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Serbia

e-calendar for financing civil society (RS0029)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Serbia Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Office for Cooperation with the Civil Society

Support Institution(s): Office for Information Technology and e-Government, UNDP, CSOs, SCTM

Policy Areas

E-Government, Open Contracting and Procurement

IRM Review

IRM Report: Serbia Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

COMMITMENT 2: Development of an e-Calendar of public calls for financing of projects and
programmes of civil society organisations from budget funds of public administration bodies of the Republic of Serbia October 2018 – January 2020)
Lead implementing agency Office for Cooperation with the Civil Society
Description of Commitment
Problem addressed by the
commitment
Since 2013, at the beginning of each calendar year the Office
for Cooperation with the Civil Society (“the Office”) has been
collecting information from state and provincial administration
bodies on planned public calls for financing of
projects/programmes of civil society organisations (CSOs) and,
in accordance with collected data, has been preparing and
publishing the Calendar of Public Calls for financing of
projects and programmes of associations and other civil society
organisations from budget funds of state administration bodies
of the Republic of Serbia and the Autonomous Province of
Vojvodina (“the Calendar of Public Calls”). The Calendar is
prepared as follows: the Office distributes to state and
provincial administration bodies a form consisting of an Excel
sheet where they enter titles of and fields covered by public
calls, participants, provisional deadlines and allocated funds
and other relevant data and then return forms to the Office. All
collected forms are processed and entered into a single Excel
sheet and are published on the official website of the Office in
the form of the Calendar of Public Calls in a machine-readable
format.
The new Regulation on Funds to Support Programmes or
Missing Amount of Funds for Programmes of Public Interest
implemented by Associations (Official Gazette of RS No.
16/18) introduces important novelties aimed at increasing
transparency of funds awarding process from the moment such
funds are planned, by establishing a duty to publish an annual
plan of announcement of public calls by 31 January at the latest
and to submit information to the Office, which then publishes
the Calendar of Public Calls of all competent authorities on its
official website. In addition to introduction of the mandatory
Calendar of Public Calls, these provisions also include local
self-government units among bodies which must submit data to
the Office (so far, data have been collected from state and
provincial administration bodies on a voluntary basis).
Also, since 2011, the Office has been monitoring the execution
of public calls for the award of budget funds to associations
and other civil society organisations through preparation of the
Annual Summary Report on spending of funds provided and
paid to associations and other civil society organisations from
the budget of the Republic of Serbia as support to programme
activities (“the Annual Summary Report”). This Report is
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prepared on the basis of data provided to the Office by
administration bodies at all three government levels (national,
provincial and local) through online questionnaires, which are
then processed and integrated in summary data on the amount
of funds awarded, the number of supported projects and
programmes, their scope, the manner of funds awarding etc.
According to the most recent data made available by the
Office, notwithstanding the duty to publish results of public
calls on official websites of competent authorities, these results
were published in only 77% of all cases; notice boards of
authorities are used as an additional manner of publication,
while in 8% of cases results are not published.
However, although a high percentage of the results is
published, it has been observed in practice that they are most
often not published in a machine-readable format, which
prevents research and analytical actions and further crosschecking of data. Practical implementation has also revealed
there is a need for a central location (a single database) where
data on all public calls planned, published and implemented by
public administration bodies and their results would be
available in a machine-readable format.
Main objective The commitment includes development of the Calendar of
Public Calls as an application through which competent
authorities at all government levels would publish the
following:
• Data on planned public calls intended for financing
CSOs in the current year, in accordance with the
Regulation (before they are announced, at the
beginning of the year);
• Issued public calls with all bidding documents (or a
link to a web address where it is available);
• Results of announced public calls, including main data
on supported projects/programmes and beneficiaries;
Also, results of the search of the Calendar could be
downloaded in a machine-readable format (open data). Apart
from being a database, the application would also contain the
Calendar itself, which could be searched based on various
criteria (field of public call, competent authority, time limits
etc.), while downloading of search results in a machinereadable format would enable further processing of contained
data for analytical purposes.
The general objective is to increase the transparency of budget
funding of CSOs throughout the entire process and to create a
single record of all public calls issued by public administration
bodies on a single location.
15
Accordingly, it is expected that compliance with this
commitment would significantly increase the transparency of
CSO funding, facilitate availability of all public calls and data
about them to the interested public and strengthen the
capacities of government bodies in the field of e-government
in Serbia.
How will this commitment
contribute to problem solving?
The electronic calendar of public calls will significantly
improve the process of monitoring all planned public calls
intended for financing CSOs which has been used so far,
including preparation of the Calendar and the Annual Summary
Report, and improve their availability for use and simplify their
further analysis.
In addition, it will facilitate and improve access to information
about planned and announced public calls and, most
importantly, about their results, by creating a single record of
all such information.
Overall, this commitment will increase transparency and
visibility of support to CSOs by all administration bodies, as
well as the full amount of planned funds allocated by the
Republic of Serbia at all levels to finance associations and
other CSOs.
The way in which this commitment
is relevant to further advancing OGP
values
The commitment is relevant for fiscal transparency of public
authorities because it involves publishing of more information,
improvement in the quality of published information and
increased availability of information on public calls and
funding of programmes and projects of CSOs from budget
funds in general. Publishing of data in a machine-readable
format provides an additional value for this commitment,
which ensures further processing of data and their use for
analytical purposes.
Finally, the commitment also involves the use of new
technologies and innovation, which additionally increases its
relevance for further advancing the OGP values.
Additional information
Activity with a verifiable deliverable
and completion date
Start Date: End Date:
1. Structuring of the questionnaire Q4 2018 (October 2018) Q4 2018 (December 2018)
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and development of software for data
collecting
2. Provision of support to public
administration bodies in completion
of the questionnaire
Q4 2018
(December 2018)
Q1 2019 (January 2019)
3. Promotion of the e-Calendar of
Public Calls Q1 2019 (February 2019)
Q1 2019
(March 2019)
4. Monitoring and support to public
administration bodies in publishing
of results of public calls
Q1 2019 (March 2019) Q4 2019 (December 2019)
5. Analysis of the use of the eCalendar of Public Calls for 2019 Q4 2019 (December 2019) Q1 2020 (January 2020)
Contact information
Name of a responsible person in the
implementing agency
Danilo Rodić
Title, Department Junior Advisor at the Department fоr Planning and Creating
Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development
Email and phone number danilo.rodic@civilnodrustvo.gov.rs ; 011/311-38-59
Other actors
involved
Administration
Office for Information Technology and e-Government
Civil sector
organisations,
private sector,
working groups
UNDP, CSOs, SCTM

IRM Midterm Status Summary

2. E-calendar for Financing Civil Society

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

Title: Development of an e-Calendar of public calls for financing of projects and programmes of civil society organisations from budget funds of public administration bodies of the Republic of Serbia

The commitment includes development of the Calendar of Public Calls as an application through which competent authorities at all government levels would publish the following:

  • Data on planned public calls intended for financing CSOs in the current year, in accordance with the Regulation (before they are announced, at the beginning of the year);
  • Issued public calls with all bidding documents (or a link to a web address where it is available);
  • Results of announced public calls, including main data on supported projects/programmes and beneficiaries;

For full commitment text, please refer to the National Action Plan at https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Serbia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.pdf

Start Date: Q4 2018

End Date: Q1 2020

Context and Objectives

Every year, a significant amount of funding is made available for civil society organizations (CSOs) from public administration budgets. In 2016, local, provincial, and state institutions allocated more than 16 billion Serbian dinars (estimated 144.8 million USD [21]) to civil society organizations. [22] Information on the public calls for applying for those funds is published in .xls format. Existing regulation requires that information and plan of publishing each public call should be delivered to the OCCS by 31 January. [23] This requirement proved useful by gathering all public calls collected in one place. However, the data were not searchable, which required the development of a specific calendar application that would prove more suitable both for users (potential applicants) [24] and for data providers (public administration bodies). [25]

This commitment is specific with clear activities. In the period to follow, all information needed for a potential grant seeker will be collected via e-survey [26] and published as a user-friendly electronic calendar. [27] The calendar will include the information gathered from the public institutions (including state, provincial, and local self-government administration) only. The application will remain open for additional changes and updates by the public institutions. The OCCS will administer functioning of this application. [28] The OCCS plans to integrate the electronic calendar with the National Open Data Portal. [29]

This commitment is related to the OGP value of access to information (providing data from public calls) and technology and innovation (introducing the electronic application and electronic survey for entering data in the application). Although this is an improvement, the relevant implementing stakeholders consider this commitment easy to achieve. [30] The IRM researchers deem the slight improvement of turning the current .xls calendar into a searchable application as potentially leading to minor changes to the existing practice. The OCCS has made the information available since 2014, and this commitment would add the searchability function.

Next steps

The commitment’s planned calendar application lacks several features, at least as described within the commitment and during the interviews. The IRM researchers recommend that during implementation of the commitment, the OCCS:

  • Add a “Q&A” session to the application, which the OCCS can administer as a space for all potential applicants to have any dilemmas cleared. Along with this, the feedback function regarding new questions would be useful;
  • Expand the application possibilities and transform it into the project proposal submission platform, such as “Prospect.” [31] Potential applicants would have their basic data and similar projects’ references held at one specific place and would need less time to complete future project application forms. [32]
[21] Currency Converter from Serbian Dinar to United States Dollar for 2016, “InforEuro” Website, InforEuro, European Commission, European Union, ec.europa.eu/budg/inforeuro (accessed on 15 March 2019);
[22] Annual Summary Report on Expenditure of Funds to Support Program Activities Provided and Payment Associations and Other Civil Society Organizations from the Budget of the Republic of Serbia in 2016, Office for Cooperation with the Civil Society, Government of the Republic of Serbia, Belgrade, 2018;
[23] Regulation on Funds to Support Programs or Missing Amount of Funds for Programs of Public Interest implemented by Associations, Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia No. 16/2018, Belgrade, 2018, http://demo.paragraf.rs/WebParagrafDemo/?did=424823 (accessed on 15 March 2019);
[24] Representatives of the CSOs involved in the Working Group and dealing with the open data, interviewed by the IRM researcher, 11 February 2019;
[25] Representative of the Office for Cooperation with the Civil Society, interviewed by the IRM researcher, 13 February 2019;
[26] Representative of the Office for Cooperation with the Civil Society, interviewed by the IRM researcher, Ibid;
[27] Serbia Third National OGP Action Plan 2018-2020, Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia No. 105/2018, Belgrade, 2018, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Serbia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.pdf (accessed on 15 March 2019);
[28] Representative of the Office for Cooperation with the Civil Society, interviewed by the IRM researcher, Ibid; 
[29] Representative of the Office for Cooperation with the Civil Society, interviewed by the IRM researcher, Ibid;
[30]Representative of the Office for Cooperation with the Civil Society, interviewed by the IRM researcher, Ibid;
[31] “e-Calls Prospect” Webpage, European Commission, European Union, Brussels, https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prospect_en (accessed on 15 March 2019); 
[32] Originally recommended by the interviewed representative of the CSO involved in the Working Group and dealing with the open data.

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