To implement the initiative, strategic action was required on the following three levels – political, social and practical.
Electronic official publications
+ adoption of two policy planning documents within the Cabinet of Ministers (conception of December 18, 2007 “Of facilitation of access to law and recognition of authenticity of electronic publications”, replaced by “Official electronic publications accessibility facilitation conception” of April 13, 2010);
+ development and adoption of the necessary legislative framework (“Law on official publications and legal information” of May 31, 2012.).
Parallel to the political process – public discussion and exchange of views on transition to electronic publications, involving the main stake-holders – private sector, academics, judiciary, legal practitioners and experts.
Practical steps at the official publisher:
- Analysis of production processes of official gazette.
Retrieval of information to be officially published from the suppliers as well as planning and control of the current issue of the gazette was dependant on paper based workflow mechanism.
- Development, extensive testing and implementation of internal information system for management of publication process (legislation).
With introduction of this information system, all workflows related to production of official publications are made fully electronic. Also, interconnection with IT systems of the chancelleries of the Parliament and the State President is created for electronic exchange of information to be published.
Development, extensive testing and implementation of internal information system for management of publication of official notices (public records of registers, judicial announcements of notaries, courts etc.). It completely replaces previous IT system, which was recognised as technically out-dated not being able to meet the new requirements determined by the introduction of electronic publications. Also, interconnection with IT systems of the Enterprise register, the Council of notaries, the Council of judicial officers – as regular information providers for official publication.
- Development of the new website for electronic Official edition of the Republic of Latvia www.vestnesis.lv (concept, design, web development, implementation of information security solutions – integration of e-signature functionality).
- To provide high level of information security and to ensure continuous, undisrupted production and access to official publication, considerable investment was made to the infrastructure of (all resources are duplicated to two geographically separated data canters). Also, the necessary plan for action in event of crisis situation has been developed.
- VSIA “Latvijas Vēstnesis” is certified according to the standards of ISO 9001:2008 (quality management) and ISO 270001:2005 (information security). Also, during September 18-19, 2012, official publication process and systematization process has been audited by international auditors “Bureau Veritas” – receiving acknowledgment that all in-house production processes are performed in line with the requirements set by the law.
- All subscribers of official gazette were timely personally informed about the cancellation of production of paper gazette. Also, official publisher undertook the necessary activities to inform the society about transition to electronic official publications.
- From July 1, 2012 till January 1, 2013 there was a transition period, when in parallel to the official gazette in paper also official publication in electronic format was produced and delivered. This approach has been chosen to evaluate practical functioning of electronic official publication before implementing it as the only channel of official publications content delivery. Although it was a convenient feature for the users, however for official publisher it brought a complex work in double amount to ensure that information published on paper and electronically is identical as well as published within the set publication date.
Traditionally, legislative websites have been developed as conservative data bases of legal acts. Since legislation is a complex system our challenge is to make legislative acts more accessible and easier to use for everyone. In order to achieve advancements in usability of legislative acts, the release of the Portal in 2013 has been developed in line with the concepts and features of Web 2.0.
Implementation steps taken:
- previously, there have been two major releases of the Portal – in 2001 and 2008;
- work on the new release started in 2012;
- research and creative phase lasted for three months and implied brainstorming about functional changes, new
features and design;
- design phase lasted for 5 months and implied creation of wireframes and visual identity for which external design
team was involved;
- development phase – programming and internal testing (8 months);
- public testing (from April 16, 2013);
- public release of the new Likumi.lv and its mobile version (m.likumi.lv) – May 24, 2013;
- integration of international treaties database – conceptual idea in August, 2012, work on technical development started on September, 2013 (IT tool for experts of Ministry of Foreign affairs for information management on treaties as well as public interface of the database in www.likumi.lv portal), public opening – in the date set by the law “On international treaties of the Republic of Latvia” – July 1, 2014.
The initiative was implemented in co-operation with the following institutions:
• Ministry of justice – as a policy maker in the field of justice;
• All state institutions, in particular the State Chancellery, Chancellery of the Parliament, Chancellery of the State President – as key institutions involved in exchange of information to be officially published;
• NGOs, in particular Employers' Confederation of Latvia – LDDK, Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Latvian Commerce Association – as lobby representing interests of owners of private legislation databases.
The initiative is implemented by the official publisher VSIA “Latvijas Vēstnesis” (State Ltd.), performing its duties and tasks within the model of self-financing (no State budget financing).
With this, only financial resources available within the own budget of the organisations were used. Also, most activities of the initiative were carried out by the staff of the organisation.
Only specific tasks were outsourced (technical development of the new IT system for official notices, web-design and graphics for www.vestnesis.lv and www.likumi.lv, e-signature services.
Total implementation costs of the project from year 2009 - 2013: 1,2 million EUR, including outsourced services – 0,4 million EUR.
Transition to electronic publications was managed as an internal project within the organisation. Project management task-force was established to plan, coordinate, manage and implement the necessary changes within the organisation’s structure and methods of work (production processes). Its task was also to deliver recommendations for the necessary improvements to IT systems and infrastructure. It was also responsible for the necessary IT developments and their implementation in production workflows as well as user (staff) support. The task-force was led by the Project manager and it was composed of the managers of the relevant departments. When it was necessary, brainstorming session were held involving everyone in the organisation.
Project task-force regularly, at least once a month, informed the Board of the organisation which was a supervisor of the overall implementation of the project and took the necessary implementation decisions as well as took the necessary means of communication in political, social and practical level.