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Romania

Digital Consular Services (RO0055)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Romania Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE), Monitoring and Support for Consular Offices

Support Institution(s): Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices of Romania Abroad Ministry of Internal Affairs through the Directorate for Personnel Records and Database Administration (DEPABD), National Authority for Citizenship (ANC), Associations of Romanian Communities Abroad

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Citizenship & Immigration, E-Government, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Pending IRM Review

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

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

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Digitalization of consular services performed by diplomatic missions and consular offices of Romania abroad
2018-2020 Lead implementing agency/actor Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE), Monitoring and Support for Consular Offices Other actors involved State actors Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices of Romania Abroad Ministry of Internal Affairs through the Directorate for Personnel Records and Database Administration (DEPABD), National Authority for Citizenship (ANC) CSOs, private sector, multilaterals, working groups Associations of Romanian Communities Abroad What is the public problem that the commitment will address? The impressive increase in the number of Romanian citizens living abroad has led to the unprecedented multiplication of requests for consular services addressed to diplomatic missions and consular offices of Romania (MD / OC). Under these circumstances, the MAE has embarked on a comprehensive reform process through the full computerization of consular services by creating an integrated E-Cons platform. Commitment description What is the commitment? Promotion of the Online Consular Counter (www.econsulat.ro), which is the external portal of the IT System for Integrate Management of Services for Citizens (ISIMSC), so that an increasing number of people can have access to these modern tools in order to get information about the required consular services, forwarding the online request and schedule their visit to the consulate. How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem? - Better information of the Romanian citizens regarding the available consular services, the reduction of the visits to the consulate and the shortening of the time needed to obtain the 20 requested documents. Increasing the capacity of processing consular services by MD / OC. Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values? Increasing the quality of consular services offered to the Romanian citizens abroad. Milestone activity with a verifiable deliverable Responsible agency / partner Start Date: End Date: Organization of meetings with members of Romanian communities abroad for the presentation of the E-Cons platform MD / OC 2018 December 2020 Popularizing the Online Consular Desk on online social media (Facebook sessions for questions and answers, tutorial posts and audio-visual promotion materials, private messages, etc.). MAE 2018 December 2020 Organization of joint information campaigns MAE-MAI for Romanian citizens to request timely renewal of travel documents MAE / MAI 2018 December 2020 Popularization of the Contact and Support Centre for Romanian Citizens Abroad (CCSCRS) among Romanian communities outside the borders MAE / MD / OC 2018 December 2020 Feedback campaign on the services offered through the platform, as well as on what other services should be added MAE / MD / OC 2018 2020 Further development of the platform to include the newest and most required services MAE / MD / OC 2019 2020 Additional information Budget: Existing funding from the state budget and community funds.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

8. Digitalization of consular services performed by diplomatic missions and consular offices of Romania abroad

Commitment Text: "Promotion of the Online Consular Counter (www.econsulat.ro), which is the external portal of the IT System for Integrate Management of Services for Citizens (ISIMSC), so that an increasing number of people can have access to these modern tools in order to get information about the required consular services, forwarding the online request and schedule their visit to the consulate."

Milestones:

    • Organization of meetings with members of Romanian communities abroad for the presentation of the E-Cons platform
    • Popularizing the Online Consular Desk on online social media (Facebook sessions for questions and answers, tutorial posts and audio-visual promotion materials, private messages, etc.).
    • Organization of joint information campaigns MAE-MAI for Romanian citizens to request timely renewal of travel documents
    • Popularization of the Contact and Support Centre for Romanian Citizens Abroad (CCSCRS) among Romanian communities outside the borders
    • Feedback campaign on the services offered through the platform, as well as on what other services should be added
    • Further development of the platform to include the newest and most required services

Start Date: 2018

End Date: December 2020

Editorial Note: The commitment text is abridged. The full text can be found in the OGP 2018-2020 national action plan.

Context and Objectives

According to Eurostat, in 2018, 21.3 percent of Romanian citizens of working age resided abroad, as opposed to only 9.5 percent in 2008. [70] This increase has led to many more requests for consular services addressed to diplomatic missions and consular offices. To address the higher volumes of requests for consular services, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) has created an integrated E-Cons platform and the Contact and Support Center for Romanian Citizens Abroad. However, according to an interviewed MAE representative, these e-consular services are not sufficiently used, and some citizens do not know of them, while others are reticent about employing these tools. [71]

This current commitment aims to better inform Romanian citizens residing abroad regarding the consular services available to them, in addition to making a variety of administrative improvements. Such improvements include reducing the number of necessary interactions between the consular offices and the public, better management of the requests for consular services, and reducing cueing time at consular offices. While the commitment primarily focuses on administrative improvements, technology and innovation are being used to ensure that information is better provided, and this commitment increases civic participation by allowing citizen to suggest improvements for the digital consular services.

