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Albania

Implementation of Public Expenses Module in "Open Data" Format (AL0033)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Albania Second Action Plan for 2014-2016

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of State for Innovation and Public Administration (MSIPA) and National Agency for Information Society (NAIS)

Support Institution(s): Ministries

Policy Areas

Access to Information, E-Government, Fiscal Openness, Open Data, Publication of Budget/Fiscal Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Albania End-of-Term Report 2014-2016, Albania Mid-Term Report 2014-2016

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

The National Agency for Information Society in the context of the global initiative "Partnership for Open Governance", will undertake as commitment the implementation of a module that will allow in an open data format, online access to information on budgetary data of the Ministries. This module will be accessed from the government portal e-Albania and the official websites of the respective institutions. This module will provision information in real time of budgetary expenses of the Council of Ministers and Line Ministries in order to guaranty complete and transparent information of the expenses. The indicators such as the functionality of the module, the number of visitors of the web pages or downloaded information will be used to verify the implementation of this commitment. The module of public expenses which will be presented graphically will provide full information in the official web page of the Council of Ministers meanwhile in the official web page of each Ministry will be given information for the respective Ministry.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

For Commitment details, see Albania Mid-Term Report 2014-2016.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 1.3. Implementation of Public Expenses Module in “Open Data” Format

Cluster 2: Open Data & e-Services- 1.3 and 3.3

This cluster is composed of two commitments, as follows:

Commitment 1.3. Implementation of Public Expenses Module in “Open Data” Format

Commitment 1.3. Text: The National Agency for Information Society in the context of the global initiative 'Partnership for Open Governance', will undertake as commitment the implementation of a module that will allow in an open data format, online access to information on budgetary data of the Ministries. This module will be accessed from the government portal e-Albania and the official websites of the respective institutions. This module will provide information in real time of budgetary expenses of the Council of Ministers and Line Ministries in order to guarantee complete and transparent information of the expenses. The indicators such as the functionality of the module, the number of visitors of the web pages or downloaded information will be used to verify the implementation of this commitment.

Responsible institution(s): Ministry of State for Innovation and Public Administration (MSIPA) and the National Agency for Information Society (NAIS)

Supporting institution(s): Ministries

Start date: 2014 End date: 2016

Commitment 3.3. E-Albania

Commitment 3.3. Text: E-Albania portal serves as a single contact point for government services, helping to improve the overall accessibility of information to the public. Interoperability Platform on which this portal is based can be extended for other essential governmental services. Until now, information for 170 services offered by the public administration has been published. Services as access to personal data, business data, and online declaration of personal income will soon be added as e-services offered by the portal. E- Albania will be in enriched with various other public e-services. The aim of this commitment is to pass from first level services (informative services) to level 3 and 4, which means public services that are offered entirely online. It is expected that during 2015, 10 new services with be offered entirely online and other 10 will be added in 2016. Editorial Note: Both commitments will be implemented by MSIPA and the National Agency for Information Society (NAIS). In addition, the public will have access to their deliverables through the e-Albania portal – first commitment delivering a 'public expenses module' with open data and the second commitment, expanding the number of e-services accessed through e-Albania.

Responsible institution(s): MSIPA and NAIS

Supporting institution(s): Ministries

Start date: 2014 End date: 2016

Commitments Aim:

Through the use of information technology, these commitments aim to improve access to information about government services. Specifically, the public expenses module enables transparency in governmental spending. And the e-Albania initiative is designed as a portal through which citizens both can access information and can receive e-services from state institutions.

Status

Commitment 1.3

Midterm: Substantial

In 2014 the Council of Ministers began displaying budget information through a module on its website. The module has an open data format and publishes budget information from the council and the ministries. The websites of some line ministries also have a link to the module. At the one-year mark of the action plan, the module offered government spending data from 1 January 2015. However, the government and ministry spending information was displayed as a percentage of the respective budgets and did not provide actual budget figures. Visitors could access the visualized information, not open data, for the government or a specific ministry, with a total of 11 expenditure categories. Therefore, the module did not meet the criteria for a five-star open data standard as envisaged in the action plan.

As implemented, this tool met the two-star standard of open data. It provided access to downloadable data in Excel format on the Treasury General Directorate’s daily payments for 2014 and 2015. The same data was available in a more open format on the e-Albania portal. IRM progress report, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/Albania_Second%20IRM%20Report_for%20public%20comment.pdf.

