| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Preliminary stage: creating legislative and methodological foundation for implementing initiative, inviting stakeholders.
Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration, executing the Decree of the President of Ukraine of 05.01.2012 no. 1-1 / 26, prepared a draft proposal "On the implementation of the pilot e-government project "E-region" in the Dnipropetrovsk region" and submitted it to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for approval.
Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted a Regulation of 05.04.2012 № 220-p, which included a pilot project "E-region" in the Action Plan for Open Government Partnership initiative implementation in Ukraine under section 27 "Implementation of e-government technologies and promotion of electronic democracy".
In 2011, as a joint project of the OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine and East Europe Foundation a platform "Virtual Office" was built up.
Preparatory stage: providing infrastructure for the Initiative.
1. Development of an interagency electronic interaction system (development of common standards and protocols of electronic document exchange).
2. Introduction of the regional web portal of electronic administrative services.
3. Automatization of administrative services provision and permits issuing.
4.Setting up a regional web network of information resources "open government".
5. Trial implementation up to 50 administrative electronic services.
6. Establishment of a regional network of collective public access points to public information (information kiosks).
Throughout 2012 Virtual Office has been put into operation at the regional, 12 local, 22 district service centers and all governmental bodies, responsible for issuing permits. The following steps were made:
- The “electronic personal offices” for 46 service centers administrators were created and 35 service centers were linked to Virtual Office;
- 8 seminars and 5 workshops for service administrators and government officers, working with issuing permits, were held;
- The “electronic personal offices” for 400 government officers, working with issuing permits, were created. All government agencies, responsible for issuing permits, were linked to Virtual Office;
- Virtual Office database was completed by data of 35 service centers, 1466 permit templates. The process of issuing was computerized;
- 6 workshops for 300 government officers, working with permits, were carried out. Participants were surveyed on the Virtual Office effectiveness and trainings quality, resulting a feedback of suggestions and comments.
- 8 open seminars and 4 round tables for business and civil society representatives were held, presenting Virtual Office. More than 200 companies and 10 specialized NGOs took part and assessed the advantages of a Virtual Office and trainings quality, resulting a feedback of suggestions and comments.
Postal Project stage.
On October 15, 2012 a joint project of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration and USEP "Ukrposhta", called "Administrative services: simplified access via the post" has been launched. The purpose of the project was to create the optimal conditions of access to administrative services for customers with maximum transparency and high efficiency. Since the beginning of the project 57 administrative services were introduced. From April 1, 2013 the application for services were made available in all 658 post offices across the region.
Further expansion of services list and Virtual Office possibilities stage.
Acting in accordance with the latest legislature changes, from October 1, 2014 26 types of administrative services are being introduced in all centers of administrative services, including 19, provided by the Ministry of Justice territorial units, 7 - by State Migration Service territorial units.
On January 1, 2015 the provision of 18 types of administrative services will be offered in all centers of administrative services, including 2 - the Ministry of Justice territorial units, 2 - by State Migration Service territorial units in Dnipropetrovsk region, 14 – by the State Agency for Land Resources of Ukraine
By the decision of the regional council, the establishing of a regional center for administrative services "House of Justice" is being planned. The core concept of the project is to offer at the regional level more than 90 kinds of administrative services, more than 60 types of permits issuing services, 19 state registration services and more than 30 types of municipal services.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Virtual Office is one of the strategic "E-region" projects and it was included as a pilot project in the Action Plan on implementation of the Open Government Partnership initiative.
Significant roles in the Virtual Office development and implementation were played by our partners - the State Agency for Electronic Governance of Ukraine, the National E-Governance Center of Ukraine, E-Governance Academy of Estonia, the OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine, Eastern Europe Foundation, the International Renaissance Foundation, Microsoft Ukraine, Association of regional self-government bodies "Cities of electronic governance of Ukraine" and others.
In order to consolidate the policies of regional executive and self-government bodies actions a Memorandum on cooperation in administrative services and permits delivery via the Regional Virtual office of administrative and electronic services of Dnepropetrovsk oblast between the Regional State Administration, Dnepropetrovsk Regional Council, territorial units of central government offices in the Dnepropetrovsk region, city councils and district administration was signed on March 29, 2013. The Memorandum allowed a legal framework to assemble a comprehensive infrastructure of administrative services and the creation of a single point of access to services at the regional level.
With the purpose of measures implementation to reform the administrative service delivery and its efficiency on October 15, 2012 the joint project of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration and USEP "Ukrposhta" - "Administrative services, easier access via the post" has been launched. The Protocol of Accession to the above-mentioned Memorandum was signed by USEP "Ukrposhta".
The Virtual Office implementation Initiative is directly conducted within the framework of Regional Informatization Program "Electronic Dnipropetrovsk" 2014-2016, adopted by the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Council decision of 27.12.2013 № 506-23 / VI. In accordance with above-mentioned decision the responsibility to carry on the Regional Informatization Program provisions lies upon Information Technologies and E-government Department of Regional State Administration.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
To implement the Initiative Ukrainian and international foundations and organizations, intellectual resources of prominent universities, companies, leading the market of information and communication technologies were involved. Virtual Office project coordination functions was furnished by the State Agency for Electronic Government of Ukraine, supervision – by Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration.
The management of specific activities following the project implementation as well as providing guidance, advising and technical assistance were carried out by partner organizations that supported this Initiative and agreed to participate, in particular:
The National E-Governance Center of Ukraine provided methodological and advisory assistance on the implementation of electronic administrative services;
E-Governance Academy of Estonia provided methodological and advisory assistance on the implementation of electronic administrative services;
OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine provided financial, methodological and advisory assistance on the implementation of electronic administrative services;
Eastern Europe Foundation provided financial, methodological and advisory assistance on the implementation of electronic administrative services;
International Renaissance Foundation provided financial, methodological and advisory assistance on the implementation of electronic administrative services;
Microsoft Ukraine provided methodological and advisory assistance of best world practices experience to use throughout project implementation;
Dnipropetrovsk Regional Institute of Public Administration of the National Academy of Public Administration under the President of Ukraine provided methodological and advisory assistance in organizing seminars and workshops as well as preparation of informational materials (brochures).
13 city executive agencies and 22 district administrations provided logistical support and facilitated the implementation of measures initiated at the local level by offering facilities for seminars and workshops, employees motivations to undertake trainings and to improve the efficiency of using the e-government technologies;
Municipal Enterprise "Main Information-Communication, Scientific and Engineering center" of Dnipropetrovsk Council provided technical support in the electronic document circulation and digital signature implementation, guaranteeing the availability of oblast telecommunication center resources to facilitate the carrying out of project activities.
Budget of the Initiative is 2 millions grn.:
200 thousands: system engineering;
800 thousands: system implementation;
750 thousand: structuring an integrated system of information protection;
250 thousands: integration of digital signature.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The implementation of the Virtual Office initiative in Dnepropetrovsk made it possible to achieve the following results:
1.The introduction of computerized web-based platform Virtual Office in all service centers that established as interactive cooperation between service centers and executive offices-service providers. From now on, the services and permits, offered by government agencies, is executed by bringing in the uniform standards and protocols, provided by a single software solution of administrative services provision (internal web portal). Even more an increase of the number of users does not entail the increase costs for licenses and development, i.e. the number of users is unlimited.
2.The enhancement of information openness and transparency of the regional executive and self-government bodies activities which is guaranteed by access to full information about all regional administrative service centers, permit-issuing agencies, permits and administrative services (rules, permits issuing procedure, open hours, documents required, the reasons for refusal, chargeable / free of charge services) through the Virtual official website (http://e-services.dp.gov.ua/), each of 22 district administrations and 13 city councils websites and touch screen information kiosks, located in 22 district administrations and 13 city executive offices and linked into a regional network.
3. The incorporation of a Virtual Office external portal for visitors with the possibility to register in a “personal office” that proposes the following services: copying and filling in the electronic application forms, submitting the other documents required to obtain a service; sending a request for electronic consultation with relevant expert; obtaining the information about the progress of the case, particularly via SMS. The key feature of the project is that it brings together all Dnepropetrovsk regional service centers, i.e. the visitor can select from a list city or district that interests him/her the most and get all the information he/she needs.
4. The expansion of access to administrative services for the marginalized and disadvantaged population (elderly, disabled, rural, etc.) by implementing the project "Administrative services: simplified access via the post" that everyone can benefit from by exploring the “Ukrposhta” services, including the ones, provided by postmen.
In general, the implementation of the Initiative allowed to increase significantly the quality of administrative service delivery, to reduce the number of individual trips to the executive bodies by 40%, computerize administrative and management processes, resulting in savings of time and finance by 30 - 40%, and, consequently, to introduce a single regional communication environment of administrative services, accessible from anywhere in the region.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Monitoring and evaluation of the Virtual Office initiative implementing is conducted in several ways. Firstly, the reports on the carrying out the Regional Informatization Program "Electronic Dnipropetrovk" and Open Government Partnership Initiative Action plan are being submitted to the competent authorities with periodicity set up by relevant regulations.
Secondly, the establishing of digital interaction between government offices, local executive agencies, business entities and citizens is carried out by an integrated software solution Virtual Office of administrative services, which is operating on the same standards and rules, employing the "cloud technology". It allows continuous monitoring and quality control of administrative services, based on programmed analysis of a centralized database.
Furthermore, in the scope of project "Organizing and conducting public monitoring of the electronic services quality provided by administrative service centers", “Cities of e-government of Ukraine" Association’s experts, being supported in the framework of the initiative "Open Government: testing instruments to influence the government”, designed and accomplished (as a test model) public monitoring of the electronic services quality in 6 regions of Ukraine, including the Dnipropetrovsk region. The principal purpose of the services evaluation was to examine a public access to IT-based services, proposed by administrative service centers, as well as to assess the level of integration of IT instruments and degree of their favoring by citizens, applying for a service. The summary results of the monitoring can be found in an analytical report on the official website of the Association. Likewise, the Center for Civic and Cultural Initiatives "Tamarisk", supported by International Renaissance Foundation, carried out a similar monitoring, aimed at analysis of the administrative services centers in a scope of compliance with Law of Ukraine "On Administrative Services"; criteria of multi-service centers establishing; citizens expectations (with a special focus on user-friendly features), ctr.
Proving evaluation possibilities for service recipients is provided via following instruments: 1) the official website, under the heading “interaction with the public / public consultations" offers to complete the questionnaire on the proposed consultation and submit it. Consultations are being opened accordingly to the approved plan of public consultations in 2014, which can be found on the official website of State Administration under the heading "interaction with the public"; 2) Electronic petition on the official website of contact center "Hotline of Head of Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration". 3) “Personal office” on the official website of Virtual Office.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The initiative implementation is being accomplished with direct application of information technologies. To determine the level of information technologies development and to describe the major problems in this area, Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration, Regional Council in cooperation with the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Institute of Public Administration of the National Academy of Public Administration under the President of Ukraine developed a methodology by which each year electronic readiness of Ukrainian regions is assessed. Following the assessment results, the main constant issues have been detected in the regional electronic development, among the most prominent are: digital divide; low level of information services and resources development; low degree of information literacy and willingness of the population to use ICT; low state and business participation level in the use of ICT skills training, ctr.
In addition, an important issue is the fragmentariness of a legitimately approved list and description of administrative services, methods and procedure of its conversion into digital format that demands a wide-ranging work on the elaboration of appropriate regulations and standards. The purpose of the systematic resolving these and other issues has become a cornerstone for creating an organizational and legal mechanism of Virtual Office of electronic services functioning, in the framework of which it was enforced as follows:
The scale of the need for communication resources for interagency exchange was identified;
The technical specification of the software system has been developed;
The standards for presentation of information were developed for each of the levels of information resources;
The rules of information circulation were determined;
The levels of government responsibility for the accuracy and updating of data were defined.
The core challenge that preconditioned and Initiative implementation, was the question to determine the rules and regulations of working within software system which should, on the one hand, provide an access to the state registers, managed by corresponding government agencies, with an aim of verifying the authenticity of personal data and, on the other hand, guarantee the protection of individuals with a regard to processing of personal data and unsure the impossibility of unauthorized copying, modification and forgery of electronic documents.
These issues have been solved, firstly, by hosting a communication server on oblast telecommunication center, the usage of a secure Internet node. Furthermore, the data access control in the most service centers is executed by the division of access rights to information processes and electronic database into user groups and user roles: service center administrator, authorized representative of the executive agency, head of service center, head of the executive agency.