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Georgia

Citizen Engagement Platform (GE0067)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Georgia Action Plan 2018-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: NA

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Public Participation, Regulatory Governance, Social Accountability

IRM Review

IRM Report: Georgia Transitional Results Report 2018-2019, Georgia Design Report 2018-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: No IRM Data

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

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

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Commitment 2: Innovative platform for citizen engagement

The PSH plays a significant part in ensuring access to public services. It provides about 6 million consumers with up to 430 public services annually. Accordingly, its working process has an immediate and direct impact on every Georgian citizen.

Within the framework of OGP, the PSH plans to introduce into the Georgian reality a completely new, innovative platform of citizen engagement.

The platform’s concept is based on the principles of accountability, openness and transparency and implies the engagement of wide public through three different modules in the process of introduction of new services, perfecting the existing ones, making new service delivery channels, and the serving quality improvement.

Citizen participation in the decision-making process shall be ensured by the following modules:
- Electronic public opinion survey – the process of implementation of new projects in the PCH shall be based on the electronic survey results. The consumers will select themselves new services and sequence of their introduction in the PSH. Surveys will also be used for planning other important projects.
- Electronic voting system – the PSH clientele will be able to assess initiatives received as a result of different feedback channels and studies and vote for the most priority ones. The consumer will be able to lobby any initiative himself/herself and work by the voting process for arising society’s interest, for the initiative having gathered a majority of votes will be considered as a priority one;
- Electronic feedback system – the consumer will be able to fix feedback without leaving home by using novel technologies. Once entered, the feedback will be reflected in a relevant program and the PSH will be able to promptly respond thereto. Such electronic feedback system will reduce the existing one-month response time to 24 hours.
- Electronic accounting system – the openness and transparency of processes will be ensured by a specialized electronic accounting system, which will familiarize any interested person with comprehensive information in relation with any process taking place within the framework of the given project.

The following communication channels will be introduced within the framework of the project:
- Mobile application – in any branch of the PSH, on every operator’s desktop, QR codes will be installed readable by a mobile application. On completion of assessment, the consumer will be provided with an electronic questionnaire or voting functional, wherein he/she can participate in the case of wish.
- Web-page application – the customer will be able to use the PSH platform without leaving home, which shall be integrated on the official web-page of the PSH.
- Sensor monitors – any PSH branch will be equipped with sensor monitors, enabling to use the web-platform. Sensor monitors could be freely used by PWDS: the software will be equipped with a sound function; in addition, the equipment will be adapted to blind and visually impaired persons. At that, the sensor monitor-built program will allow the customer leave an auditory message.

Commitment 2: Innovative platform for citizen engagement
Lead Agency
Other Involved Actors Public Agencies
Civil Society/ Public Sector/ International organization
Issues to be Addressed - At this stage, no possibility of citizen participation in the decision-making process by means of electronic poll/voting exists;
- The consumer’s feedback receipt time in regional PSHs makes about a month;
- The existing feedback system is not adapted to needs of PWDS;
- The ineffective feedback system fails to ensure engagement of wide circles of consumers in the process of changes planned by the PSH/

Main Objective The use of simple, effective and diverse mechanisms will ensure the wide public engagement in the services development and decision-making process.

OGP Principles Transparency Accountability Public Participation Technologies and Innovations
  
Milestones to Fulfill the Commitment New or ongoing commitment Start Date: End Date:
Development of software for the web-page and mobile application New September 2018 February 2019
Purchase of sensor monitors and necessary equipment; initiation of the project. New November 2018 March 2019
Public informing about the platform New March 2019 June 2019
Survey/voting process administration, organizing focus groups, accountability New April 2019 August 2019
Indicator - 100% of applications have been responded not later than in 24 hours;
- The applicant may access the consideration results using online resources;
- The level of awareness about the platform among the PSH clients is not less than 60%;
- The number of feedbacks received in 6 months from the start of the project makes 500 on average;
- Not less than 3 surveys/voting and 3 focus groups have been arranged, wherein the total number of participants makes 5,000 on average;
- The results received by using the platform, as well as the reports on the implemented projects have been proactively published.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Commitment 2: Innovative Platform for Citizen Engagement

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“Within the framework of OGP, the PSH plans to introduce into the Georgian reality a completely new, innovative platform of citizen engagement. The platform’s concept is based on the principles of accountability, openness and transparency and implies the engagement of wide public through three different modules in the process of introduction of new services, perfecting the existing ones, making new service delivery channels, and the serving quality improvement.

Citizen participation in the decision-making process shall be ensured by the following modules:

  • Electronic public opinion survey – the process of implementation of new projects in the PCH shall be based on the electronic survey results. The consumers will select themselves new services and sequence of their introduction in the PSH. Surveys will also be used for planning other important projects.
  • Electronic voting system – the PSH clientele will be able to assess initiatives received as a result of different feedback channels and studies and vote for the most priority ones. The consumer will be able to lobby any initiative himself/herself and work by the voting process for arising society’s interest, for the initiative having gathered a majority of votes will be considered as a priority one;
  • Electronic feedback system – the consumer will be able to fix feedback without leaving home by using novel technologies. Once entered, the feedback will be reflected in a relevant program and the PSH will be able to promptly respond thereto. Such electronic feedback system will reduce the existing one-month response time to 24 hours.
  • Electronic accounting system – the openness and transparency of processes will be ensured by a specialized electronic accounting system, which will familiarize any interested person with comprehensive information in relation with any process taking place within the framework of the given project.