End of term: Limited

No further progress was made in the implementation of this commitment between September 2015 and September 2016. The government did not update the module with 2016 public expenses data, and the module has since been removed from the Council of Ministers’ website. On the other hand, the Ministry of Finance regularly updates the module on its website with daily payments from the Treasury. Source: http://www.financa.gov.al/al/raportime/thesari/pagesa-te-kryera-nga-drejtoria-e-pergjithshme-e-thesarit.

The government’s end-of-term self-assessment refers to this commitment as implemented, using the Ministry of Finance’s module as evidence. However, this module was not part of commitment 1.3 in the 2014–2016 action plan, but rather a delivered result of the 2012–2013 action plan.

Commitment 3.3

Midterm: Substantial

The e-Albania portal has increased the number of offered services from 177 in 2013 to a total of 700 in September 2015. However, the majority of these services were “information and guidance” (first-level services) on other state services that citizens or businesses may use. Services with interoperability functions, which would allow the exchange and use of information, were limited. IRM progress report, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/Albania_Second%20IRM%20Report_for%20public%20comment.pdf.

End of term: Substantial

The e-Albania portal has noted significant improvements between September 2015 and September 2016. Another 148 new services have been added to the portal since the IRM midterm report, increasing the total number of services from 700 in September 2015 to 848 in September 2016. Although the majority of information is mostly guidance on state services, the number of e-services with transaction (level 3) and interoperability functions (level 5) has reached a total of 278. The government plans for the portal to be the main gateway for citizens to access a range of services electronically. In order to realize that goal, government institutions continue to digitize more services.

Did it open government?

Commitment 1.3

Access to information: Did not change

The module on the government’s and ministries’ websites does not provide information in an open data format and has not been used by civil society or media representatives. The e-Albania portal includes the Ministry of Finance’s module as one of the e-services that can be accessed without registration in the portal. Source: https://e-albania.al/MFtreasure.aspx. The Ministry of Finance’s disclosure of daily payments, despite meeting only a three-star open data standard, has been used more frequently by civil society and media stakeholders (e.g., Albanian Institute of Science (AIS) and the Albanian portal of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network - Reporter.al).

Most interviewed civil society representatives and journalists reported either that they had no information on the Council of Ministers’ module or that they did not find it helpful. Interviews with AIS Director Aranita Brahaj and with journalists form the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN). Moreover, the module was eventually removed. CSOs consider the data on payments made available by the Treasury General Directorate at the Ministry of Finance to be a more useful tool.

Commitment 3.3

Access to information: Marginal

E-Albania’s number of unique users has increased significantly, from approximately 18,000 users per month in 2015 to 26,500 unique users per month as of October 2016. MSIPA submitted the official data upon IRM request (October 2016). According to this data, e-Albania in the period June–December 2015 had a total of 126,000 unique visitors who have completed at least one session within the portal. From 1 January to 20 October 2016, a total of 265,000 unique users completed at least one session within e-Albania. E-Albania mostly offers information on how to obtain various services from state institutions.

Evidence on the most frequently used services suggests a great interest for second- and third-level services on the portal. According to MSIPA official data, the five most frequently used services are: the submission of annual financial accounts at the National Business Center, high school graduation exam registration The ability to register for high school examinations online, known as “State Matura,” began in early 2013. High school seniors could use the State Matura service offered through the e-Albania portal to register for their high school graduate exams (matura). This also allows for state institutions, such as the National Exams Agency and the Ministry of Education, to exchange information on the State Matura applications. , electricity bill payment, applications for health cards, and the generation of health cards. The range of users, from students to businesses, of these and other services Other frequently used e-services include accessing State Matura exam scores, declaring and paying contributions by employers, accessing family data, accessing “my vehicles,” and dealing with traffic offenses. MSIPA submitted the official data upon IRM request (October 2016). suggests that e-Albania’s strength lies in its interoperability functions, which help individuals and companies obtain services online.

Carried forward?

Commitment 1.1 has not been carried over to the 2016–2018 action plan. The IRM midterm report suggested a redesign of the module to meet open data standards or, as an alternative, withdrawal from this commitment and focusing instead on the opendata.gov.al portal.

The commitment on e-Albania has been carried forward in the 2016–2018 action plan. The new commitments expand the e-Albania portal, providing new e-services with interoperability functions. This commitment aims at delivering e-services through an electronic forms management system (Eforms). Furthermore, a number of other commitments in the new action plan are directly connected to this platform, including the establishment of an electronic registry for public notification and consultation (commitment 1.4), establishment and distribution of digital counters (commitment 3.3), and an electronic system for professional licensing of individuals and legal entities operating in the construction sector (commitment 4.2).


Commitments

Open Government Partnership