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Georgia

Citizen Participation in Public Finance (GE0076)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Georgia Action Plan 2018-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Administration of the GoG

Support Institution(s): Parliament of Georgia, Ministry of Finance Civil Society Institute

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption, Audits, Capacity Building, E-Government, Fiscal Openness, Public Participation, Public Participation in Budget/Fiscal Policy, 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: Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Commitment 11: Increasing citizen participation in oversight of public finances

Within the framework of the OGP Georgia Action Plan 2016-2017, the State Audit Office (SAO) an innovative analytical platform “Budget Monitor”, by means of which wide public has a unique possibility to obtain comprehensive information about the state budget, public resources management issues, audit findings, issued recommendations nd the state of their implementation. In addition, the platform will enable every citizen to address the SAO in connection with existing shortcomings in the management of public finances and to participate in the next year’s audit plan completion.
For increasing citizen partuicipation in this process and the platoform efficiency, the SAO shares the recommendation of the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) and aims to introduce a feedback mechanism for citizen addresses and notifications. This will make it possible to constantly track the status of responding to citizen addreses and notifications (including anonymous).

To ensure co-participation, the SAO plans to introduce an additional tool – preparation of audit results in the form easily accessible by society.

Commitment 11: Increasing citizen participation in oversight of public finances: implementation of effective tools for citizens feedback
Lead Agency State Audit Office
Other Involved Actors Public Agency
Civil Society/Private Sector Advisory group comprised of the representatives of the SAO and civil sector working on the issues of citizen participation in the supervision of public finance management.
Issues to be Addressed The low index of citizen participation in the budgetary process remains a challenge, which is evidenced by the 2017 Open Budget Survey assessment of citizen participation score (22 points out of 100). The reasonof the abioe can be both mistrust on the part of citizens and the lack of necessary effective means for their participation.
In response to the above, the SAO aims to cteate such mechanism of citizen participation, which will make it possible to condtantly track the status of responding to citizen addreses and notifications. The introduction of a transparent system will contribute to increaste public trust in the SAO and to create an effective mehanism for timely responding to citizen requests/claims. The SAO plans to integrate said mechanism into the Budget Monitor, which is a clear example of continuation of the OGP commitments.
Main Objective Promotion of better management through citizen participation in the oversight of public fianances.

OGP Principles Transparancy Accountability Citizens Participation Technology and Innovation
   
Milestones to Fulfill the Commitment New or ongoing commitment Start date End date
Creation and introduction by the Budget Monitor of a feedback mechanism for citizen notifications New May 2018 December 2018
Organization by the SAO of 5 working meetings at least with duifferent focus groups for raising awareness. Ongoing January 2018 December 2018
Indicator The feedback mechaism for citizen appeals and notifications has been introduced, through which constant track of the status of responding to the addresses and notifications (including anonymous) is possible.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Commitment 11: Increasing Citizen Participation in Oversight of Public Finance

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

“Within the framework of the OGP Georgia Action Plan 2016-2017, the State Audit Office (SAO) an innovative analytical platform ‘Budget Monitor’, by means of which wide public has a unique possibility to obtain comprehensive information about the state budget, public resources management issues, audit findings, issued recommendations and the state of their implementation. In addition, the platform will enable every citizen to address the SAO in connection with existing shortcomings in the management of public finances and to participate in the next year’s audit plan completion. 

For increasing citizen participation in this process and the platform efficiency, the SAO shares the recommendation of the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) and aims to introduce a feedback mechanism for citizen addresses and notifications. This will make it possible to constantly track the status of responding to citizen address and notifications (including anonymous)”.

Milestones: 

  1. Creation and introduction by the Budget Monitor of a feedback mechanism for citizen notifications 
  2. Organization by the SAO of 5 working meetings at least with different focus groups for raising awareness.

Start Date: May 2018

End Date: December 2018

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 14 from Georgia’s third action plan (2016–2017). During the third action plan, the State Audit Office of Georgia (SAO) launched the online platform budgetmonitor.ge. The platform consolidates previously dispersed information on state and municipal budgets. It also includes a “Citizen” page, where the public can suggest government bodies for auditing, and a “Fight Corruption” page, where citizens can report cases of corruption. Those reported cases are then reviewed by an auditor. [63] The IRM End-of-Term Report for the third action plan found that, despite providing the public with opportunities to participate, public participation remained low. Accordingly, to improve public participation in the audit process, SAO has committed to introduce a new feature for tracking and responding to citizen input received through budgetmonitor.ge. SAO also plans to conduct five focus groups to raise awareness of the new feedback feature. The commitment is relevant to the OGP value of civic participation. It employs web technologies for citizens to submit feedback and track the status of their feedback.

This commitment provides two verifiable milestones: the creation and introduction of a feedback mechanism for citizen notifications and the organization of five focus groups to raise awareness. However, providing more detailed information about the purpose and composition of working groups would make the commitment more specific and measurable. If fully implemented, the new feedback mechanism could result in a minor but positive improvement to the existing feedback feature on budgetmonitor.ge. The commitment could also result in improvement to participation in the auditing process more broadly. In particular, the new feature would allow citizens to track the status of their feedback via budgetmonitor.ge platform, even if they provide feedback anonymously. It is worth noting that the 2016–2017 IRM Progress Report recommended that SAO conduct a widespread awareness-raising campaign for budgetmonitor.ge. However, this commitment’s text refers to organizing five focus groups meetings, which are limited in scale.

Next steps

Although the budgetmonitor.ge platform significantly improved access to budget information during the previous action plan, this commitment represents a minor upgrade to the existing platform. Accordingly, the IRM researcher recommends that the government continue raising awareness about the platform, but not as part of the next OGP action plan.

[63] Open Government Partnership, IRM: Georgia End-of-Term Report 2016–2018, pp. 44–45, https://bit.ly/2vZMQ00

IRM End of Term Status Summary

11. Increase citizen participation in oversight of public finance

Theme III: More Effectively Managing Public Resources

Substantial

The State Audit Office (SAO) developed (with support from USAID GGI) a pilot version of a new feature on budgetmonitor.ge allowing citizens to submit feedback and track their feedback’s status. [47] SAO plans to launch the new feedback feature along with the updated version of the entire budgetmonitor.ge platform by summer 2021, since the current version of the platform does not support the feature. [48]

As part of the awareness-raising campaign, SAO conducted eight meetings with parliament, media, civil society, and academia to promote budgetmonitor.ge. [49] 

 
[47] Ibid.
[48] Tsotne Karkashadze, Head of the State Budget and Strategic Analysis Department at State Audit Office, interview with IRM researcher, 2 February 2021.
[49] Open Government Georgia, Georgia Status Report on Implementation of the action plan for 2018-2019, https://ogpgeorgia.gov.ge/en/monitoring-and-evaluation/

Commitments

Open Government Partnership