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Lithuania

Publish Fiscal Information (LT0026)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Lithuania Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Finance

Support Institution(s): Information Society Development Committee under the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation, Special Investigation Service, Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania

Policy Areas

E-Government, Fiscal Openness, Publication of Budget/Fiscal Information

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

2. Openness to the public of the activities of public governance institutions and their public accountability (fiscal openness)
3. Publicise information on revenue and expenditure of state and municipal institutions in the electronic environment
30 June 2018 – 15 June 2020
Lead implementing agency Ministry of Finance
Commitment description
Status quo or problem addressed by the commitment For the moment, there is no single methodological, legal and ICT tool model that would ensure access to information about the revenues and expenditure and other financial data of state and municipal institutions in the electronic environment, and the public is prevented from getting information about the financial activities of public authorities and public financial resources in a manner acceptable to it.

A model of data and indicators to be made public for the previous reference period has been prepared, data sources and registers from which the data will be collected has been identified. The technical specification and procurement documents of the information system have been prepared.
Problem solution/Commitment Creation of the IS ‘Open Finance’
Main objective Publicise information on revenue and expenditure as well as other financial data of state and municipal institutions in the electronic environment and create tools for the analysis of these data.
How will the commitment contribute to solve the problem? Following the creation and introduction of the IS ‘Open Finance’, information on revenue and expenditure of state and municipal institutions will be placed in a single IS, providing for a possibility of cross-cutting analysis, summary tables, graphic images at customer’s request, data search by using electronic search and analytical tools.
Action and its description Expected concrete result Start date: End date:
1. Initiation and analysis Development of a document featuring detailed analysis and system architecture

Introduction and configuration of standard system components 31/12/2018 30/04/2019
2. Launching pilot version Introduction of the pilot version of the system, where part of the indicators has been realised 01/05/2019 30/09/2019
3. Launching beta version Introduction of a publicly accessible version of the system 01/10/2019 31/03/2020
4. Trial operation and error correction Introduction of the updated final version of the system with corrected errors 01/04/2020 15/06/2020
How is the commitment relevant to the values of transparency, accountability and civic participation? The commitment is relevant to the value of transparency, as the information system created will allow data on public sector revenue and expenditure to be accessed from one place and in a single format. This will increase the quality, accessibility and clarity of the information.

The public will have the possibility, through the tools created, to analyse this information in various cross-sections as well as impact the decision-making.
Additional information • Implementation of the commitment is financed from the EU Structural Funds.
• Preparatory works for the procurement of the services for the introduction of information system have been completed, and the architecture for indicators has been put in place.
Contact information
Lead implementing agency Ministry of Finance
Name, title, department, email and telephone number of the responsible person Rasa Kavolytė,
Deputy Director of the State Treasury Department,
email: rasa.kavolyte@finmin.lt, tel.: 8 5 239 0270Other ministries, departments/agencies involved Information Society Development Committee under the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation, Special Investigation Service, Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania
What civil society organisations, private sector representatives or other stakeholders 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.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. Publicize information on revenue and expenditure of state and municipal institutions in the electronic environment

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

There is no single methodological, legal and ICT tool model that would ensure access to information about the revenues and expenditure and other financial data of state and municipal institutions in the electronic environment, and the public is prevented from getting information about the financial activities of public authorities and public financial resources in a manner acceptable to it. A model of data and indicators to be made public for the previous reference period has been prepared, data sources and registers from which the data will be collected has been identified. The technical specification and procurement documents of the information system have been prepared. [17]

Milestones:

3.1. Development of a document featuring detailed analysis and system architecture. Introduction and configuration of standard system

3.2. Introduction of the pilot version of the system, where part of the indicators has been realized

3.3. Introduction of a publicly accessible version of the system

3.4. Introduction of the updated final version of the system with corrected errors

Start Date: 30 June 2018

End Date: 15 June 2020

Context and Objectives

Government financial information is not easily accessible to the public, and only every sixth municipality publishes it in an open data format. [18] Lithuanian citizens have expressed their disappointment in the lack of publicly available information on revenues and spending. According to a survey conducted by Transparency International Lithuania, 28 percent of respondents say they would like to have more detailed and easier-to-understand local-level financial information. [19]

With this commitment, the Ministry of Finance aims to address the issue by creating a central online platform providing access to financial information of state and municipal institutions. This commitment is carried forward from the previous action plan, as the ministry did not get any suppliers to create the database during that time. According to Rasa Kavolyte, the deputy director at the Ministry of Finance, the ministry would consider narrowing the scope of work by excluding data on planned budgets. [20] The procurement was not successful primarily because the budget for the portal was insufficient for the amount of work it entailed. [21]

This commitment is verifiable and measurable, but the scope of work is questionable. It is not clear what exactly the ministry aims to disclose and what institutions classify as “state and municipal institutions.” Thus, it would be complicated to evaluate the impact, and measure if the implementation was successful and solved the issue. As the specificity is low, the potential impact of the commitment is considered minor.

Next steps

This commitment is important to ensuring public access to information on how public-sector institutions perform financially. It should be carried forward. However, the IRM researcher recommends specifying the scope of work and informing how possible changes to it might influence the success of this commitment. Also, to ensure the public knows what to expect, the IRM researcher encourages the government to clarify or list institutions that would be affected by this commitment. The ministry should also outline how it plans to ensure institutions act in line with their new duties.

Lastly, to avoid duplicating efforts, the IRM researcher recommends merging this commitment with the open data commitment carried out by the Information Society Development Committee under the Ministry of Economy and Innovation. If the commitments are not merged, the Ministry of Finance should articulate how both of them would supplement each other to create a systematic open data portal in Lithuania.

[17] Full commitment text available at https://bit.ly/2HPWuXo. [18] “Transparency of Lithuanian Municipalities,” Transparency International Lithuania, http://www.jurgiokepure.lt [19] “Citizens’ Survey on the Openness of Municipalities,” Transparency International Lithuania, http://www.transparency.lt/tils-tyrimai-ir-analizes. [20] Rasa Kavolyte, Ministry of Finance, interview by IRM researcher, 11 September 2018. [21] Ibid.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

3. Publicize information on revenue and expenditure of state and municipal institutions in the electronic environment

Aim of the commitment

Under this commitment, the Ministry of Finance aimed to open financial data in a centralized portal and disclose revenue and expenses of state and municipal institutions. This was carried forward from Lithuania’s previous action plan (2016-2018) because it was unfinished by the end of that plan. [31]

Did it open government?

Major

The Ministry of Finance launched a new open data portal, thus fully completing the commitment. The new financial open data portal includes 12 large-scale financial datasets for each of the 60 municipalities in Lithuania. [32] The available open datasets on the portal cover topics ranging from revenue and expenses of state and municipal institutions, to debts, income, and unemployment, and cover the period 2018-2019. Moreover, the newly available financial datasets from national-level bodies include all public and private recipients, such as corporations, small or medium businesses, and NGOs that received public funding for goods or services they provided. [33]

Before the action plan, there was no way to systematically gather public sector data in order to evaluate how public funds were used at the national or municipal level, or assess the financial performances of public institutions. Previously, only one in every six municipalities in Lithuania published this information in open data format on their websites and no national bodies made their financial data available in a user-friendly format. [34] In addition, much of the now centralized financial data was only available for researchers and interested citizens upon request from the different municipal and state-level institutions. As a result of this commitment, the Ministry of Finance has launched Lithuania’s first large-scale open data portal covering public spending where any interested person may use the available data to see how municipalities and state-level institutions use public funds. Importantly, journalists, NGOs, or interested citizens can now more easily access and (re)use key available financial datasets for all Lithuanian municipalities, much of which was previously unavailable or difficult to obtain. Although the action plan did not specify the quantity of data the ministry would open, the implementation of this commitment has improved access to financial data in Lithuania in a major way, particularly at the municipal level.

Moreover, the Ministry of Finance has already analyzed the data and presented its insights online. According to the deputy director at the Ministry of Finance, the new portal will not only benefit citizens, in terms of access to previously unavailable data, but also the ministry’s staff, who have used the newly opened data to assess the efficiency of public spending and the use of state property. [35] The deputy director expects that the data on the portal could reinvigorate public and institutional debates around the distribution of public funds. [36]

[32] The Ministry of Finance, Open data portal, http://www.lietuvosfinansai.lt
[33] Financial recipients of public funds, Open data portal, https://rinkiniai.lietuvosfinansai.lt/dataset/suppliers
[34] Transparency International Lithuania, “Transparency of Lithuanian Municipalities,” http://www.jurgiokepure.lt
[35] Rasa Kavolyte, the Ministry of Finance, interview by IRM researcher, 7 October 2020.
[36] Ibid.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership