility, According to OGP’s Articles of Governance, transparency occurs when “government-held information (including on activities and decisions) is open, comprehensive, timely, freely available to the pub... More and responsibility. The ambition of the historically first open government action plan of our municipality is to create favorable conditions for the process of transformative change towards open governance. Meaning supporting the creation of a foundation, setting up and using the system, or its principles of open governance in accordance with the processes, projects, and creation of public policies of the municipal authority of B.Bystrica. Especially so in the key sectors for citizens’ livelihood – i.e. spatial planning, creation of development strategies and concepts, including environmental development. The ambition of the action plan is to also strengthen the skills and standing of employees of the office for the development of open governance and support continual and systematic work on the development of open governance strategy in B.Bystrica with the cooperation of local government actors, civic actors. Cooperation of municipality’s representative and civil society in further creation of strategy of open government is further described in the OGP commitments are promises for reform co-created by governments and civil society and submitted as part of an action plan. Commitments typically include a description of the problem, concrete action... no. 2.
Open Government Challenges, Opportunities and Strategic Vision
What is the long-term vision for open government in your context and jurisdiction?
The city of Banská Bystrica is creating its historically first open government action plan. So far, it did not have such a strategy at its disposal. With the entry into the Open Government Initiative, the municipality has vowed to create a long-term vision for open governance, that will be created by continual and systematic cooperation of local government and civic actors, based on 8 key topics that we have identified as crucial for the development of open government in our municipality. Through the process of open government, the municipality of Banská Bystrica wants to More and better information about aid helps partner countries and donor institutions plan and manage aid resources more effectively, parliaments and civil society to hold governments accountable for t... the creation and further improvement of the partnership between civic and municipality actors, which is at the same time a key motive of the planned strategy of open government. The motive for the creation of this strategy is also the development of democracy and the city’s ability to face complex global issues that require new elements in governance or managing public affairs in general.
What are the achievements in open government to date (for example, recent open government reforms)?
Even though the municipality of B.Bystrica did not have an open government strategy until now, it has been for a long time using several participative tools, and elements of open government are already well rooted into several regulations, statutes, resolutions, procedures – e.g. Generally binding Government reformers are developing regulations that enshrine values of transparency, participation, and accountability in government practices. Technical specifications: Act of creating or reforming ... of the City of B.Bystrica on the conditions for organizing and conducting a public meeting of the city’s residents and on providing subsidies from the budget of the City of B.Bystrica, Participatory Budget Statute, Statutes of Committees in City Districts and Civic Councils, Statutes of the Mayor’s Council for Non-Governmental Non-Profit Organizations, Students, Senior Citizens, Architecture and Urbanism, Codes of Ethics for Employees and Deputies, Rules of Procedure and Public Meetings of Municipal Authorities (City Council, City Board, Commission of the City Council), procedure of the City of B.Bystrica in the use of design competitions in the procurement of services in the field of architecture, spatial planning and civil engineering, “word for the public” in the city council. Engaging the public, implementation of several higher aforementioned regulations, statutes, or procedures, or implementation of open government processes (which are in some cases absent) are however not always carried out as imagined by the municipality or civil society. The improvement in this field is one of the issues our municipality will try to address through the open government action plan.
What are the current challenges/areas for improvement in open government that the jurisdiction wishes to tackle?
Current challenges of open government, that the municipality of Banská Bystrica wants to address are topics that municipal actors and civil society have together defined as crucial for the development of open governance within the participative process of creating the first open government action plan (see section 4.5). The cross-sectoral challenge overall is building up skilled and aligned people so that the open government culture can develop further, as well as building upon existing relationships between municipality and civil society towards a more open, trusting, and friendlier partnership.
What are the medium-term open government goals that the government wants to achieve?
Medium-term goals of open government, which the municipality of Banská Bystrica is interested in achieving, result from topics that the local government actors and civil society have together defined as key for the development of open governance within the participative process of creating the first open government action plan of our municipality.
