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Georgia

Creation of Electronic Mechanism for Local Budget Planning in Kutaisi, Ozurgeti, Batumi and Akhaltsikhe (GE0065)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Georgia National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Kutaisi Municipality Town Hall; Ozurgeti Municipality Assembly; Batumi Municipality Town Hall; Akhaltsikhe Municipality Town Hall;

Support Institution(s): The project of USAID Good Governance Initiative in Georgia; Forum participant nongovernmental organizations

Policy Areas

E-Government, Fiscal Transparency, Participation in Budget Processes, Public Participation, Subnational

IRM Review

IRM Report: Georgia End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Georgia Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Creation of Electronic Mechanism for Local Budget Planning in Kutaisi, Ozurgeti, Batumi and Akhaltsikhe; Relevant services of Kutaisi, Ozurgeti, Batumi and Akhaltsikhe municipalities actively work on the issues of budgetary process transparency. By the support of USAID’s Good Governance Initiative in Georgia (GGI) the work is carried out on the local level to promote budgetary processes and improve mechanisms for public participation. In the framework of the third Action Plan OGP, four identified cities will ensure creation of an electronic mechanism “Plan City Budget” and add it to the munipality webpage. Furthermore, in regard to the local budget, a citizen’s guidebook will be developed. Date of Implementation: 2016-2017; Issues to be Addressed: Relevant services of the mentioned four city municipalities need significant support to improve budgeting process. Low level of public participation and motivation are also a problem. Main Objective: Raising public awareness in regard to budget issues; Improving mechanisms for public participation in the discussions of budget drafts

IRM End of Term Status Summary

24. Creation of electronic mechanism for local budget planning in Kutaisi, Ozurgeti, Batumi, and Akhaltsikhe

Commitment Text:

 Relevant services of Kutaisi, Ozurgeti, Batumi and Akhaltsikhe municipalities actively work on the issues of budgetary process transparency. By the support of USAID’s Good Governance Initiative in Georgia (GGI) the work is carried out on the local level to promote budgetary processes and improve mechanisms for public participation.

In the framework of the third Action Plan OGP, four identified cities will ensure creation of an electronic mechanism “Plan City Budget” and add it to the municipality webpage. Furthermore, in regard to the local budget, a citizen’s guidebook will be developed.

Milestones:

Prepare local program budget of the municipality

Create electronic mechanism “Plan City Budget” to define local budget priorities of the municipality Develop citizen’s guidebook in regard to local budget of the municipality

Responsible institution: Kutaisi Municipality Town Hall, Ozurgeti Municipality Assembly, Batumi Municipality Town Hall, Akhaltsikhe Municipality Town Hall

Supporting institution(s): The project of USAID Good Governance Initiative in Georgia; Forum participant nongovernmental organizations

Start date: September 2016 End date: December 2017

Commitment Aim:

In order to increase public access to information, as well as to bolster civic engagement in budgetary planning processes, four municipalities of Georgia committed to introduce electronic mechanisms for budget planning. Specifically, Akhaltsikhe Municipality Town Hall, Batumi Municipality Town Hall, Kutaisi Municipality Town Hall, and Ozurgeti Municipality Assembly assumed the responsibility to implement three key activities proposed within the commitment: 1. preparing local program budgets; 2. creating the electronic mechanism, “Plan City Budget,” to define local budget priorities; and 3. develop a citizen’s guidebook on local budgets.

Status

Midterm: Limited

The commitment was completed to a limited degree as of August 2017. Three out of four municipalities, excluding Ozurgeti, had prepared and published their respective municipality budgets on their websites in a format showing a breakdown of expenses by programs. Ozurgeti Municipality had not published a program budget, due to the fact that it was not part of USAID’s Good Governance Initiative (GGI) and as a result, lacked resources and expertise. [133] As for a citizens’ guidebook, it was developed by Batumi, Kutaisi and Akhaltsikhe Municipalities, however only Batumi published it online, with the remaining two disseminating print versions. By August 2017, all four municipalities had still to introduce the “Plan City Budget” mechanism on their websites.

End of term: Substantial

USAID’s Good Governance Initiative (GGI) played an important role in the commitment progress, as it supports three municipalities engaged in the initiative (Akhaltsikhe, Batumi and Kutaisi). Ozurgeti Municipality does not get funding, therefore, there was a lack of coordination in implementing the commitment activities.

