At today’s session, the government approved the Report on the Action Plan of Open Government Partnership (OGP) for 2014–2016.
The Action Plan of OGP for 2014–2016 set out three priorities – an inclusive and open policy-making process, a transparent state budget and financial management, and public services geared to the needs of citizens – as well as specific actions under these priorities.
With regard to the most essential activities, the user-friendliness of central information source of the Government - the e-Consultation System (EIS) - has been improved, incl. its search and notification options, as well as its appearance and explanatory texts, making it easier to use and navigate in the e-Consultation System.
In the e-Consultation System, an option was introduced to add notifications at the beginning, during or after the drafting process, through which it is possible at an early stage of policy-making to make available to the public the information about commencing the development of a draft legislation or other issue, as well as the drafting process and the opportunities for participation in the drafting process or, for example, to add public consultation summaries to a draft legislation file.
In order to involve citizens, a web environment – rahvaalgatus.ee – has been created, enabling people to initiate discussions on relevant to society, to prepare public inquiries, collect signatures in support or against such inquiries, and submit inquiries with at least 1,000 digital signatures to the Riigikogu, observe the passage of an inquiry through the Riigikogu, and receive a response to the inquiry from the Riigikogu.
A public funds application makes public expenditure more transparent, and facilitates the use of accounting data as open data.
A total of 20% of local authorities have prepared a simple and comprehensible brief overview of their local budget, similar to the State Budget Strategy, and the state budget.
The Action Plan of OGP includes a recommendation that important budgeting and taxation policy decisions should be made in spring, together with the Budget Strategy. According to the Taxation Act Amendment Act, adopted in early 2015, usually at least six months must elapse between the adoption and entry into force of an act concerning a tax and any amendments thereto.
Four pilot projects were carried out in order to develop a citizen-centred approach to the development of public services to ensure that the services are as user-focused as possible. The issuing of digital ID documents to non-residents has also started.
In addition, an open data portal opendata.riik.ee was created to ensure access to public sector data without any access restriction, their reuse and redistribution for commercial and non-commercial purposes for all.
Of the 23 actions proposed for the implementation of commitments, 20 actions have been carried out; the Action Plan for 2016-2018, approved by the Government in June this year, also foresees a number of follow-up activities. The new Action Plan focuses on increasing openness and inclusiveness of the policy-making process and on the development of citizen-centred public services.
According to the OECD, involvement in policy-making has increased significantly in Estonia. Compared to other OECD countries, Estonia ranks 6th out of 38 countries; in the previous report, Estonia ranked 33rd out of 36 countries. The measurement examines to what extent executive power includes other parties in legislative drafting, and evaluates the consultation methods, openness, transparency, and feedback mechanisms.
The actions of the OGP were agreed upon by its coordinating body, consisting of the representatives of state, and non-governmental partners; including NGOs, employers and employees and, as of 2016, the representatives of the Riigikogu and local authorities. The activities of the coordinating body are managed by the Government Office.
The OGP International Secretariat highly commended Estonia in its 2015 assessment, saying that Estonia had the best involved non-governmental organisations in the preparation, implementation and monitoring the implementation of the Action Plan of OGP.
Estonia joined the Open Government Partnership in 2012 and it currently includes 70 countries. The OGP is an international initiative that was created to promote good governance in the world by using opportunities arising from the development of technology. Open governance means exercising power in an honest and transparent way and in dialogue with citizens. Countries that have joined the OGP commit themselves to following the principles of an open government and develop a specific Action Plan in cooperation with various parties.
In order to assess the implementation of the Action Plan, both a self-assessment report and an independent assessment are compiled.