While the commitment’s milestones are verifiable, they lack certain details to determine if the commitment could have transformative potential impact. For example, it is unclear how many cultural or educational events will be organized in 2020. Moreover, many audiovisual promotion materials and video campaigns have already been executed before the start of this action plan, [72] disseminated on the webpage, Facebook page, and YouTube channel of the Consular Directorate of the MAE. [73] According to a MAE representative, the information campaigns include flyers and posters posted at the local Directions for Passports and the consular offices. [74] However, it is unclear whether new video campaigns will be executed in 2019-2020. Similarly, according to the representative of the MAE, the surveys and polls will assess the usefulness of the digital tools, their user friendliness, and whether they can be used by people with disabilities. It is nevertheless unclear how these feedback campaigns will be constructed, and how many responses are required. [75]

If fully implemented, the commitment could have a moderate impact on the usage of online consular services, on the time needed to obtain the requested documents and on the processing capacity of the consular offices. The awareness campaigns could generate more online requests, although with 49 percent of online requests in 2018, [76] the citizens likely to be reached may have already been reached. It may also increase the willingness of citizens to follow SMS instructions about when to renew their documents and update the database containing their mobile details, which currently contains many errors and missing information. [77]

Next steps

The IRM researcher views this commitment as a priority, considering the increasing pressure for consular services. The following recommendations can help improve the commitments’ implementation, as well as the design of its continuation in the next action plan, especially in making it more clearly relevant to open government:

  • The Consular Directorate of MAE could try to assess the efficiency of the information campaigns it runs, to be able to fund the most effective ones. Consequently, it could require citizens that request documents online to fill in a very short questionnaire and disclose what motivated them to transition from "in person" to "digital."
  • The Consular Directorate of MAE could assess the user satisfaction of their digital tools after each user session, and independently assess user satisfaction from the feedback campaign and from the awareness campaigns.
  • The Consular Directorate of MAE could publish a summary of the recommendations it receives from the feedback campaign, form the user satisfaction surveys, and organize discussions with local communities of Romanians on their webpage together with a short description of their plans to implement the recommendations.
  • The Consular Directorate of MAE could respond to and address the negative comments that users of the digital tools have expressed on their Facebook page. The Facebook page currently has a rating of 3.5/5.

[70] Eurostat (2019) "EU citizens living in another Member State - statistical overview", available at https://bit.ly/2lG4pwM.

[71] Interview with Sorin Badulescu, Ministry of External Affairs (MAE), 6 September 2019.

[72] "The Consulate, closer to home", video available [in Romanian] at http://bit.ly/2krRgap; "Travel documents", video available [in Romanian] at http://bit.ly/2m3I9wJ; "Request a birth certificate", video available [in Romanian] at http://bit.ly/2kE2f0d; "First steps on the portal", video available [in Romanian] at http://bit.ly/2k7eq5u.

[73] The information campaigns about the SMS notification that citizens whose travel documents will expire in the next six months will receive from the Consular Directorate of the MAE, are available [in Romanian] at http://bit.ly/2kEoFhR, http://bit.ly/2k9u1lb and http://bit.ly/2lIwmDY.

[74] Interview with Sorin Badulescu, MAE, 6 September 2019.

[75] Interview with Sorin Badulescu, MAE, 6 September 2019.

[76] Ibid.

[77] Ibid.


Commitments

  1. Standardize Public Consultation Practices

    RO0048, 2018, E-Government

  2. Open Local Government

    RO0049, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Citizen Budgets

    RO0050, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Youth Participation

    RO0051, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. Register of Civil Society Proposals

    RO0052, 2018, E-Government

  6. Access to Information – Local

    RO0053, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Online Business Sector Information

    RO0054, 2018, Capacity Building

  8. Digital Consular Services

    RO0055, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Transparency in the Funding of Political Parties

    RO0056, 2018, Access to Information

  10. National Investment Fund Transparency

    RO0057, 2018, Access to Information

  11. Civil Servant Training

    RO0058, 2018, Capacity Building

  12. Raise Awareness About Corruption

    RO0059, 2018, Capacity Building

  13. Transparency of Seized Assets

    RO0060, 2018, Access to Information

  14. Access to Social Services

    RO0061, 2018, E-Government

  15. Open Access to Research

    RO0062, 2018, Access to Information

  16. Open Education

    RO0063, 2018, Access to Information

  17. Evaluate Open Data

    RO0064, 2018, Access to Information

  18. Open Data

    RO0065, 2018, Access to Information

  19. Improving the Legal Framework and Practices Regarding Access to Public Interest Information

    RO0030, 2016, Access to Information

  20. Centralized Publishing of Public Interest Information on the Single Gateway Transparenta.Gov.Ro

    RO0031, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Promoting Open Parliament Principles

    RO0032, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. Starred commitment Improved Management of the Applications Submitted for Granting Citizenship

    RO0033, 2016, Capacity Building

  23. Standardization of Transparency Practices in the Decision-Making Procedures

    RO0034, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Centralised Publication of Legislative Projects on the Single Gateway Consultare.Gov.Ro