Preparation of the local program budget: The four municipalities published their respective budgets in a budget program format online by the end of term. [134]

‘Plan City Budget’ electronic mechanism: Within the GGI project, Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) together with the E-Governance Academy (eGA) developed new websites for Kutaisi (http://www.kutaisi.gov.ge) and Akhaltsikhe Municipalities (http://www.akhaltsikhe.gov.ge), which incorporate the participatory budgeting mechanism, “Plan City Budget.” While a new website with a similar interface and participatory services was also developed for Batumi Town Hall, it has yet to be launched. [135] In 2018, citizens registered in Akhaltsikhe and Kutaisi municipalities can submit budgetary proposals through the electronic portal, “VOLIS,” which is an Estonian model for participatory budgeting. [136]

Batumi Town Hall decided to introduce additional safety mechanisms for submitting budgetary proposals online, which required more time for setting up the system and resulted in postponing the launch of the platform. [137] However, a representative of the Town Hall anticipated launching “Plan City Budget” by the end of 2018.

Ozurgeti Municipality could not introduce the service within the 2016−2018 action plan cycle. Instead, the Ozurgeti Municipality Assembly intends to set up an interactive “Problem Map,” which will allow citizens to indicate concerns for their respective communities on a map. This service, together with the budget guidebook, is in the development process and was expected to be launched by the end of 2018.

Citizen’s Guidebook on Local Budget: Three municipalities (Batumi, Akhaltsikhe, and Kutaisi) developed guidebooks on local budgets, however only Batumi Municipality uploaded it to their website. Neither Akhaltsikhe nor Kutaisi municipalities have made electronic versions available. However, Akhaltsikhe Municipality Town Hall printed pamphlets and made a public presentation of the budget guideline. By the time of this report, the Ozurgeti Municipality Assembly was working on the document. [138]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Major

Civic Participation: Marginal

Per the NAP 2016−2018, low public knowledge of local budget governance was cited as problematic in municipalities. After publishing program budgets, citizens can access the information for all four municipalities in more detail. Budget program format is different from previously available budgets as it provides spending information by programs (rather than by implementing agencies), is more detailed, and illustrates a clearer link between financial resources and outputs. [139] The citizen’s guidebook also serves as an important information source for the population, making budgetary processes more understandable. However, as focus groups in Akhlatsikhe and Ozurgeti showed, there is lack of information on these new resources. One issue raised by group participants was general skepticism toward decision-makers about their tendency to disregard concerns of the population. Therefore, regular communication with citizens is crucial to strengthen trust and encourage civic participation.

“Plan City Budget” is a novelty that seeks citizen input on budget priorities. Since its introduction in the beginning of 2018, Akhaltsikhe Municipality received 78 budget proposals, while Kutaisi Municipality received 28 proposals; this indicates active civic interest and participation. Both Akhaltsikhe and Kutaisi Municipalities created working groups to assess the proposals. However, their structure and methods to process the proposals differ. The newly established working group at Kutaisi Municipality Town Hall consists of representatives from the government, CSOs, media and private sectors, as well as independent citizens; the Akhaltsikhe group consists of Town Hall representatives. [140] While Akhaltsikhe Municipality does not restrict the number of proposals for public voting, Kutaisi publishes only three, which may limit the population’s role. [141] The Kutaisi working group provides feedback to authors whose proposals were rejected. [142] Leading proposals for Akhaltsikhe included creating green and recreational spaces, painting houses and fixing streetlights, building a stadium, and constructing a building in the village Atskuri. Others concerned fixing water pipelines, creating playgrounds for children, and road construction. Akhaltsikhe Town Hall already allocated funds for the selected proposal within the 2019 budget on creating green areas, while proposals in Kutaisi municipality are still undergoing the evaluation process.

To increase public awareness and engagement, the GGI project experts plan to visit Kutaisi and Akhaltsikhe to develop outreach campaigns. [143] As Batumi and Ozurgeti Municipalities did not introduce the mechanism within the National Action Plan 2016−2018 cycle, there was no civic engagement in the budgetary planning process in this regard. Kutaisi Municipality Town Hall conducted awareness-raising activities, including appearances on television programs and meetings with youth, to inform them about the portal. However, a representative of the Town Hall stressed the lack of civic participation due to the inconvenience of timing the outreach campaign during the summer period. [144]

Carried Forward?

The commitment was not carried forward in the new action plan (2018−2019). However, through GGI support, Batumi Municipality Town Hall made a related commitment, which aims to enhance civic participation in budgetary planning processes through institutionalizing the participatory planning mechanisms. The commitment details awareness-raising activities to promote participatory mechanisms, as well as envisages adapting legal framework to institutionalize them.

On a long-term perspective, the IRM researcher advises developing standardized institutional procedures for budgetary proposal discussions and public voting, as well as creating uniform websites and participatory tools for all municipalities across the country. Beyond this commitment, in 2017, Tbilisi City Hall took steps to develop a participatory budget planning mechanism. [145] As other municipalities desire to adopt the system, it would be useful to coordinate these activities and agree on a unified approach. The central government could provide support and coordination to make budgetary processes in municipalities sustainable across all Georgian municipalities. The responsible agencies could be the Ministry of Justice (which operates the State Development Agency (SDA)), [146] the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development (which facilitates state budget governance and modern technologies), [147] and the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure (which coordinates the Municipal Development Fund of Georgia to strengthen institutional capacity and local government unit services). [148] Municipalities can also approach IDFI for support in developing user-friendly websites with participatory tools, similar to Zugdidi and Kutaisi. [149]

[133] Lasha Gogidze and Tamar Gzirishvili, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Georgia Progress Report 2016-2017, 107 (OGP, 30 Apr. 2018), https://bit.ly/2NIr097.

[134] Law of Georgia, “Approval of the 2018 budget of the city of Kutaisi municipality” doc. no. 21 (18 Jan. 2018), https://bit.ly/2Ri8UI2; Law of Georgia, “On Changes and Amendments to the Resolution # 1 of 12 January 2018 of Ozurgeti Municipality Sakrebulo 'On Approval of the 201 Year Ozurgeti Municipal Budget'” doc. no. 44 (27 Aug. 2018), https://bit.ly/2AtTL0M; Law of Georgia, “Approval of the 2018 Akhaltsikhe Municipality budget” doc. no. 28 (22 Dec. 2017), https://bit.ly/2CL0S6v; Law of Georgia, “Approval of the budget of the Batumi city municipality in 2018” doc. no. 41 (26 Dec. 2017), https://bit.ly/2PnoipA.

[135] Mikheil Darchiashvili (Governance Program Manager) and Levan Samadashvili (Deputy Chief of Party, Tetra Tech ARD), interview with IRM researcher, 19 Oct. 2017.

[136] The VOLIS portal is available at: https://bit.ly/2yILd54.

[137] Ednar Nataridze (Head of the Financial Department, Batumi Town Hall), phone interview with IRM researcher, 28 Oct. 2018.

[138] Nino Tvaltvadze (Deputy Mayor, Kutaisi City Hall), phone interview with IRM Researcher, 29 Oct. 2018.

[139] Mikheil Kukava, 'When will the country's software budget be implemented?' (Transparency International Georgia, 7 Nov. 2013), https://bit.ly/2P29W9B.

[140] Tvaltvadze, interview, 29 Oct. 2018.

[141] VOLIS, “Selected proposals for voting (number of votes: 207),” https://bit.ly/2Q60HGT.

[142]Guram Melikidze (Deputy Mayor of Akhaltsikhe Municipality Town Hall), phone interview with IRM Researcher, 29 Oct. 2018.

[143] Mikheil Darchiashvili (Governance Program Manager) and Levan Samadashvili (Deputy Chief of Party, Tetra Tech ARD), 19 Oct. 2018.

[144] Tvaltvadze, interview 29 Oct. 2018.

[145] Dea Tsartsidze, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Tbilisi, Georgia Final Report 2017 (OGP, 2017) https://bit.ly/2PPUsLg.

[146] State Development Agency, https://sda.gov.ge/?lang=en.

[147] The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, https://bit.ly/2zqmB1o.

[148] Municipal Development Fund, http://mdf.org.ge/?site-path=fund/about/&site-lang=en.

