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Georgia

Technology for Transparency (GE0091)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Not Attached

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Parliament of Georgia

Support Institution(s): GGI; IDFI; GIZ; GYLA; TI; American Chamber of Commerce Citizens: Shalva Dekanozishvili; Kalenike Uridia; Rusudan Mgeladze; Natia Bagdavadze

Policy Areas

E-Government, Lobbying, Open Parliaments, Participation in Lawmaking, Public Participation, Regulatory Governance

IRM Review

IRM Report: Georgia Transitional Results 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

3. Strengthen Effectiveness and Transparency of the Parliament by Implementing Innovative Technologies
Lead Agency Parliament of Georgia

Partners Public Institution Initiator: Parliament of Georgia
Civil/International/Private Sector Initiator: GGI; IDFI; GIZ; GYLA; TI; American Chamber of Commerce
Citizens: Shalva Dekanozishvili; Kalenike Uridia; Rusudan Mgeladze; Natia Bagdavadze
Current Situation and Challenges Innovative technologies are being actively implemented in the Parliament of Georgia in order to ensure effectiveness and transparency of parliamentary activities. As of today, any stakeholder is entitled to leave his/her opinion on draft laws available on the website of the Parliament. Mobile application and Public Information Module of the Parliament of Georgia have been elaborated and they offer information in an easily editable format and any stakeholder is able to electronically request public information. However, in order to ensure even more active citizen involvement and ensure accessibility of information, it is necessary to implement modern e-governance standards and refine already existing mechanisms by using new innovative approaches.

Main Objective Refine effectiveness, openness and transparency of parliamentary activities and ensure citizen involvement by implementing modern technologies.
OGP Challenge Improving Public Services

OGP Principles Access to Information Accountability
Citizen Engagement
Technologies and Innovation

√ √ √ √
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) the Commitment addresses
Goal 16
Milestones New/Old Commitment Start Date: End Date:
1. Elaboration and launch of a new website of the Parliament (GGI) 07/2018 03/2019
2. Development and proactive disclosure of special online forms for draft law elaboration on the website of the Parliament (Parliament of Georgia) 09/2018 05/2019
3. Regular and organized disclosure of the information on Parliamentary supervisory activities on the website of the Parliament (GGI) 03/2019 Published on a regular basis
4. Proactive disclosure of stenographic records of plenary sessions in open format on the website of the Parliament (IDFI) 03/2019 Published on a regular basis
5. Implementation of an adapted mechanism for online registration of citizens, for the purpose of ensuring attendance at committee sessions (IDFI and the Parliament of Georgia) 08/2018 03/2019
6. Implementation of an online chat mechanism (“live chat”) for gathering information (GIZ) 08/2018 03/2019
7. Elaboration and proactive disclosure of a unified form of Parliamentary Committee reports on the website of the Parliament (GYLA) 08/2018 04/2019
8. Elaboration of an electronic search engine for draft laws that are reviewed in an accelerated manner (GYLA) 08/2018 03/2019
9. Elaboration of an electronic map for majoritarian MP Bureaus (GYLA) 08/2018 03/2019
10. Prior to conducting committee hearings, proactive disclosure and reception of citizen opinions/questions on reports submitted by an accountable entity on the website of the Parliament (GYLA) 03/2019 Is published regularly
11. Proactive disclosure of information on composition, formation rules and activities of consultative councils of committees on the website of the Parliament (TI) 03/2019 Is published regularly
12. Creation and proactive disclosure of the instruction and tutorial for elaborating explanatory notes on the website of the Parliament (TI and GIZ) 10/2018 06/2019
13. Elaboration and proactive disclosure of a Common Registry of Stakeholders on the website of the Parliament for the purpose of ensuring stakeholder involvement in the initial stages of lawmaking (American Chamber of Commerce) 09/2018 05/2019
14. Elaboration and proactive disclosure of a Lobbyist Organizations Registry on the website of the Parliament (Citizen:Natia Bagdavadze) 09/2018 03/2019
15. Refining the mobile application of the Parliament (Citizens: Shalva Dekanozishvili; Kalenike Uridia; Rusudan Mgeladze) 08/2018 04/2019
Indicators
Activity 1 (GGI) • New website of the Parliament is adapted to the needs of citizens, is more flexible and interactive;
• The website is adapted to the needs of blind and visually impaired persons;
• New website of the Parliament ensures citizen involvement and feedback from voters;
• The website is more informational.
Activity 2 (Parliament of Georgia) • A special electronic form that sets out standards and rules for elaborating draft laws is defined;
• Electronic form is easily accessible and understandable for any stakeholder.

Activity 3 (GGI) • A new space for regular disclosure of information on supervisory activities is created on the website of the Parliament;
• Information on supervisory activities is updated at least once each quarter.

Activity 4 (IDFI) • Amendments are made to the Order on Proactively Disclosed Information of the Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia;
• Stenographic records of plenary sessions are systematically disclosed in open format on the website of the Parliament of Georgia.

Activity 5 (Parliament of Georgia and IDFI) • An adapted mechanism for online registration of citizens is launched on the official website of the Parliament of Georgia, in order to ensure attendance at committee sessions.

Activity 6 (GIZ) • Online chat mechanism (“live chat”) is created and implemented;
• Citizens have used an online chat at least once.
Activity 7 (GYLA) • A unified form for parliamentary committee reports is elaborated and approved;
• Reports of the parliamentary committees are proactively disclosed on the website of the Parliament of Georgia.
Activity 8 (GYLA)
• Draft laws reviewed in an accelerated manner are easily searchable on the website of the Parliament.

Activity 9 (GYLA) • Bureaus of majoritarian MPs are searchable through an electronic map on the website of the Parliament.
Activity 10 (GYLA)
• Reports submitted by accountable entities are disclosed on the website of the Parliament several days prior to their committee hearings;
• There is a defined period during which citizens can submit their questions.

Activity 11 (TI) • Systematically updated information on composition, formation rules and activities of consultative groups is available on individual websites of committees and on the website of the Parliament.

Activity 12 (TI and GIZ) • Instruction on elaborating explanatory notes is created, approved by the Bureau and proactively disclosed on the website of the Parliament;
• Video tutorial on elaboration of an explanatory note is created and proactively disclosed on the website of the Parliament.

Activity 13 (American Chamber of Commerce and the Parliament of Georgia) • Common Registry of Stakeholders, where any representative of the private sector can register, is created on the website of the Parliament;
• Annual meetings with the private sector are organized in the Parliament;
• Involvement of the private sector in the parliamentary processes is institutionalized.

Activity 14 (Citizen: Natia Bagdavadze)
• The Lobbyist Organizations Registry available on the website of the Parliament is systematically updated.
Activity 15 (Citizens: Shalva Dekanozishvili; Kalenike Uridia; Rusudan Mgeladze)
• Subscription to newsletters, as well as contact MP features are added to the mobile application of the Parliament of Georgia;
• A mechanism for voting on draft laws (“online plebiscite”) is created and launched.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Commitment 26: Strengthen Effectiveness and Transparency of the Parliament by Implementing Innovative Technologies

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

“Innovative technologies are being actively implemented in the Parliament of Georgia in order to ensure effectiveness and transparency of parliamentary activities. As of today, any stakeholder is entitled to leave his/her opinion on draft laws available on the website of the Parliament. Mobile application and Public Information Module of the Parliament of Georgia have been elaborated and they offer information in an easily editable format and any stakeholder is able to electronically request public information. However, in order to ensure even more active citizen involvement and ensure accessibility of information, it is necessary to implement modern e-governance standards and refine already existing mechanisms by using new innovative approaches.”

Milestones: 

  1. Elaboration and launch of a new website of the Parliament (GGI)
  2. Development and proactive disclosure of special online forms for draft law elaboration on the website of the Parliament (Parliament of Georgia)
  3. Regular and organized disclosure of the information on Parliamentary supervisory activities on the website of the Parliament (GGI)
  4. Proactive disclosure of stenographic records of plenary sessions in open format on the website of the Parliament (IDFI)
  5. Implementation of an adapted mechanism for online registration of citizens, for the purpose of ensuring attendance at committee sessions (IDFI and the Parliament of Georgia)
  6. Implementation of an online chat mechanism (“live chat”) for gathering information (GIZ)
  7. Elaboration and proactive disclosure of a unified form of Parliamentary Committee reports on the website of the Parliament (GYLA)
  8. Elaboration of an electronic search engine for draft laws that are reviewed in an accelerated manner (GYLA)
  9. Elaboration of an electronic map for majoritarian MP Bureaus (GYLA)
  10. Prior to conducting committee hearings, proactive disclosure and reception of citizen opinions/questions on reports submitted by an accountable entity on the website of the Parliament (GYLA)
  11. Proactive disclosure of information on composition, formation rules and activities of consultative councils of committees on the website of the Parliament (TI)
  12. Creation and proactive disclosure of the instruction and tutorial for elaborating explanatory notes on the website of the Parliament (TI and GIZ)
  13. Elaboration and proactive disclosure of a Common Registry of Stakeholders on the website of the Parliament for the purpose of ensuring stakeholder involvement in the initial stages of lawmaking (American Chamber of Commerce)
  14. Elaboration and proactive disclosure of a Lobbyist Organizations Registry on the website of the Parliament (Citizen: Natia Bagdavadze)
  15. Refining the mobile application of the Parliament (Citizens: Shalva Dekanozishvili; Kalenike Uridia; Rusudan Mgeladze)

Start Date: September 2018

End Date: June 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 includes many activities to strengthen the Parliament of Georgia’s effectiveness and transparency, with support from stakeholders. [137] Parliament will develop a new webpage that includes a variety of information, such as online forms for draft laws, information on parliamentary oversight activities, stenographic records of plenary sessions, parliamentary committee reports in a unified format, and the composition and formation of committee consultation councils. The new webpage will also have a live online chat function for citizens to receive information without navigating the webpage. [138] The new webpage will have a search function to easily locate bills that have qualified for accelerated passage. [139]

Parliament also plans to introduce online registration for citizens to acquire an entry pass to the Parliament building and attend committee sessions. Previously, interested citizens needed to call up an acquaintance in Parliament, [140] and they had to ask for a pass to attend a committee meeting. Additionally, Parliament aims to create a registry of stakeholders and a registry of lobbyist organizations that will be integrated into the new webpage. A launch of a new mobile application is planned. Compared to the previous version, this application would provide more comprehensive functions and information. The application would include a search module for bills, the parliamentary calendar, Parliament’s agenda, upcoming events, information about members of Parliament (MPs), questions posed by MPs, and more.

Lastly, the commitment also entails proactive disclosure of reports submitted by the entities that are accountable to the Parliament prior to committee hearings. According to the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, [141] compared to current practice, this disclosure will provide interested parties and citizens an opportunity to leave comments and questions about the reports on the new webpage. Those questions will later be collected by the committee and asked during the special time allocated for citizens’ questions during committee hearings.

Considering all the aforementioned, as well as the fact that the commitment entails several activities whose implementations require the utilization of technology, this commitment is relevant to the OGP values of access to information and civic participation. This commitment’s planned activities are specific enough to be verified.

The proposed improvements to the parliamentary webpage represent positive steps toward greater transparency of the Parliament. The Parliament plans to regularly disclose and update various types of information, such as stenographic records of plenaries in an open data format, committee reports, supervisory activities of individual MPs, information on the formation of committee consultation councils, and reports of accountable entities.

With the launch of the new parliamentary webpage (Milestone 26.1), Parliament plans to improve the interface and navigation to better accommodate new types of disclosed data and allow citizens to easily surf and find the necessary information. The new webpage will also include a function for users to leave comments on various reports submitted to the Parliament by the accountable government agencies prior to committee hearings. Parliament will also proactively publish the registry of lobbyist organizations, which represents an important step forward in disclosing lobbyist information.

The way Parliament delivers information and certain services would also improve. For example, currently, committee reports are prepared in individually designed formats and are not published for the broader public. Thus, having a standardized format is important. [142] Furthermore, the online chat window will serve as a fast and easy-to-use source of information, providing answers, directions, and clarifications. The online registration for committee hearings could simplify and regulate a process that usually requires personal networking. [143] The mobile application could help deliver information about parliamentary news and activities to citizens. Cumulatively, these activities could have a moderate potential impact on parliamentary transparency. In the long-term, they could result in a higher level of public trust toward the Parliament.

Next steps

If this commitment is carried forward to the next action plan, the IRM researcher advises grouping similar activities with closer correlation around a specific goal. As an example, the development of the new webpage and introduction of new modules—such as a search engine and live chat—could be grouped to form a commitment regarding utilization of innovative technologies. Similarly, milestones on elaboration and proactive publishing of various documents would form another commitment that more directly addresses the value of access to information. Furthermore, the IRM researcher recommends providing clear timelines for publishing reports ahead of meetings, so MPs, citizens, and other stakeholders have the sufficient time to study them.

[137] The following stakeholders were involved: USAID Good Governance Initiative, IDFI, GIZ, GYLA, TI, AMCHAM, and citizens.

[138] Nino Tsukhishvili, Parliamentary Secretary, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, interview with IRM researcher, 5 July 2019.

[139] Tsukhishvili interview, July 2019.

[140] Tamar Sartania, Deputy Chief of Party, National Democratic Institute, interview with IRM researcher, 11 July 2019.

[141] Tsukhishvili, phone interview, July 2019.

[142] Tsukhishvili, phone interview, July 2019.

[143] Sartania, interview, July11, 2019.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

26. Strengthen effectiveness and transparency of the parliament by implementing innovative technologies

Open Parliament

Substantial

With the support of USAID GGI, parliament developed a new webpage, but had not launched it publicly by the end of the action plan period due to technical issues connected to the large amount of data that needed to be migrated from the previous version. [92] Parliament planned to launch the new webpage by February 2021 (after the official action plan period), but the launch was pushed back to 27 May 2021 due to the technical streamlining process. At the time of writing this report, the new webpage was not publicly available. [93]

Parliament completed most of the activities for this commitment. For example, it developed a new section for publishing information on its oversight activities and amended the chairman's decree that allows publishing plenary session stenographic records in open data format. It also prepared new modules for a live online chat function [94] and an online registration to attend committee hearings, and improved the search function for bills with accelerated passage. However, although technically completed, these improvements will be available for citizens only after the launch of the parliament’s new webpage on 27 May 2021 (after the end date of the action plan implementation period and after the writing of this report).

Parliament fully completed the other milestones, including adopting a unified format for parliamentary committee reports, developing a registry of stakeholders and a registry of lobbyist organizations, and proactively disclosing reports submitted by entities that are accountable to parliament prior to committee hearings. As the new webpage was not yet launched at the time of writing this report, this information was only available on the current parliamentary webpage. Lastly, parliament also developed a new version of its mobile application for both Google and Apple platforms. The application provides regularly updated information on parliamentary activities. [95]

The milestones that entailed elaborating online forms for draft laws and developing electronic maps for majoritarian MP Bureaus were not started.

[92] Irina Arabidze, Legislative and Oversight Component Manager at USAID Georgia Good Governance Initiative (GGI), 3 November 2020.
[93] Information sent to the IRM during the public comment period of this report by Irina Arabidze, USAID Georgia Good Governance Initiative (GGI), 7 July 2021.
[94] Nino Tsukhishvili, Parliamentary Secretary, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, interview with IRM researcher, 28 October 2020.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership