The Jeddah Municipality e-Transparency initiative has truly changed the way the Municipality conducts its business and provides its services to residents and investors. The initiative is composed of three main components so far:
1. The e-Transparency section of the portal, which contains the city strategy, JM projects, budgets and spending, and performance reports.
2. The e-Procurement Web-based System. 3. e-Governance empowerment tools that enable users to critique, comment, provide feedback, suggest projects and improvements, and submit complaints.
In addition to increasing transparency and improving procurement fairness, the e-Transparency initiative also promotes healthy competition and strengthens communication and democracy. First, the e-Transparency section enables visitors to both view current information and to monitor and comment on any item related to the city strategy, running projects, KPIs or performance, budget spending and proposed future projects and budgets. Many examples which illustrate the role citizens played in future projects exist. Perhaps the most important was related to the massive feedback and reviews received from people before the “City Cleaning Projects” RFPs for the upcoming year were officially released as tenders. More than 400 thorough reviews and comments were received, which helped JM officials review some sections of the projects and promoting equal opportunity for all. Residents and contractors are now able to provide electronic feedback on any RFP, even before it becomes an official tender. The visitor empowerment tools provide visitors with forms, online discussion forums, contacts, and Web 2.0 tools to provide feedback.
Also through the portal, one can voice his opinion, download the service guide, look up amenities in Jeddah, receive services, participate in strategic decision making in the city planning, file a complaint textually or geographically, read daily Municipality news, and follow-up transactions.. For investors, the portal provides policies and procedures, investment opportunities, RFPs, Urban Planning documents, rules and regulations, and service guides. For engineering offices, the Portal is the gateway to apply and process building permits.
Polls and online surveys are available to enable residents to rate the quality of life in the City. Results from these polls help JM prioritize its projects and efforts. During the year 2011 over 4000 thorough surveys were filled out by visitors. Furthermore, hundreds participated in online one question monthly polls covering a range of subjects both related to the portal and to the services provided by JM.
The Portal constantly witnesses an increased number of visitors starting with about 400,000 visitors in 2008 and exceeding 1,500,000 in 2011. Furthermore, 19% of the 3173 JM registered contractors have signed up to use the e-Procurement System. As a result, the Municipality was able to get higher participation levels in bidding for the different tender offerings, thus enabling it to have healthier competition. It also enabled JM to better understand what its stakeholders really want and need and thus align its priorities with these need.