[149] Saba Buadze (IDFI, Anti-Corruption Direction Head), interview with IRM researcher, 1 Nov. 2018.


Commitments

  1. Improved Public Services

    GE0066, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Citizen Engagement Platform

    GE0067, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Unified Authentication System

    GE0068, 2018, E-Government

  4. Economic Governance

    GE0069, 2018, E-Government

  5. Environment Portal

    GE0070, 2018, E-Government

  6. Strengthen Anti-Corruption Institutions

    GE0071, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  7. Monitor SDGs

    GE0072, 2018, Capacity Building

  8. Citizen Engagement Legislation

    GE0073, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  9. Publish Court Decisions

    GE0074, 2018, E-Government

  10. Increasing Transparency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

    GE0075, 2018, E-Government

  11. Citizen Participation in Public Finance

    GE0076, 2018, Audits and Controls

  12. Transparent Public Funding System

    GE0077, 2018, Fiscal Transparency

  13. Public Procurement Improvements

    GE0078, 2018, E-Government

  14. Housing Policy Planning

    GE0079, 2018, Land & Spatial Planning

  15. Openness and Accountability of State-Owned Enterprises

    GE0080, 2018, E-Government

  16. Transparency and Good Governance

    GE0081, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Open Data Collection and Publication

    GE0082, 2018, E-Government

  18. Participation for Disabled Individuals

    GE0083, 2018, Infrastructure & Transport

  19. Participatory Budgeting

    GE0084, 2018, Capacity Building

  20. Your Idea for the Zugdidi Mayor

    GE0085, 2018, Capacity Building

  21. Electronic Services

    GE0086, 2018, E-Government

  22. I. Gov. Zugdidi

    GE0087, 2018, Capacity Building

  23. Service and Citizen Satisfaction Assessment

    GE0088, 2018, Capacity Building

  24. Promoting and Monitoring SDGs

    GE0089, 2018, Legislature

  25. Citizen Involvement in Budget

    GE0090, 2018, E-Government

  26. Technology for Transparency

    GE0091, 2018, E-Government

  27. Citizen Engagement Center

    GE0092, 2018, Capacity Building

  28. Raising Public Awareness About Parliamentary Democracy

    GE0093, 2018, E-Government

  29. Electronic Innovations for More Transparency and Efficiency of Public Procurement

    GE0056, 2016, Capacity Building

  30. Starred commitment Adoption of the Environmental Assessment Code

    GE0057, 2016, Capacity Building

  31. Introduction of a Mobile App as an Alternative Channel to Connect to “112”

    GE0058, 2016, E-Government

  32. Development of Local Councils for Crime Prevention

    GE0059, 2016, Public Service Delivery

  33. Development of a Guidebook for Economic Agents

    GE0060, 2016, Capacity Building

  34. Development and Introduction of the Quality Control Program of Commercial Service

    GE0061, 2016, Capacity Building

  35. Presentation of Company Reports in an Electronic Form and Provision of Their Accessibility

    GE0062, 2016, Capacity Building

  36. Introduction of an Electronic Petition Portal and “Zugdidi-INFO” on the Webpage of Zugdidi Municipality Assembly

    GE0063, 2016, Capacity Building

  37. Transparency of Ozurgeti Municipality Assembly Meetings

    GE0064, 2016, Capacity Building

  38. Creation of Electronic Mechanism for Local Budget Planning in Kutaisi, Ozurgeti, Batumi and Akhaltsikhe

    GE0065, 2016, E-Government

  39. Adapting the Public Service Hall to the Needs of the People with Disabilities

    GE0042, 2016, Capacity Building

  40. Launch of the Unified Healthcare System Information Portal

    GE0043, 2016, Capacity Building

  41. Introduction of Electronic Licensing System in the Field of Natural Resources Application

    GE0044, 2016, Capacity Building

  42. Creation of Spatial (Geographic) Data Web-Portal for the Energy Sector

    GE0045, 2016, Capacity Building

  43. Creation of Innovation Ecosystem

    GE0046, 2016, Capacity Building

  44. Electronic Portal for Registering and Disposal of State Property – Customer’S Module

    GE0047, 2016, E-Government

  45. Development of the Freedom of Information Law

    GE0048, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  46. Development of a Monitoring and Assessment System of the Government Policy and Legislative Acts