    RO0035, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Citizens Budgets

    RO0036, 2016, Capacity Building

  26. Improve Youth Consultation and Public Participation

    RO0037, 2016, Capacity Building

  27. Subnational Open Government

    RO0038, 2016, Capacity Building

  28. Promoting Transparency in the Decision-Making Process By Setting Up a Transparency Register (RUTI)

    RO0039, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  29. Access to Performance Indicators Monitored in the Implementation of the National Anticorruption Strategy (SNA)

    RO0040, 2016, Access to Information

  30. Improve Transparency in the Management of Seized Assets

    RO0041, 2016, Access to Information

  31. Annual Mandatory Training of Civil Servants on Integrity Matters

    RO0042, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  32. Improving Access to Cultural Heritage

    RO0043, 2016, Capacity Building

  33. Open Data and Transparency in Education

    RO0044, 2016, Access to Information

  34. Virtual School Library and Open Educational Resources

    RO0045, 2016, Capacity Building

  35. Open Contracting

    RO0046, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  36. Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Published Open Data

    RO0047, 2016, Access to Information

  37. Publishing the Public Interest Information on a Single Government Portal: Transparenta.Gov.Ro

    RO0019, 2014, Access to Information

  38. Making an Inventory of the Datasets Produced by the Ministries and Subordinate Agencies

    RO0020, 2014, Access to Information

  39. Starred commitment Ensuring the Free Online Access to National Legislation

    RO0021, 2014, E-Government

  40. Amending Law 109/2007 on the Re-Use of Public Sector Information

    RO0022, 2014, Access to Information

  41. Opening Data Collected from the National Health System

    RO0023, 2014, Access to Information

  42. Opening Data Collected from the Monitoring of Preventive Measures as Part of the National Anticorruption Strategy 2012-2015

    RO0024, 2014, Access to Information

  43. Open Contracting

    RO0025, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  44. Opening up Data Resulted from Publicly-Funded Research Projects

    RO0026, 2014, E-Government

  45. Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Published Open Data

    RO0027, 2014, Access to Information

  46. Human Resource Training in the Field of Open Data

    RO0028, 2014, Access to Information

  47. Disseminating Information on the OGP Principles and Promoting the Open Data Concept in an Accessible Manner

    RO0029, 2014,

  48. Designating a Person Responsible for Publishing Open Data in Each Public Institution

    RO0001, 2012, Access to Information

  49. Identifying Regulatory Needs, Logistical and Technical Solutions

    RO0002, 2012, Access to Information

  50. Making an Inventory of Available (High-Value) Data-Sets

    RO0003, 2012, Access to Information

  51. Priority Publishing on the Web Pages of Public Institutions of Specific Data-Sets

    RO0004, 2012, Access to Information

  52. Initiating Pilot-Projects, in Partnerships

    RO0005, 2012, Access to Information

  53. Organizing Public Debates on the Utility of Open Data, in Partnerships

    RO0006, 2012, Access to Information

  54. Uniform, Machine-Readable Publishing Format for Open Data

    RO0007, 2012, Access to Information

  55. Procedures for Publication of Data-Sets Based on Civil Society Recommendations

    RO0008, 2012, Access to Information

  56. Procedures for Citizen Complaints Pertaining to Open Data

    RO0009, 2012, Access to Information

  57. Consultation Mechanism Between Suppliers and Beneficiaries of Open Data

    RO0010, 2012, Access to Information

  58. Creating a Rating System for the Assessment of High-Value Data-Sets

    RO0011, 2012, Access to Information

  59. Routinely Publishing Specific Data-Sets on Web Pages of Public Institutions

    RO0012, 2012, Access to Information

  60. Integrating Open Data from Public Institutions in a Single National Platform

    RO0013, 2012, Access to Information

  61. Inventories of Data, in Order to Facilitate Public Access

    RO0014, 2012, Access to Information

  62. Institute a Monitoring Mechanism of Compliance for Open Data

    RO0015, 2012, Access to Information

  63. Stimulating the Market for Innovative Use of Open Data

    RO0016, 2012, Access to Information

  64. Routinely Publishing Data-Sets on the National Platform, 25% High-Value

    RO0017, 2012, Access to Information

  65. The Public Procurement Electronic System (SEAP). the Electronic Allocation System for Transports (SAET)/B.1 C) Expanding the On-Line Submission of Fiscal Forms. Ensuring the Free On-Line Access to National Legislation. Developing Electronic Tools to Manage Subpoenas and Facilitate Access Toinformation Regarding Legal Proceedings. Developing Electronic Tools to Manage the Procedures Related to Obtaining the Romanian Citizenship. Developing Electronic Tools to Manage the Procedures Related to the Creation of Non-Profit Legal Persons. the Integrated System for Electronic Access to Justice (SIIAEJ)

    RO0018, 2012, Access to Justice

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