Independent assessment of Georgia’s 2012 open government action plan - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Independent assessment of Georgia’s 2012 open government action plan

04 June, 2014

Georgia has increased the government’s accountability and citizens’ access to public information in the fields of public procurement and political party financing, for instance, however it fell behind in creating accessible mechanisms for public participation in decision-making. This is the main finding of the Georgia Progress Report 2012-2013 released today by the Open Government Partnership’s (OGP) Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM). This report was prepared by an independent researcher selected by the OGP IRM, Lasha Gogidze of Transparency International Georgia.

The report analyzes the measures taken by the Georgian government in order to implement a set of commitments in the country’s first OGP Action Plan. The said Action Plan consists of 12 commitments most of which relate to improving the access to public information and services as well as the existing accountability mechanisms. The Action Plan was adopted by the government in April 2012. The one-year assessment period covered by this report is 1 July 2012 to 1 July 2013, according to the OGP guidelines.

The table below shows the short description of each commitment as well as the summary of their potential impact, level of completion, timing, and next steps to be taken. 

Based on these findings, the IRM Researcher presents a number of recommendations that would contribute to better implementation of the aforementioned commitments:

General Recommendations

  • The Georgian government should clearly define the role of the OGP in improving public transparency, accountability and participation in the country, and raise domestic awareness around this global initiative;
  • Georgia’s next OGP Action Plan should:

(a) reflect on a wide range of citizen needs;

(b) be action-oriented;

(c) clearly define the functions of responsible agencies;

(d) include clear timelines, targets, and assessment indicators.

  • In the course of the implementation of the Action Plan, the government should ensure the inclusiveness of public consultations with interested parties by creating easily accessible feedback mechanisms for them;
  • The civil society and the media should actively use the mechanisms created by the government in order to increase public knowledge and interest in OGP issues;
  • International donors should assist the government and the civil society in implementing the OGP commitments by showing the examples of their best practices.

Specific Recommendations:

  • By means of new technologies, the government should provide citizens with more choice as to what kind of public services they need, and engage them in the development and implementation processes;
  • The citizens should know what personal data is stored by the government about them, who has access to this data, and for what specific purposes;
  • Public online portals should include a comprehensive set of sector-specific data-sets that are easily accessible, automated and up-to-date. The users should be provided with clear explanation on what rights and obligations they have while using these public data-sets;
  • The electronic request of public information and the publication of data in open data formats should be a common standard across all government agencies and citizens should be able to freely download, analyze and reuse this information;
  • The citizens should have free access to all legal documents as well as wide opportunities to engage in law-making processes;
  • The government should create a webpage for citizens’ petitions and should take the obligation to address the most popular initiatives;
  • To improve the transparency of public expenditures, those agencies that are currently exempt from the e-procurement system but perform significant public functions (e.g., the Government’s and President’s Reserve Funds, Georgian Railways, and the Partnership Fund) should also start publishing their procurement tenders online;
  • Apart from public officials from the central government agencies, all members of the local self-governing bodies should also be made responsible for publishing their asset declarations online. At the same time, there should be an effective system for verifying the content provided in those declarations;
  • To enhance public order and prevent crimes, the government should publish comprehensive e-crime statistics, which should include information on the type, number, time, and location of crimes committed.