The following communication channels will be introduced within the framework of the project:

  • Mobile application – in any branch of the PSH, on every operator’s desktop, QR codes will be installed readable by a mobile application. On completion of assessment, the consumer will be provided with an electronic questionnaire or voting functional, wherein he/she can participate in the case of wish.
  • Web-page application – the customer will be able to use the PSH platform without leaving home, which shall be integrated on the official web-page of the PSH.
  • Sensor monitors – any PSH branch will be equipped with sensor monitors, enabling to use the web-platform. Sensor monitors could be freely used by PWDS: the software will be equipped with a sound function; in addition, the equipment will be adapted to blind and visually impaired persons. At that, the sensor monitor-built program will allow the customer leave an auditory message.”

Milestones: 

  1. Development of software for the webpage and mobile application.
  2. Purchase of sensor monitors and necessary equipment; initiation of the project.
  3. Public informing about the platform.
  4. Survey/voting process administration, organizing focus groups, accountability.

Start Date: September 2018

End Date: August 2019

Editorial note: For the full text of this commitment, please see https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/georgia-action-plan-2018-2019/.

Context and Objectives

This commitment builds on Commitment 2 from Georgia’s second action plan (2014–2016). [9] Under that commitment, Public Service Hall (PSH) created a paper-based, standardized form (Voice of the Consumer) for users to provide feedback on the services they received at any PSH facility. Users could check the status of their feedback by contacting a PSH call center. However, when the 2016 IRMEnd-of-Term Report was published, PSH had not launched a campaign to promote this new communication mechanism across the country. At that time, PSH also had not published regular statistics on how many citizens submitted feedback, what the relevant issues were, and what PSH’s response was. [10]

The commitment in the current action plan addresses the findings from the 2014–2015 IRM Progress Report. [11] The report discussed the need to create an electronic feedback mechanism on PSH services in addition to the paper-based mechanism. Accordingly, this commitment aims to develop and introduce various electronic platforms (web-based, mobile, and sensor monitors) enabling citizens to select, request, and vote for newly proposed services. The platforms would also allow citizens to electronically provide feedback on existing services. Compared to the previous paper-based mechanism, the new e-system will provide a few additional benefits, including

  • Reduced response time for PSH Internal Audit Departments (24 hours instead of the 30-day time frame under the paper-based feedback system),
  • New electronic mechanisms for the public to leave feedback on PSH services, and
  • A special electronic accountability system that entails documenting all the steps taken within this project in the electronic system. This will allow users to receive comprehensive information about implemented activities.

This commitment is relevant to the OGP values of civic participation. It plans to improve opportunities for citizens to have their voices heard on PSH service delivery—for example, they can vote for a specific service to prioritize in the future. The commitment is also relevant to access to information. It would create 1) an electronic feedback system that requires PSH to respond to citizens within 24 hours and 2) an electronic accounting system that ensures that PSH publishes comprehensive information on the implementation process within the framework of this project. The commitment's indicators, as set out in the full text of the commitment, are specific enough to be verified. They include the number of feedbacks expected through the new electronic system in the first six months of the project (500), the number of surveys and focus groups that will be held (three each), and the expected number of survey and focus group participants (5,000).

If fully implemented, this commitment could lead to a minor improvement to PSH’s existing feedback mechanisms by creating various electronic platforms and reducing the response time to feedback. It would also build tools for increased public involvement in PSH’s decision making regarding service delivery. Furthermore, according to an interviewed representative of the nongovernmental organization ANIKA, the introduction of sensor monitors with sound functions and special built-in systems could help to engage people with disabilities in the process. [12]

This commitment could make it easier for citizens to leave feedback on PSH services and could lead to a better quality of services offered by PSH. However, it remains limited in scope. As stated by a public service expert, [13] it does not envisage tools for citizens to initiate new services. Rather, it focuses on mechanisms to choose between the services that have already been proposed by PSH.

Next steps

If the commitment is carried forward to future action plans, the IRM researcher recommends the following:

  • Currently, no formal mechanisms or procedures exist that allow citizens to propose a new service to be delivered to the public. [14] Consequently, the IRM researcher recommends adding a tool that would enable citizens to propose new services. This tool would provide an opportunity to generate new ideas from citizens and increase public participation in service delivery. Later, Public Service Hall (PSH) could transform the ideas into new service opportunities and allow citizens to select, request, vote, and prioritize the introduction of those services, as described in the current commitment. 
  • While the introduction of sensor monitors is a positive step for PSH in providing feedback opportunities for persons with disabilities, ANIKA recommends that PSH also adapt web and mobile channels for people with special needs. With these tools, people with disabilities could provide feedback with more comfortable and widely used equipment. [15]

[9] Open Government Partnership, “Georgia National Action Plan 2016–2018,” https://bit.ly/2YRRUN7.

[10] Open Government Partnership, Georgia: 2014–2016 End of Term Report, p. 20, https://bit.ly/3cLCly1 .

[11] Open Government Partnership, IRM Progress Report 2014–15: Georgia, https://bit.ly/2GZl9X5

[12] Irakli Seperteladze, Member of Board at ANIKA, interview with the IRM researcher, 6 June 2019.

[13] Tinatin Kuprashvili, Public Service Expert, interview with the IRM researcher, 18 June 2019.

[14] Focus group discussion, June 2019.

[15] Seperteladze interview, June 2019.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

2. Innovative platform for citizen engagement

Theme 1: Improving Public Services

Limited

The Public Service Hall (PSH) prepared the concept for the integration of new electronic services to its webpage. However, the process was delayed and none of the milestones were completed within the action plan timeframe. [31] According to the government point of contact, a lack of funding inhibited the implementation of this commitment. [32]

 
[31] Ibid.
[32] Ketevan Tsanava, Head of Public Administration Unit at Policy and Coordination Department at Administration of the Government of Georgia, interview with IRM researcher, 25 November 2020.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership