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Lithuania

Open Data (LT0024)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Lithuania Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Information Society Development Committee under the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation

Support Institution(s): Office of the Government, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Finance, Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania., Open Source for Lithuania, open data group

Policy Areas

Access to Information, E-Government, Legislation & Regulation, Open Data, Open Parliaments

IRM Review

IRM Report: Lithuania Transitional Results Report 2018-2020, Lithuania Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

I. Openness to the public of the activities of public governance institutions and their public accountability (open data)
1. Create an open data portal and integrate it into the European digital single market (continued work)
28 February 2018 – 31 December 2020
Lead implementing agency Information Society Development Committee under the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation
Commitment description
Current situation (status quo) and the public problem that the commitment will address Public sector institutions have accumulated a wealth of valuable information that is not readily and freely available for re-use in business development, promotion of economic growth, increasing public sector transparency, addressing social issues, promoting social and civic engagement.
Problem solution/Commitment The problem will be solved by developing methodological tools and technological possibilities for public sector institutions to open up the data they manage:
• Methodological legal framework has been created to provide for preconditions for Lithuanian public sector institutions to form open data sets and their metadata and to publish them on the Lithuanian Open Data Portal.
• An information technology infrastructure has been developed to make public sector data and metadata public and to provide information to domestic users (businesses, public organisations and citizens) and it has been integrated into the European Open Data Infrastructure.
• The organisational structure for the planning, financing and implementation of open data activities has been implemented.
Main objective Create Lithuania’s open data portal
How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem? • The creation of Lithuania’s open data portal will provide business representatives, non-governmental organisations and active citizens with access to information resources accumulated and opened up by the institutions, while public sector institutions will enjoy the benefit of greater accessibility and transparency.
• Opening public sector data will enable active members of the public to make proposals and influence decision-making, while at the same time developing citizens’ trust in government institutions and their civic engagement.
• Adopted and implemented decisions on the organisational structure of open data will create the prerequisite for the smooth opening of public sector data and will enable the public to assess the effectiveness of public sector decisions and the related accountability.
Action and its description Expected concrete result Start date: End date:
1. Preparation of methodological tools for the formation of open data An operating model draft has been worked out along with the draft amendment to the methodological recommendations for the opening of public sector data. 28/02/2018 30/04/2019
2. Preparation of legal environment for open data operations Preparation of draft legislation providing for favourable legal environment for the opening of public sector data 31/03/2019 31/10/2019
3. Implementation of the organisational structure for open data operations Adoption and implementation of legal acts on the organisational structure for data opening operations 30/06/2019 31/12/2019
4. Creation and introduction of technological tools required for the open data portal and the formation and use of other open data Completed measure 10/04/2019 30/04/2020
How is the commitment relevant to the values of transparency, accountability and civic participation? The commitment will encourage the opening of the data, increase public access to information and it will substantially increase public sector transparency.
Additional information The measures will be implemented through the following two projects:
• ‘Implementation of open data platform enabling effective public-sector information reuse for business and creation of data management tools’
(No 02.2.1-CPVA-V-523-01-0001)
• ‘Implementation of the methodological and legal regulation measures for the development of open data in Lithuania and the development of employees’ competences at state institutions’
(No 10.1.2-ESFA-V-915-01-0002)
‘The above projects are part of the programme ‘Digital Agenda for the Republic of Lithuania’,
Both projects are in progress
Contact information
Lead implementing agency Information Society Development Committee under the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation
Name, title, department, email and telephone number of the responsible person Project Promoter: Julius Belickas, Adviser, Information Resources Division,
email: julius.belickas@ivpk.lt, tel: 8 618 72 994Other ministries, departments/agencies involved Office of the Government, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Finance, Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania.
What civil society organisations, private sector representatives or other interested parties are you planning to involve in the implementation of the commitment? Do you plan to conduct a public consultation during the implementation of the commitment? The plans are to consult civil society representatives and public governance experts, academic community (civil society organisations (associations) ‘Open source for Lithuania’ Open data group info@akl.lt).
Trainings will be held for public sector representatives.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

1. Create an open data portal and integrate it into the European digital single market

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

Public sector institutions have accumulated a wealth of valuable information that is not readily and freely available for re-use in business development, promotion of economic growth, increasing public sector transparency, addressing social issues, promoting social and civic engagement. The problem will be solved by developing methodological tools and technological possibilities for public sector institutions to open up the data they manage. [1]

Milestones:

1.1. An operating model draft has been worked out along with the draft amendment to the methodological recommendations for the opening of public sector data.

1.2. Preparation of draft legislation providing for favorable legal environment for the opening of public sector data

1.3. Adoption and implementation of legal acts on the organizational structure for data opening operations

1.4. Creation and introduction of technological tools required for the open data portal and the formation and use of other open data

Start Date: 28 February 2018

End Date: 31 December 2020

Context and Objectives

The Information Society Development Committee under the Ministry of Transport and Communications has been implementing this commitment since 2016, when it was included in the previous action plan. The commitment’s implementation was categorized as limited. Thus, the committee aims to continue to create a centrally managed open data platform for citizens and businesses to access public-sector data and reuse it for both nonprofit and for-profit initiatives.

Lithuania committed to open its data in 2013, [2] but decision-makers did not prioritize the issue until 2017, when Lithuania included this commitment in the Government Program. [3] However, there have been no substantial changes since then, and Lithuania still lags considerably behind other European Union countries in terms of digital performance. [4] The Government of Lithuania has previously not included open data in its agenda and has focused on data protection rather than accessibility.

This commitment overall is verifiable and specific enough to measure whether it was completed or not, even if some milestones are vague. If implemented, it could transform the way public-sector data is stored and accessed in Lithuania. Currently, no central database offers open data from public-sector institutions free of charge. The State Enterprise Centre of Registers has systemized data about the performance of public and private entities. However, that data is available only if purchased. Accessing data from other institutions became even more complicated once the Data Protection Directive was adopted in May 2018. [5] Although the directive does not limit access to data of public interest, institutions tend not to disclose data about decision-makers in open data formats and tend to use the privacy argument when data is requested. [6]

Opening data might also bring financial benefits. The National Audit Office has calculated that opening public-sector data would bring to the country’s economy an added value worth 2 percent of Lithuania’s gross domestic product (approximately 800 million euros). [7] In the last annual speech to Parliament, the president of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite, encouraged the body to create a comprehensive open data policy and to stop charging citizens for access to public data. [8]

Next steps

This commitment constitutes an important step to changing the nature of accessing public-sector data and should be carried forward until it becomes a common practice to disclose public data in open data formats. The Information Society Development Committee holds responsibility for the task, but unless political leaders start explicitly expressing their support to open data, gains will be limited.

The IRM researcher recommends that the committee consult possible civil society stakeholders to prioritize which data to open. It should also build partnerships with other public-sector institutions to increase the possibility of success. These activities could also help to better address the needs of potential users and ensure more effective work planning.

[1] Full commitment text available at https://bit.ly/2HPWuXo. [2] The report of the National Audit Office about open data in Lithuania, No. VA-P-900-1-25, 29 November 2016, can be found here: https://www.vkontrole.lt/pranesimas_spaudai.aspx?id=22997. [3] “The Program of the Government, No. 167,” Republic of Lithuania, https://bit.ly/2WrOezW. [4] European Commission, Europe's Digital Progress Report, 2017, https://bit.ly/2lGS1HS. [5] “Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC,” European Union, https://bit.ly/2Fvi2os. [6] “Proposals on the Publicity of Data,” Transparency International Lithuania, 2018, https://bit.ly/2FHxQEK. [7]  The report of the National Audit Office about open data in Lithuania, No. VA-P-900-1-25, 29 November 2016, can be found here: https://www.vkontrole.lt/pranesimas_spaudai.aspx?id=22997. [8] “The Annual Speech to the Parliament,” Office of the President, 11 June 2019, https://www.lrp.lt/lt/lietuvos-respublikos-prezidentes-dalios-grybauskaites-metinis-pranesimas/32606.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

1. Create an open data portal and integrate it into the European digital single market

Aim of the commitment

Under this commitment, the Information Society Development Committee (ISDC) aimed to create a centrally managed open data portal to access public sector data and use it for both non-profit and for-profit initiatives. Lithuania carried this commitment forward from the previous action plan (2016-2018), since the open data portal was unfinished by the end of that plan. [1]

Did it open government?

Major

Prior to the action plan, Lithuania had no central database where citizens and businesses could access open data from public sector institutions free of charge. In addition, a 2016 National Audit Office report found that 95 percent of public sector institutions did not inventory their data, and the exact scope of data held was largely unknown. [2]

As a result of this commitment, the ISDC has created Lithuania’s first centrally managed open data portal (https://data.gov.lt, launched in July 2020) for citizens and businesses to access public sector data and reuse it. By the end of the action plan period (September 2020), the portal consisted of roughly 1,000 datasets from 16 institutions, covering topics such as public finances, employment, environment, and culture, among others. [3] The names and descriptions of the datasets are also translated into English automatically. In addition, according to the government’s self-assessment, Lithuania’s portal is linked to the European Data Portal, thus fulfilling an objective of the commitment to integrate the portal into the European digital single market. [4] The legal acts regulating the standards of open data were approved by the Ministry of Economy and Innovation on 28 December 2020. [5] Thus, the IRM considers this commitment to be fully implemented.

During the action plan period, Lithuania improved its ranking among the EU27+ in the European Data Portal’s Open Data Maturity Report by 13 points, from 24th in 2019 to 11th in 2020. [6] In addition, Lithuania moved from being classified as an open data “Follower” to a “Fast-tracker” in the 2020 Open Data Maturity Report. [7] Therefore, the implementation of this commitment represents a major improvement to the way public sector data is stored and accessed in Lithuania, compared to the situation prior to the action plan. Although Lithuania’s portal is still relatively new, the ISDC plans to expand its scope and include more public sector organizations. [8] As of mid-January 2021, the portal has more than 1,100 datasets from 21 institutions, an increase from 16 at the end of the action plan period. [9] According to the government’s end-of-term self-assessment, the ISDC will expand the portal to cover data from 50 public sector institutions by mid-2023. [10]

The portal includes guidance for public sector institutions on how to inventory and prioritize their data for publication and how to ensure their published data is high quality. [11] The Ministry of Economy and Innovation approved these recommendations on 28 December 2020 and the ISDC has already begun to use them in practice and encourages other public sector institutions to use them as well. [12]

According to an open data expert from Open Code Lithuania, while the new portal is a welcomed step, progress towards opening public data remains slow in Lithuania. [13] He also noted that the new portal currently consists of data from the public institutions that are most interested in adhering to open data policies. [14] However, key anti-corruption datasets, such as beneficial ownership of companies, remain unavailable in Lithuania. In addition, local media did not cover the new portal despite its potential importance to public well-being. [15] According to the commitment lead at the ISDC, there are only two people working on the portal and ISDC does not have sufficient resources for publicity work, education, technical support of institutions, or further development of the portal. [16]

[3] These include, among others, the National Paying Agency, State Labour Inspectorate, the Public Procurement Office, the Ministry of Finance or Employment Services.
[8] Julius Belickas, the Information Society Development Committee, interview by IRM researcher, 13 October 2020.
[9] Portal datasets, last checked 18 January 2021, https://data.gov.lt/organizations
[11] Information Society Development Committee, Guidance on data inventory, draft act, https://bit.ly/3mw9ZvR
[12] Julius Belickas, the Information Society Development Committee, interview by IRM researcher, 13 October 2020.
[13] Mantas Zimnickas, Open Code Lithuania, interview by IRM researcher, 2 November 2020.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Julius Belickas, the Information Society Development Committee, interview by IRM researcher, 13 October 2020.
[16] Ibid.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership