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Tbilisi, Georgia

Access to Services and Civic Engagement (TBI0008)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Tbilisi Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Municipal Services Development Agency NCLE, Tbilisi Municipal Legal Department, Tbilisi Municipality District Administration, Tbilisi Municipal Department for Environment Protection, Tbilisi Municipal Transport Department, Tbilisi Municipal Supervision Department, "Tbilisi Municipality Architecture Service" LEPL, ""Tbilservice Group" LTD

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Environment and Climate, Infrastructure & Transport, Legislation & Regulation, Legislative, Public Service Delivery, Subnational

IRM Review

IRM Report: Tbilisi, Georgia Design Report 2018-2020

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:

Description

IMPLEMENTATION OF MECHANISMS FOR IMPROVEMENT OF ACCESS TO SERVICES AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
Commitment Description
1. Local Context and Needs As established during public consultation with regard to services in Tbilisi City Hall system, there was lack of awareness about the existing services in Tbilisi City Hall and there was a need for setting up one window principle for provision of services and a number of other proposals were voiced that would serve the aim of improvement of the services (see the protocols of the Open Government Working Group N3 and Public Consultation Protocols, 31.07.18, 01.08.18, 06.08.18 and 07.08.18). Naturally, the low level of public awareness of the City Hall services is hindering the adequate use of these services. However, the population as the recipient of services is not involved in the provision of the appropriate feedback to the Tbilisi City Hall as there is no mechanism for such a feedback. Therefore, it is necessary to increase the accessibility of the City Hall services, take important steps to establish one window principle and introduce a system based on continuous improvement of services that first of all means establishment of a mechanism for receiving feedback from service consumers. 2. Commitment Content Description An integrated web application will be created that will enable the citizens to have online access without leaving home to the most demanded interconnected services within the City Hall system, with the aim to establish one window principle within the scope of these services. In the first phase, apart from the architecture and urban development directions, the following services will be subject to the inclusion in the list of online services: all services of the Environmental Protection Department and City Transport Department, as well as all functions of the Municipal Supervision Department that by their content are attributed to services used by citizens(the exact listing of the latter will be defined at the first stage of the fulfillment of this commitment, provided for in Appendix N3).Besides technical provision of the above mentioned services, an important step for the improvement of the access to full information and access to services of the City Hall system will also be the
establishment of a one-window principle. Web-App will enable the citizens to create their own online account, get the services without having to go to the municipality and manage their information. Access will also be possible through the mobile app. The format will take into account the possibility of reporting the information, the feedback by citizens on the services. This information will be subject to periodic analysis by Tbilisi City Hall, service providers will analyze and summarize the received feedback and statistical data of electronic services. This analysis will be made publicly available and will be used by Tbilisi City Hall to improve services. Legal basis will be established for the procedures related to this mechanism. 3. Positive outcome for the Public Substantial increase in availability and raised awareness on services that will facilitate easy access to services and will somewhat improve the quality of life of citizens. The introduction of online services will also create an additional basis for implementing of more efficient improvements, as well as increased awareness will create additional grounds for more effective civic feedback and participation:
4.Annex№3 Implementation date: 2020
Commitment 3: Implementation of Mechanisms for Improvement of Access to Services and Citizen Engagement
Implementing Entity
Municipal Services Development Agency NCLE, Tbilisi Municipal Legal Department, Tbilisi Municipality District Administration, Tbilisi Municipal Department for Environment Protection, Tbilisi Municipal Transport Department, Tbilisi Municipal Supervision Department, "Tbilisi Municipality Architecture Service" LEPL, ""Tbilservice Group" LTD
Description of Current Situation
As established during public consultations with regard to services in the Tbilisi City Hall system, there was lack of awareness about the existing services in Tbilisi City Hall and a need for setting up one-window principle for provision of services and a number of other proposals were voiced that would serve the aim of improvement of the services (see the protocols of the Open
Government Working Group N3 and Public Consultation Protocols, 31.07.18, 01.08.18, 06.08.18 and 07.08.18).
Main Aim
Substantial increase in availability and raised awareness on services that will facilitate easy access to services and will somewhat improve the quality of life of citizens. The introduction of online services will also create an additional basis for implementing of more efficient improvements, as well as increased awareness will create additional grounds for more effective civic feedback and participation;
OGP Principles
Civic Participation
Technology and Innovation for Openness and Accountability
Implementation Stages
Description and documentation of work processes in Municipal Services of Transport, Environment Protection and Supervision.
15.03.2019 - 30.04.2019
Grading of statement types and determining their movement (processing). Internal Business Process Panel - Employee Page
01.05.2019 - 30.06.2019
Creation of unified services public platform. Creation of feedback tools. Introduction of citizens’ personal pages in Municipality (to be integrated with other functional envisaged in commitments)
01.07.2019 - 30.11.2019
Elaborate and approve system supporting legal act.
01.06.2019 - 30.07.2019
Training of City Hall employees 0
01.09.2019 - 30.10.2019
Produce a video clip covering portal and other OGP commitments and disseminate it through social media, mass media or local municipalities’ units
01.11.2019 - 28.02.2020
Indicator
E-portal including all functional described in the introductory part is developed and introduced. - Supporting regulations for functioning of the portal are developed - Active informational campaign aimed to raise awareness on engagement mechanism in accordance with the Open Government Communication Strategy of Tbilisi City Hall is carried out throughout the city (using various effective technologies of public relations).
Risks and Hypothesis
Possible initial shortcomings in the work of the newly introduced system.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. Implementation of Mechanisms for Improvement of Access to Services and Civic Engagement

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

“An integrated web application will be created that will enable the citizens to have online access without leaving home to the most demanded interconnected services within the City Hall system, with the aim to establish one window principle within the scope of these services.

In the first phase, apart from the architecture and urban development directions, the following services will be subject to the inclusion in the list of online services: all services of the Environmental Protection Department and City Transport Department, as well as all functions of the Municipal Supervision Department that by their content are attributed to services used by citizens (the exact listing of the latter will be defined at the first stage of the fulfillment of this commitment, provided for in Appendix N3). Besides technical provision of the above mentioned services, an important step for the improvement of the access to full information and access to services of the City Hall system will also be the establishment of a one-window principle. Web-App will enable the citizens to create their own online account, get the services without having to go to the municipality and manage their information. Access will also be possible through the mobile app.

The format will take into account the possibility of reporting the information, the feedback by citizens on the services. This information will be subject to periodic analysis by Tbilisi City Hall, service providers will analyze and summarize the received feedback and statistical data of electronic services. This analysis will be made publicly available and will be used by Tbilisi City Hall to improve services. Legal basis will be established for the procedures related to this mechanism.”

Milestones

3.1. Description and documentation of work processes in Municipal Services of Transport, Environment Protection and Supervision

3.2. Grading of statement types and determining their movement (processing). Internal Business Process Panel – Employee Page

3.3. Creation of unified services public platform. Creation of feedback tools. Introduction of citizens’ personal pages in Municipality (to be integrated with other functional envisaged in commitments)

3.4. Elaborate and approve system supporting legal act

3.5. Training of City Hall employees

3.6. Produce a video clip covering portal and other OGP commitments and disseminate it through social media, mass media or local municipalities’ units

Start Date: March 2019

End Date: February 2020

Editorial Note: The commitment text above is an excerpt from the Tbilisi 2018–2020 action plan. The complete text provides detailed and technical information on how the milestones will be carried out. The full commitment text is available here: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Tbilisi_Action-Plan_2018-2020.pdf

Context and Objectives

This commitment continues from Commitment 5 from the previous action plan, which saw only limited completion by 2018. [31] A 2018 study by the International Republican Institute found that only 32% of the Georgian population report they trust local government institutions and that half of Tbilisi residents hold an unfavorable view of their local government’s work. [32] [33] This lack of trust underlines the need for the public to have greater access to information on local government institutions’ work, including the services local government provides. Tbilisi City Hall has made progress in fostering public service delivery and access to government services by introducing a number of e-portals. In 2015, with support of IDFI, City Hall launched a new centralized webpage (http://www.tbilisi.gov.ge) for easier access to public information and increased civic participation in polls and assessments. However, as the IRM researcher’s focus group and the Tbilisi’s OGP public consultations revealed, citizen knowledge is limited, and citizens ask for better accessibility to available e-service. [34] Furthermore, according to CSOs, citizens often confuse the responsibilities of agencies, such as the Tbilisi mayor’s office, Gamgeoba (local administrative districts) or the City Assembly. [35]

To respond to these needs, Tbilisi City Hall plans to create an integrated web application and a mobile app based on a one-window principle whereby multiple services and information from different departments will be available in a single location. Users will be able to register online through a personal account and modify and select services based on their interests. The web portal will grant access to all services of the Environmental Protection Department and City Transport Department, functions of the Municipal Supervision Department, and Architecture and Urban development directions. Apart from obtaining information and accessing services from home, the portal will allow users to submit feedback in order for City Hall to improve its services. The commitment foresees summarizing and publishing the analysis of feedback received so that citizens will know whether their efforts were addressed. As one of the focus group participants stated to the IRM researcher, [36] authorities are not accustomed to asking for public opinion and taking these opinions into account, so this would be a useful to improve their responsivity to the public.

This commitment is relevant to the OGP values of access to information and civic participation and to technology and innovation for transparency. A web portal using the one-window principle will make access to services easier and less time-consuming for citizens whereas the feedback mechanism could improve the public’s ability to influence the provision of services, as the commitment explicitly calls for assessing the feedback received. The commitment contains specified milestones that can objectively verify its implementation such as the service areas (including urban development, environment protection, and transportation). The milestones on developing feedback tools, training employees, approving legal acts, and disseminating promo videos are also possible to track.

The commitment’s potential impact is assessed as moderate. Launching an integrated user-friendly web portal, based on a one-window principle, could increase civic engagement in monitoring and use of City Hall services. It could also function as a platform to deliver public opinion on improving these services to the decision-makers, which will be new for City Hall. Despite the milestone specificity, the commitment does not explain how City Hall will “analyze and summarize the received feedback” and how the feedback will result in concrete actions by the government. While 76% of Tbilisi residents use the internet every day, [37] the IRM researcher’s focus group revealed that some people prefer in-person communication instead of using electronic services because they believe that verbal communication can be more informative, effective, and results based. This underlines the need to build public trust and knowledge about the value of using e-services.

Despite these limitations, creating a centralized platform could lead to important changes. The tool could increase access to information by helping citizens learn about the available City Hall services from a single unified web portal, without having to travel. Improved accessibility to services could also increase their use. Service information currently is scattered, without a systematic source from which to obtain it. By introducing personalized accounts, citizens will be able to obtain, as well as manage, their information based on their interests.

Next steps

Considering the commitment’s relevance and the fact that it was already carried from the previous action plan, City Hall should give priority to its implementation. The commitment has taken into consideration IRM’s recommendation on modifying and carrying it forward and, as a result, it does not include the creation of civic monitoring groups, focusing instead on developing a unified web portal and mobile app. To increase the commitment’s long-term functionality, the IRM researcher recommends the following:

  • Maintain procedural clarity and specificity on handling citizen feedback. City Hall could formalize how this procedure could entail developing a concrete legal document, binding the government to follow guidelines and deadlines in responding to citizens and acting upon their inputs.
  • City Hall could direct its outreach efforts toward boosting the use of e-services. While the commitment incorporates dissemination of a promo video, the public outreach component can be strengthened. This could include organizing presentation of the portal and distribution of information pamphlets at City Hall. Considering the complexity of portals, through explanatory brochures, citizens would be able to discover more about the value of the mechanism, specific services they can receive, the ways to navigate the web portal, and OGP in general.
[31] Tsartsidze, Dea, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Tbilisi, Georgia Final Report 2017, pgs. 48-54 https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Tbilisi_Final-Report_2017.pdf

[32] Transparency International Georgia publishes a survey about the most trusted Georgian Institutions, Transparency International Georgia, 2018: https://www.georgianjournal.ge/society/34617-transparency-international-georgia-publishes-a-survey-about-the-most-trusted-georgian-institutions.html

[33] Public Opinion Survey: Residents of Georgia 2018, International Republican Institute (IRI): April 2018: http://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/2018-5-29_georgia_poll_presentation.pdf

[34] Focus Group, 28 March 2019.

[35] Gvelesiani, March 2, 2019.

[36] Focus Group, 28 March 2019.

[37] Frequency of Internet Usage (by settlement type), Caucasus Research Resource Center, 2018: https://caucasusbarometer.org/en/nd2018ge/FRQINTR-by-SETTYPE/


Commitments

  1. Smart Map Civic Activity Portal

    TBI0006, 2018, Access to Information

  2. Participatory Budgeting

    TBI0007, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Access to Services and Civic Engagement

    TBI0008, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Transparent Governance

    TBI0009, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. City Hall Transparency

    TBI0010, 2018, Access to Information

  6. Information and Civic Activities Portal “Smart Map”

    TBI0001, 2017, Capacity Building

  7. Introduction of Petition System to Tbilisi City Hall, Electronic Petition

    TBI0002, 2017, Capacity Building

  8. Implementation of Participatory Budget Mechanism

    TBI0003, 2017, Capacity Building

  9. Interactive Accessibility to Budget Spending and Introduction of Civic Control Mechanisms

    TBI0004, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  10. Introduction of Civic Control and Accessibility Mechanisms for Municipal Services

    TBI0005, 2017, Capacity Building

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