    GE0049, 2016, Capacity Building

  47. Starred commitment Introduction of the Public Officials’ Asset Declarations Monitoring System

    GE0050, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  48. Establishing Unified Regulations to Publish Court Decisions

    GE0051, 2016, Judiciary

  49. Development of Transparency and Integrity Strategy and Action Plan in the Field of Regional Development and Infrastructure

    GE0052, 2016, Capacity Building

  50. Improvement of the Database of the Convicted and Transfer of the Penitentiary Department Entirely Onto the Electronic Workflow Management

    GE0053, 2016, Capacity Building

  51. Publication of Phone Tapping Data According to the Nature of the Crime and Geographic Area

    GE0054, 2016, E-Government

  52. Starred commitment Increasing Citizen Participation in Supervision of Public Finances (Public Audit)

    GE0055, 2016, Capacity Building

  53. "Voice of the Consumer"

    GE0013, 2014, Public Participation

  54. JUSTdrive

    GE0014, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  55. Educational Services

    GE0015, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  56. Citizen's Portal (Www.Mygov.Ge)

    GE0016, 2014, Capacity Building

  57. Transformation of Public Libraries for Regional Development

    GE0017, 2014, Capacity Building

  58. Digital Signature and Online Authentication

    GE0018, 2014, E-Government

  59. Open Data Portal (Data.Gov.Ge)

    GE0019, 2014, E-Government

  60. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Draft

    GE0020, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  61. Georgia's OGP Forum

    GE0021, 2014, OGP

  62. I-Change.Ge

    GE0022, 2014, E-Government

  63. Transparency of Public Service Recruitment

    GE0023, 2014, E-Government

  64. Asset Declaration Monitoring System

    GE0024, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  65. Starred commitment Political Party Financial Declarations

    GE0025, 2014, E-Government

  66. Accessibility of Ministry of Interior's Webpage to People with Special Needs

    GE0026, 2014, E-Government

  67. Starred commitment Proactive Publishing of Surveillance Data

    GE0027, 2014, Civic Space

  68. Public Awareness of the Electoral Process

    GE0028, 2014, Capacity Building

  69. Transparency of Budgetary Processes

    GE0029, 2014, E-Government

  70. Electronic System of Procurement

    GE0030, 2014, E-Government

  71. Digital Human Resource Management System

    GE0031, 2014, E-Government

  72. Digital Preservation System: E-Archive

    GE0032, 2014, E-Government

  73. Openness and Accessibility of National Archives

    GE0033, 2014, E-Government

  74. Electronic Catalogues of Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) Archives

    GE0034, 2014, E-Government

  75. Public Finance Management System

    GE0035, 2014, E-Government

  76. Alternative Channels to "112"

    GE0036, 2014, E-Government

  77. Interactive Statistics and Crime Mapping

    GE0037, 2014, E-Government

  78. Travel Insurance Services

    GE0038, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration

  79. State Property Registration

    GE0039, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  80. Development of Community Centers in Georgia

    GE0040, 2014, E-Government

  81. Introduction of e-Governance in Local Self-Governments

    GE0041, 2014, E-Government

  82. Public Service Hall-Hub of Public Services

    GE0001, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration

  83. e-Governance in Local Governments

    GE0002, 2012, E-Government

  84. Citizens’ Portal

    GE0003, 2012, E-Government

  85. Easily Accessible and Better Healthcare

    GE0004, 2012, E-Government

  86. Launch Ichange.Ge and Data.Gov.Ge

    GE0005, 2012, E-Government

  87. Platform for Participating in the Legislative Process

    GE0006, 2012, E-Government

  88. Citizens and Justice

    GE0007, 2012, Judiciary

  89. Starred commitment Transparent Party Financing

    GE0008, 2012, Money in Politics

  90. Home-Grown Concept of E-Procurement

    GE0009, 2012, E-Government

  91. e-Declarations

    GE0010, 2012, Asset Disclosure

  92. Technology Cares for Safety: ICCMS, Crime Mapping, and Safety in Your Neighbourhood

    GE0011, 2012, E-Government

  93. NGO Forum

    GE0012, 2012, Capacity Building