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Serbia

Enactment of a Law on Electronic Documents, Electronic Identification and Trusted Services in Electronic Business (RS0026)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Serbia Second National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Legislation & Regulation, Private Sector, Public Service Delivery, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Serbia End-of-Term Report 2016–2018, Serbia Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Not Relevant

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

THEME: Improve the legal framework in the field of e-business; COMMITMENT 13: Enactment of a Law on Electronic Documents, Electronic Identification and Trusted Services in Electronic Business; Status quo or problem addressed by the commitment: Trust in online services is a crucial element for building trust in the work of public administration, as well as for social development. The existing regulations (Law on Electronic Signature and Law on electronic Document) do not cover certain segments of use of electronic data, means of electronic communication and electronic processing of data in the transactions of natural persons and legal entities, including public administration bodies (e-business), which feeds into the fear that e-services make it impossible to verify the identity of a legal entity or natural persons, enable electronic identification and guarantee for the authenticity of specific data, all of which affects the openness of public administration. The Draft Law on Electronic Documents, Electronic Identification and Trusted Services in Electronic Business was prepared and public debate was conducted from 7-30. September 2016. The analysis of propositions and coments of the participants in the public debate is currently in progress and the preparation of the Draft Law that will be submitted to the competent state bodies for opinions, in order to be submited to the Government for approval. Main objective: Enactment of the proposed Law and its implementing regulations would complete the legal framework for establishing a common basis for electronic interactions between citizens, companies and public administration bodies and fostering greater trust in electronic transactions, online services, e-business and e-commerce. It is particularly important to put in place more detailed provisions pertaining to: generation and validation of electronic signatures and electronic stamps and their validity and power as evidence; registered electronic delivery service as an electronic data transmission service where the service provider provides evidence of handling of transmitted data; document conversion to different formats in a way which preserves the content; digitalisation of documents that were not originally made in an electronic form; provision of trusted services/electronic identification; website authentication; introduction of relevant registers in the field of e-business; and conditions for storing and archiving electronic documents. Brief description of commitment (140-character limit): The new Law will improve Serbia’s legal framework and harmonise it with the most recent EU regulations in this field by introducing provisions pertaining to electronic documents, electronic identification and trusted services in e-business. The Law will introduce registers of electronic identification service providers, trusted service providers and qualified devices for certificate generation, regulate long-term storage of information and legal validity of electronic signatures and stamps and provide for their validation regardless of future technological changes. OGP challenge addressed by the commitment: Improving public services; Relevance: The Law and bylaws will enable easier and faster access to information and services provided by state administration bodies, with the aim of ensuring efficient, transparent and accountable work of state administration and providing better public services, suited to the needs of citizens and businesses. The Law will contribute to the attainment of core OGP values: technology and innovation as tools for achieving transparency and accountability. It will create conditions for fostering greater trust in electronic transactions and online services/e-business, which in turn will lead to greater transparency and accountability of public administration and civic participation in the drafting of regulations and decision-making. The Law will facilitate access to information and civic participation. Ambition: The new Law and its implementing regulations will: - Improve Serbia’s legal framework and harmonise it with the most recent EU regulations - Create assumptions for fostering greater trust in e-business and use of new technologies by citizens and state administration and civic participation in the drafting of regulations and decision-making.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

For Commitment details, please see Serbia Mid-Term Report 2016-2018 (Year 1).

IRM End of Term Status Summary

13. Law on Electronic Documents and ID

Commitment Aim:

By improving the legal framework for public service delivery, the Government aimed to accelerate and simplify access to digital public services. Some of the crucial areas for improvement related to the development of e-business and the use of electronic signatures by citizens and businesses. Changes were supposed to be created through enacting a Law on Electronic Documents, the law on Electronic Identification and Trusted Services in Electronic Business, as well as accompanying bylaws. Individual milestones were: 1) collecting and harmonizing opinions from the central administration bodies and drafting of the law, 2) approving the Bill by the Government, 3) adopting the law by the Parliament, and 4) developing bylaws.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

This commitment was substantially implemented by midterm. The draft law was completed on time and the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications (MTTT) organized a 23-day online public debate and a roundtable in September 2016, which brought together the state administration, businesses, civil society, academic community, and relevant experts in the field. The Government, however, considered the draft eight months overdue for reasons related to the 2016 presidential elections and need for additional opinions and harmonizing views with the business community. Parliament finally adopted the Law on 17 October 2017, while the drafting of bylaws had not started at the time of developing Midterm Report (which can be referred to for more details). [Note105: Available at https://www.opengovpartnership.org/report/serbia-mid-term-report-2016-20...

End-of-Term: Substantial

The Government prescribed three deadlines for adoption of different groups of bylaws (April 2018, October 2019, April 2019), only one of which falls within the timeframe of the OGP Action Plan. So far seven out of 17 bylaws have been adopted. According to a representative of MTTT, other bylaws are in the drafting process, and they plan to consult other institutions and CSOs, as well as organize round table events to harmonize views. [Note106: Milan Vojvodic, MTTT, Interview with IRM Researcher, 19 September 2018.]

MTTT has partnered with NALED in the 'Towards a Paperless Administration' project, [Note107: Description of the project is available at http://naled.rs/ka-administraciji-bez-suvisnih-papira-demo ] with the aim of receiving support to draft 12 out of 17 bylaws. The project, funded by the UK Government, has been implemented by NALED, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and the European Policy Centre. Project consultants were tasked with drafting the bylaws. Upon completion, the project team organized consultations with NALED's 'Association for E-government,' [Note108: The Association aims at improving regulatory framework e-government and e-business development, reducing fees and bureaucracy for businesses and citizens, strengthening institutional capacities and increasing efficiency and transparency of public administration. For more information, see http://naled.rs/savez-za-e-upravu-1-1# ] which gathers big companies, municipalities and national government agencies. According to a project representative, six consultative meetings, two roundtable events with representatives of public notaries, and ten training sessions for public servants were held. [Note109: Petar Korac, NALED, online correspondence with IRM Researcher, September 2018.] Additionally, the representative shared that the project produced analysis of 40 pieces of legislation that will need to be harmonized with the law to respond to the introduction of new concepts, such as digital signature, e-stamp, e-delivery, etc. [Note110: Ibid.]

During the midterm assessment, the MTTT representatives shared the ministry's intention to tackle the low awareness of the significance of the Law on Electronic Documents. So far MTTT has not conducted any promotional activities to present the benefits of the new law to the public and to parts of the administration which are remains hesitant about such innovations. Reasons for this are the low human resources of MTTT. Only two people oversee operational tasks and each have many other responsibilities. [Note111: Ibid.]

NALED's 'Towards a Paperless Administration' project, on the other hand, has initiated an awareness raising campaign, 'Ask when we will be free from papers,' targeting citizens, businesses, and public servants. The project's webpage [Note112: http://www.pitajtekada.rs/e-poslovanje.php ] contains a simple infographic illustrating the main changes of the Law on Electronic Document, as well as a series of videos where experts explain concepts such as digital signatures, e-documents, trusted services, e-business, etc. An online form is available where the public can suggest ideas and priorities for future digitization.

A representative of MTTT confirmed to the IRM researcher that, apart from the project 'Towards a Paperless Administration', CSOs were not consulted about the project nor were they included in drafting the bylaws. [Note113: Milan Vojvodic, MTTT, Interview with IRM Researcher, 19 September 2018.] A NALED representative added that he was not sure to what extent the topic of electronic documentation interests civil society more broadly. [Note114: Petar Korac, NALED, online correspondence with IRM Researcher, September 2018. ]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did not change

Civic Participation: Did not change

Public Accountability: Did not change

The Government adopted the law, along with60 percent of the intended bylaws, but this has not contributed to improving access to information, as no new information has been disclosed. Moreover, the commitment did not facilitate civic participation since CSOs and the public have not been included in the projects and the outcomes do not currently contribute to participatory mechanisms.

Carried Forward?

The Government has not released the next Action Plan at the time of writing of this report. In the upcoming period, the MTTT could invest in capacity-building activities in public administration bodies to improve knowledge and achieve greater acceptance and trust of digitalization. It is also crucial to invest in technical adaptations to enable them to accept citizen digital signatures in administrative procedures. Existing foreign practices should be noted, in countries which have successfully adopted and promoted digital signatures among the general population, such as Estonia and Austria.


Commitments

  1. Increasing transparency and participation in parliament

    RS0042, 2018, Civic Space

  2. Publishing Budget Law

    RS0028, 2018, E-Government

  3. e-calendar for financing civil society

    RS0029, 2018, E-Government

  4. publish data on environmental protection funds

    RS0030, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. opening data for public calls for media development

    RS0031, 2018, E-Government

  6. open data reports on CSOs

    RS0032, 2018, E-Government

  7. amending media registration bylaws

    RS0033, 2018, E-Government

  8. Assistance with and monitoring of adoption of LAP

    RS0034, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  9. Updating of electoral roll

    RS0035, 2018, E-Government

  10. ePAPER

    RS0036, 2018, E-Government

  11. e-notice board

    RS0037, 2018, E-Government

  12. Improving proactive transparency – Information Booklet

    RS0038, 2018, E-Government

  13. Access to Information Law

    RS0039, 2018, Capacity Building

  14. cooperation with CSOs on regulations

    RS0040, 2018, Capacity Building

  15. e-civic engagement

    RS0041, 2018, E-Government

  16. Develop a Model of Job Description or Part of Job Description of an Officer Responsible for Cooperation with Civil Society in Local Administration

    RS0014, 2016, Capacity Building

  17. Organise Trainings for Public Administration Officers in Connection with the Application of the Guidelines on Inclusion of Civil Society Organisations in the Process of Passing Regulations

    RS0015, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Organise Trainings for CSO in Connection with Application of the Guidelines on Inclusion of Civil Society Organisations in the Process of Passing Regulations

    RS0016, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Improve the System for Collecting Initiatives from Citizens and Businesses

    RS0017, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Introducing Standards for Civic Participation in the Public Policy Management System

    RS0018, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Improving Proactive Transparency – Information Booklet

    RS0019, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

    RS0020, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  23. Development of an Open Data Portal

    RS0021, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Draft a Bylaw Based on the Guidelines for Evaluation of Websites

    RS0022, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Improve the Institute of Public Hearing in the Drafting of Laws

    RS0023, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  26. Development of a Uniform Methodology for Planning, Monitoring and Performance Evaluation of Programmes and Projects Implemented by Civil Society Organisations and Monitoring the Spending of Allocated Funds

    RS0024, 2016, Capacity Building

  27. Amend the Regulation on Funds to Support Programmes or Missing Amount of Funds for Programmes of Public Interest Implemented by Associations

    RS0025, 2016, Capacity Building

  28. Enactment of a Law on Electronic Documents, Electronic Identification and Trusted Services in Electronic Business

    RS0026, 2016, Capacity Building

  29. Establish a Single Public Register of Administrative Procedures and Other Conditions for Pursuing a Business Activity

    RS0027, 2016, Capacity Building

  30. Transparency in Monitoring Budget Expenditures

    RS0001, 2014, Capacity Building

  31. Law on Financing Political Activities

    RS0002, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  32. Transparent Public Procurement Procedures

    RS0003, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement

  33. Transparent Financing of Civil Society Organizations

    RS0004, 2014, Civic Space

  34. Extending and Clarifying Responsibilities of the Anti-Corruption Agency

    RS0005, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  35. Whistleblower Protection Trainings and Campaigns

    RS0006, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  36. Draft Law Regulating Inspections in Public Administration

    RS0007, 2014, Audits and Controls

  37. e-Governmental Portal Awareness and Mobile Application

    RS0008, 2014, E-Government

  38. Starred commitment Public Administration Website Harmonization and Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

    RS0009, 2014, E-Government

  39. New Technologies to Improve Citizen Services

    RS0010, 2014, E-Government

  40. Cooperation with Civil Society Organizations in Public Policymaking

    RS0011, 2014, Civic Space

  41. Citizen Participation in Local Government Affairs

    RS0012, 2014, Public Participation

  42. Civil Society Participation in Monitoring the Public Administration (PAR) Strategy

    RS0013, 2014, Audits and Controls