New online monitoring service gives civil society a tool to control public finance

New online monitoring service gives civil society a tool to control public finance
August 10, 2016.

“Research and analytical system 007” is an online service that provides open access to data pertinent to public finance. Civil society may now use this system to oversee how state agencies use their money.

Kyiv, August 10, 2016. According to the laws “On access to public information” and “On openness of use of public money,” state-owned companies and other public asset holders are obliged to report on the official web site for public finance “E-Data”.

How does the “Research and analytical system 007” work?

The “Research and analytical system 007” was created as part of the E-governance for Accountability and Participation (EGAP) program funded by the Swiss Confederation and implemented by the East Europe Foundation and other partners. The web site started operating in April 2016 and is visited by 300 users daily.

At a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Natalia Kravchenko, Director of the project “Research and analytical system 007” noted: “Our service uses information from various sources: E-Data web site, data.gov.ua, web site of the State Service of Statistics, as well as ProZorro e-procurement system. By combining these registries, we enrich open data and achieve decreasing levels of corruption by increasing transparency,” she explained. The user may filter the information by region, town, particular agency, or item paid (product or service).

Each asset holder has an individual dossier that contains the data provided by the holder itself as well as the information from other registries that regard this agency. “We have combined monitoring of rendering public the information by a state agency with a chance to see individual transactions of this agency that were made through Ukraine’s Treasury Service,” noted Kravchenko. This data is presented in four dimensions: pertaining to the entirety of Ukraine, per regions, districts, as well as per legal entities.

What the novelty is about?

“From now on by using the ‘Monitoring’ option in the main menu, each citizen is able to see whether a particular institution complies with the law on openness of the use of public finance: if the profile (cabinet) was set up on E-Data portal and if it is being filled with information,” said Kravchenko.

The new module offered by the online system introduces a brand new function: an opportunity to file a complaint to respective state bodies stipulated by law, in case the asset holder does not publicize the data. “If a citizen sees a violation, it is possible to file a claim and submit it to the respective authority in almost one click. It is going to stimulate people to engage more actively in the monitoring of public expenses and make the work of central-level authorities and of local self-government more transparent,” said Viktor Lyakh, president of the East Europe Foundation. A fine is given for not rendering the information public or for publicizing untrue, incomplete or inexact information. The fine is quite large; however, experts expect that the complaints will keep the problem on the agenda.

Civil society controls where the state has no instruments

According to lawyer Artem Borymsky, current legislation does not designate an agency that would monitor public information; so, discovering de-facto violations depends on civic actors only.

According to Lyakh, the project team plans to hold training for media and activists on how to use the web site’s tools. “We would also like to provide an opportunity for civil society organizations and activists to develop the platforms that would allow adjusting the data to peculiarities of a certain region or a target group,” he said.

 

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