| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
⎕The Korean government enacted and amended acts to lay a foundation for information disclosure.
The government enacted and promulgated the Official Information Disclosure Act (“Information Disclosure Act”) on December 31, 1996 which entered into force in 1998.
After the enforcement of the act, the government amended it in 2004 to provide legal grounds for electronic information disclosure and to make information disclosure easier to use by inserting articles that mandate public institution’s preparation and provision of information lists, introduction of prior official announcement of administrative information and establishment and operation of the Information Disclosure Committee and shorten the period of decision-making on whether or not to disclose information from 15 days to 10 days.
In 2006, the government obliged allowing public institutions to establish the detailed criteria for the scope of information subject to non-disclosure to prevent arbitrary non-disclosure, and launched the Integrated Information Disclosure System (www.open.go.kr) in April and began full-scale online services.
In 2011, the act was amended to encourage public institutions to disclose information in advance and designate a responsible officer for information discloser in order to change public institution’s way of disclosing information from “a request based” to “a preemptive and active” disclosure.
In 2013, the public institutions subject to information disclosure were expanded to include committees of administrative agencies and institutions funded and subsidized by central and local governments. So far, while the administrative institutions should provide only the information lists kept and managed by the institution, an amendment was also made to such provisions to make the institutions disclose even source information on the Internet, which will enter into force in March, 2014.
⎕Foundation for online service of IT-based government-wide information disclosure was set.
After laying the groundwork for an electronic disclosure of information system and launching an Informatization Strategy Plan (ISP) in 2004, the government established the Integrated Information Disclosure System in May 2008 after three phases of the establishment project had started in October, 2005.
After the establishment of the Integrated Information Disclosure System, it became possible to make an online request for disclosing information to 312 public institutions including central and local governments and education offices. Furthermore, people could benefit from a wide range of integrated services as they could pay fees online, peruse and download information with various file viewer programs and search information lists.
Since March 2008, the improvement projects of the Integrated Information Disclosure System have been continuously carried out and the scope of public institutions which should voluntarily disclose information lists has expanded. Now, discussions are underway to include public corporations in the scope so that they can offer one-stop online requests for information disclosure to the people.
⎕The establishment project of the Integrated Information Disclosure System has been developed as follows.
- October 2004 ~ April 2005: The government established the Informatization Strategy Plan (ISP) to expand online information disclosure of administrative information.
- October 2005 ~ March 2008: Three phases of the Information Disclosure System establishment were completed.
- 2009: Web accessibility and a standard for the disabled and elderly were adopted.
- 2010: System improvement projects to raise applicant’s convenience were conducted.
- 2011 ~ 2012: The system was upgraded to raise applicant’s convenience.
- January 2013: A mobile information disclosure service started.
- September 2013 ~ December 2013: Source information disclosure system was established.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
⎕Information disclosure was envisioned in the 1980s.
Since the 1980’s, the necessity for an information disclosure system had been raised by academia and discussions at government level started in the early 1990’s. As Cheong-ju City established the Municipal Ordinance of Administrative Information Disclosure in 1992 and enacted and enforced the Management Guidelines of the Administrative Information Disclosure in May 1994, the system took its basic shape.
In 1994, comprised of ten experts from academia, media and legal circles, the Deliberation Committee of Information Disclosure Act was established. After many deliberations, public hearings, government-ruling party consultations and an advance legislation notice, the Official Information Disclosure Act was enacted and promulgated on December 31, 1996 and entered into force in 1998.
⎕MSPA manages related policies and laws and regulations.
The Ministry of Security and Public Administration (MSPA), the implementer of information disclosure, has been establishing information disclosure policies and has managed related laws and regulations. The National Information Society Agency, a supporting agency, is in charge of managing the establishment project for the Information Disclosure System (www.open.go.kr), and central and local governments and other public institutions are also engaging in establishment and management of the Information Disclosure System, making suggestions regularly for both information disclosure and the system.
⎕PMO and MSF are in cooperation.
Major stakeholders are the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Ministry of Strategy and Finance (MSF). The PMO sets the level of information disclosure as an evaluation index of a public institution for government performance evaluation and the MSF budgets for the information disclosure along with national information projects. Central and local governments and public institutions are using the information disclosure system for business handling, utilizing the system’s statistics and cooperating together to make an annual information disclosure report.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
⎕Resources were mobilized through e-government support projects.
The Korean government established and pursued centralized implementation plans to prepare an operational foundation for information disclosure and vitalize and improve operation of the Integrated Information Disclosure System.
After laying a legal groundwork for electronic information disclosure in 2004, the Korean government established a government-wide ISP for “Administrative Information Disclosure.”In April 2006, the government launched the Integrated Information Disclosure System (www.open.go.kr) and began full-scale online services.The establishment projects of the system were carried out in three phases to 2008 and a budget of 6.4 billion KRW or about 5.8 million dollars was invested.
Since the launch of the information disclosure system, the government has increased the number of public institutions participating in the information disclosure system and has earmarked a special budget to address any inconvenience experienced by the public or responsible officials. From 2009, the government has invested 460 million KRW or about 410,000 dollars annually in operation and maintenance of the information disclosure system. In particular, the government has a plan to allocate an additional 6 billion KRW or 5.4 million dollars to information disclosure for 2014 to 2016
⎕With the resources, it was possible to build an integrated information disclosure channel and a centralized management system.
With a strong commitment and initiative to raise convenience of information disclosure, the Korean government has implemented information projects since 2006 to make the whole information disclosure process online and fully computerized. Thanks to those efforts, the standard of processing procedures for information disclosure is now in place and each public institution follows the standard. Therefore, it became possible to process information disclosure with consistency and has a clear understanding about the current information disclosure status of each institution.
Likewise, by operating a government-wide integrated information disclosure system, the government can save overlapping costs which may occur when individual systems are developed and managed by separate institutions. Also, people can now enjoy fast accessibility and convenience of use through the unified information disclosure channel.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
⎕The public awareness of rights to be informed and participation in government administration has increased.
Despite a sharp increase in information disclosure requests, the information disclosure rate has also steadily risen and been maintained at over 90 percent. In the assessment of the current operational state of central and local governments, it is analyzed that the information disclosure system has been well established based on the institutional foundation for pre-information disclosure and improved capacity of public officials in charge. Also, the academic world recognizes that the increased usage rate of information disclosure service despite dramatic growth of requests for information disclosure is attributed to constant efforts to improve the information disclosure system along with raised public awareness of rights to be informed and participation in state affairs.
⎕Convenience has been provided for the public through the online service.
In 2006, it started to be possible to request information disclosure online through the information disclosure system (www.open.go.kr). In addition, the “Pre-Information Disclosure Service” has been provided to offer information of public institutions before public requests are made. As the number of institutions using the information disclosure system rapidly increased to 18,000 in 2012, almost all disclosure requests have been applied online. That has improved public access to information and made requesting more convenient. Furthermore, an audio guidance and keyboard processing system started to be offered from 2009 for physically challenged people and elderly citizens. Since 2012, a mobile service has been provided and personal information leaks have been prevented for better functionality and convenience.
⎕Mindset of information disclosure and transparency in the public sector has been enhanced.
The Korean government conducts institution assessments of information disclosure on central and local government institutions to encourage active and voluntary participation in information disclosure. By doing so, the government has drawn attention to information disclosure and improved transparency in the public sector.
⎕Quantity and quality of pre-information disclosure has been improved.
Within a short period of time, the foundation of the pre-information disclosure system has been established as most of the administrative agencies have reformed their information disclosure menu on their web pages with efforts to present details of information subject to pre-information disclosure, standardize ways of pre-information disclosure, monitor personal information disclosure and enhance evaluation of pre-information disclosure.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
⎕Management of information disclosure state has been systemized.
Since the Information Disclosure Act was implemented in 1998, an annual report on information disclosure has been published. Also, present conditions of operation have been evaluated and the Information Disclosure Committee was established aiming at monitoring the operation of the Information Disclosure System. The number of requests for information disclosure jumped from 26,338 in 1998 to 96,187 in 2004. In 2007, the number rose to 197,617 and 302,332 in 2009. In 2013, more than 350,000 cases are expected to be requested.
Under the circumstances, it is necessary to manage the current state of information disclosure annually. Since the introduction of the system, an annual report on information disclosure has been completed and reported to the National Assembly based on collected data such as cases of disclosure and non-disclosure of public institutions, administrative litigations, administrative trials and information disclosure state ofofficial requests and processing conditions.
⎕Evaluation of processing requests for information disclosure at public institutions has been systemized.
In 2003, an evaluation of the current state of running the Information Disclosure System was conducted on 48 central administrative institutions for the first time according to the Guidelines of Administrative Information Disclosure. In 2004, the range of evaluation was extended to local governments. In 2008, a “Self-Evaluation” of central administrative institutions and a “Joint Evaluation” of local governments were conducted to raise the effectiveness and transparency of the evaluation according to the Framework Act on Public Service Evaluation in 2008. According to the result, excellent institutions and individuals have been given incentives such as government prizes. Also, best practices and operation knowhow have been presented and shared at workshops for officials in charge of information disclosure.
⎕Consultation for Information Disclosure System has been systemized through the Information Disclosure Committee.
In August 2004, the Information Disclosure Committee with nine members and a two-year tenure system was established for the first time to deliberate and coordinate various issues such as policy making for information disclosure, improvement of the system, setting standards, and an evaluation of the current state of operating information disclosure. The committee was launched with experts from academic and legal circles as well as public officials of vice-minister class and now the 5th term of the committee is hosting annual meetings twice a year. It provides consultation and deliberation needed for operation and improvement of the system.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
⎕The staff in charge resisted the introduction of the information disclosure system due to concerns over a burdensome workload.
Staff raised concerns over a rising workload following the adoption of the system and delays in handling their work because stakeholders were expected to propose problems if the work of administrative institutions was disclosed. Therefore, they tended not to disclose information. To change such a trend, the information disclosure level of public institutions has been evaluated and reflected to institution assessment to attract the interests of heads of agencies, and excellent agencies have received incentives according to the evaluation result to maintain information disclosure level.
⎕Low awareness and capacity shortage of officials of individual institutions served as obstacles to the system operation.
Frequent changes of persons in charge led to a poor understanding of the work process involved in information disclosure. They presented superficial reasons for non-disclosure of information or answered questions unkindly. Also, institutions made different decisions on the same issue. These are still pointed out as problems. To solve the problems, a “Manual on Information Disclosure” has been produced and distributed since 2006. In addition, regular workshops are hosted for officials in charge and institutions with insufficient information disclosure processes are selected and visited for education. Also, practical education programs are conducted for all public officials.
⎕Establishment and maintenance of the Integrated Information Disclosure System turned out to be a challenging task.
In the initial stage, the system was used at central public institutions, local governments and education offices and now it is used at public corporations. Therefore, the need for human resources and the costs for system operation are rising. Accordingly, the MSPA is securing a budget for improvement and maintenance of the system under the consultation with related institutions such as the National Assembly.