Experts: Open data – a way to fight corruption

Experts: Open data – a way to fight corruption
September 15, 2016.

The platform enables tracking the public expenditures and encourages e-documents in government.

Kyiv, September 15, 2016. E-Data is the largest open database of finance in Ukraine. In August 26,000 users visited it daily. The portal is open 24/7, it is free, anonymous, without passwords or restrictions. There are computer and mobile versions, the data are available online, they are downloadable and, most important, they are derived from official sources. “We do not fight corruption, we open data. People themselves decide how to use them, and open data can indirectly do something against corruption,” noted Oleksandr Schelokov, Director of “Е-Data” project, at the round table at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Open data is what can help Ukrainians learn to solve their problems through IT. The state cannot say which services people need. They should determine what they need by themselves. A person is entitled to all the data that officials already have, except secret and personal,” said Denys Gurskyi, founder of NGO “SocialBoost”.

Mathematics against corruption

According to Maksym Nefyodov, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, open data can help to fight corruption and promote economic growth. “Openness of information helps fight its asymmetry. An office-holder has information but another person does not have it – it distorts competition, pricing, market conditions. This creates opportunities for corruption,” explained the Deputy Minister. He said that open data provide an opportunity for various findings, fighting corruption and inefficiency statistically. This mathematical fight against corruption is measured in billions. Open data also increase the efficiency of resource use.

Databases combined

Andriy Sukhov, UNITY-BARS, says they planned a big project till year-end: intersystem integration of three major systems: the treasury, Prozorro and E-data. It will allow passing primary documents – scanned versions of spending public money -automatically within these three systems. Oleksandr Grubiyan, Deputy Head of State Treasury Service of Ukraine, said that data from the treasury database are passed to the E-data portal daily. There are plans to integrate Prozorro database and the treasury accounting system. An agreement which a person concludes after ProZorro bidding will become a legally significant obligation and it will not have to be taken to the treasury any longer. “It will be given automatically and shown on E-data. The whole chain is linked to E-data. This will improve the logic and quality of information resource,” explained the Deputy Head of the State Treasury.

Opportunities for citizens

Natalya Kravchenko, project director of “Research & Analysis System 007,” informed that her service turns open data into useful data. This has the social effect of reducing corruption by increasing transparency. “The service makes it possible to see how institutions spend taxpayers’ money; to see data on a budget owner who makes payments and data on the recipient of these funds, as well as their addresses and telephone numbers,” explained Ms. Kravchenko.

Volodymyr Tarnay, Center for Political & Social Analysis “Eidos,” informed about the new project of the center – open budget. It makes information on the use of funds comprehensible for citizens. All the software developments are posted on the websites of government agencies.

Suggestions and criticism

Oleksandr Maznyi, director of “IT Team,” proposed to extend platform analytics, to create the opportunity of receiving data for developing their own analytical service and of receiving public feedback. Oleksandr Krakovetskyi, co-organizer of “KyivSmartCity,” urged to change the discussion subject from the quantity to the new services and their impact on the economy sectors. “Public authorities should stop taking money from foreign donors. They neither explore information security and development, nor adopt experience. They just speak to the media and inform that we have a great service, but we do not know who has created it and how much it costs. We have to learn how to estimate the service development cost and to form the information literacy in the public sector,” he added.

Dmitro Makovskyi, Deputy Head of the State Agency for E-Governance of Ukraine, informed that a three-year national competition “open-data challenge” was launched in April. “It aims at promoting and supporting the public data projects. The first winners will be known tomorrow,” he noted.

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