The topics are as follows: 1.) Development of communication/cooperation of local government actors and civic actors; 2.) Development of According to OGP’s Articles of Governance, citizen participation occurs when “governments seek to mobilize citizens to engage in public debate, provide input, and make contributions that lead to m... More/involvement in public policy-making; 3.) Development of transparency and By opening up data and making it sharable and reusable, governments can enable informed debate, better decision making, and the development of innovative new services. Technical specifications: Polici...; 4.) Promoting OGP participating governments are bringing gender perspectives to popular policy areas, ensuring diversity in participatory processes, and specifically targeting gender gaps in policies to address gov... equality in governance; 5.) Strengthening the use of the open government system in the field of spatial planning; 6.) Strengthening the use of the open government system in the field of environmental management; 7.) Strengthening the use of the open government system in development activities; 8.) Support for anti-corruption policies and activities in the city.
How does this action plan contribute to achieve the Open Government Strategic Vision?
The action plan directly reacts to the demands of civil society that were created and coordinated with the employees of municipal authority so that they will be fully achievable. Taking into account the interconnectedness and diversity of individual commitments, their fulfillment will help improve mutual relations and will lead to a mutual understanding about processes as well as furthering open self-governance. Overall, more than 40 suggestions were collected in 8 key topics with different levels of overlap in the context of open government. The first action plan focused on integrating these commitments into initial commitments for developing (the culture of) open governance in our city as well as an individual vision of the city of Banská Bystrica’s open government.
How does the open government strategic vision contribute to the accomplishment of the current administration’s overall policy goals?
The current city management is, with their steps, coming closer to participating and engaging the public into the process of self-governance – that it sees as something that will eventually benefit all parties involved. City management endeavors to strengthen the cooperation between civic organizations within the city and be able to cooperate on the creation and implementation of various projects. The strategy/vision of open government within the city will be created while the action plan is in effect, so it will be possible to directly connect the actions of the current city government with the vision of further progress of the municipality itself.
Engagement and Coordination in the Open Government Strategic Vision and OGP Action Plan
Please list the lead institutions responsible for the implementation of this OGP action plan.
- City’s Leadership (i.e. mayor, vice-mayor, master)
What kind of institutional arrangements are in place to coordinate between government agencies and departments to implement the OGP action plan?
After accepting the action plan, individual commitments will be added to the regular agenda assigned to employees of the administration. The whole process and progress in fulfilling commitments will be supervised by the city management (in cooperation with the participant/open governance coordinator, who is the overall guarantor of the process).
What kind of spaces have you used or created to enable the collaboration between government and civil society in the co-creation and implementation of this action plan? Mention both offline and online spaces.
The creation (co-creation) process was ensured through the open governance platform consisting of three layers: 1st layer – the basic implementation team “Jadro” (core team), which consisted of 1 representative of the municipality and 2 representatives of cooperating non-profit civic organizations; 2nd layer – so-called the “Jadro+” Advisory Group, composed of actors from the civil and academic sectors, MPs and actors from the Municipal Authority; 3rd layer – the so-called “The Open Government Club”, which was made up of interested members of the general public. These groups have during the whole process regularly met through an online platform ZOOM since the creation of the action plan took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. For meeting transcripts we used an online platform Miro; important documents were shared through the Google Docs platform and in case of prioritizing commitment suggestions we chose an online platform Consider.it. In the moments when the pandemic allowed, some meetings of the “Jadro” group took place with the city management in person to facilitate the action plan production process.
What measures did you take to ensure diversity of representation (including vulnerable or marginalized populations) in these spaces?
At the beginning of creating the open government action plan, there was created a large database – contact directory for representatives of different groups and sectors (academic, civic, business, public sector, and marginalized groups) – these representatives were all sent invites to participate in the meetings. Unfortunately due to insufficient capacities as well as time constraints, we were unable to create a strategy that would ensure active or wider participation of all aforementioned groups. Well thought out strategy for engaging these diverse actors and then pulling them in further, which includes building up trust, will be needed to be systematically implemented and further developed in future phases of implementing the action plan and creating further plans.
Who participated in these spaces?
Representatives of the municipality, municipal officials, members of municipal councils, members of public commissions of municipal councils, members of civic councils, representatives of academia, active citizens and civic activists, and representatives of non-governmental non-profit organizations or civic associations took part in the process of preparing and creating the action plan.
How many groups participated in these spaces?
How many public-facing meetings were held in the Collaboration between government, civil society and other stakeholders (e.g., citizens, academics, private sector) is at the heart of the OGP process. Participating governments must ensure that a dive...?
How will government and non-governmental stakeholders continue to collaborate through the implementation of the action plan?
Active members of the cooperative process of creating an action plan, who were associated within the “Jadro+ Open Government” group (supporting, the strategic and monitoring body of the Open Government project BB), were continuously approached for cooperation. This offer of cooperation will still be open even during the fulfillment of the commitments and with regard to the accepted commitments, which will be implemented in the proposed time. This activity will also be implemented based on commitment no. 2 of this action plan – i.e. a platform of open governance is to be created from among the employees of the municipal authority, civic actors, academics, deputies, resp. the Jadro+ formation, which will meet regularly – to form an open government strategy and a strategy for involving other actors.
Please describe the independent Monitoring Body you have identified for this plan.
The monitoring body is composed of Katarína Vitálišová, an associate professor at the Department of Public Economics and Regional Development at Faculty of Economics, Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia. Her scientific activities are oriented on theoretical and empirical research on participation, partnerships and relationships among stakeholders in the territories, with special attention to the public, local and smart governance. She is an author and co-author of more than 110 publications (including papers in CC journals, monographs, textbooks, papers presented at international well-known conferences, and studies related with public policy in municipalities).
Darina Jánošková is a master student at the study programme Territorial Studies, at the Faculty of Economics, Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica. Her master thesis is directly associated with the topic of local open governance.
Provide the contact details for the independent monitoring body.
- Vitálišová Katarína, doc., Ing., PhD., email@example.com
What types of activities will you have in place to discuss progress on commitments with stakeholders?
Team meetings, round tables with partner organizations or the public, dialogues, and other participatory methods that the process will require will be held on a regular basis. A communication campaign will also be a matter of course, with the aim of informing the general public about the progress. These activities will be implemented on the basis of commitment No. 2 of this action plan – i.e. a permanent platform of open governance is to be created from among the employees of the municipal authority, civic actors, academics, deputies, resp. the Jadro+ formation, which will meet regularly – to form an open government strategy and a strategy for involving other actors.
How will you regularly check in on progress with implementing agencies?
The inspection will be performed by the city’s management on a regular basis through short workshops and also through a form, which will then be sent to the partner organizations involved. At the same time, the steps of the city will be monitored by the involved organizations, which will assist the self-government in the implementation, thus helping with control. This activity will also be implemented on the basis of commitment no. 2 of this action plan – i.e. a permanent platform of open governance is to be created from among the employees of the Municipal Authority, civic actors, academics, deputies, i.e. the Jadro+ formation, which will meet regularly – to form an open governance strategy and a strategy for involving other actors.
How will you share the results of your monitoring efforts with the public?
On the city’s website and the OGP Local Banská Bystrica website, the city’s social networks, in the framework of round tables or dialogues that will be formed within the Open Government platform (commitment no. 2).
Endorsement from Non-Governmental Stakeholders
- Dialogue Centre, communication/participation
- Interaktívna škola urbanizmu a územného plánovania, communication/participation/local development
- Komunitná nadácia Zdravé mesto, participation/local development
- Nadácia Zastavme korupciu, transparency/anticoruption
- Rada študentov a študentiek mesta Banská Bystrica, Recognizing that investing in youth means investing in a better future, OGP participating governments are creating meaningful opportunities for youth to participate in government processes. Technical ... policy/participation
- Občianska cykloiniciatíva Banská Bystrica, community development/enviro
- Občianske rady, community development/participation