02 Mar

Blog Post #06 – Policy Compass in the Leningrad Region

The Leningrad Region of the Russian Federation is one of two field trials for the Policy Compass project. The region’s Administration joined the project as an associate partner together with the e-Governance Center of the ITMO University – the only Russian project partners. The Leningrad region was chosen because of its strong interest and commitment to the project’s goals, as well as its long standing and successful co-operation with the ITMO University in the area of e-Government and Information Society development.

The focus of the aforementioned trial is the implementation of the Regional program “Development of the Information Society in Leningrad region in 2014-2018” which is the successor of a series of federal and regional programs devoted to the promotion of e-governance in various fields of public administration in the region in 2002-2013. The recognition of the importance of these programs for both the economy and society of the region is reflected in the level of interest and high importance given to this topic. There is a real need for harmonization of program goals, activities and indicators with the urgent and long-term interests of citizens and businesses. Among the decisive factors to include the Leningrad region as a pilot in the project were the presence of a rich history of related normative documents as well as precise socio-economic data. which reflected the result and impacts of previous projects.

Despite the fact that in recent years a lot of Internet-based instruments for bilateral G2G, G2B and G2C interaction tools, and jointly-used IT systems and data warehouses have been implemented, their effective use has evolved slowly and their impacts are still insignificant.

Until recently, the lack of available information about the results, and user-friendly tools for analyzing and forecasting the results of such Regional programs led to a loss of public interest in them. Under these circumstances, the Administration prefered the use of “comfortable” indicators that helped the preparation of positive reports; however, little actual benefit was brought to local citizens and business.

With the rapid development of open data and state-of-the-art tools to work with, this situation changed radically and the Policy Compass methodology and tools will help overcome problems such as:

  • The sometimes passive nature of citizens’engagement with policics and policy making due the lack of open socio-economic data and tools to analyze it;
  • Lack of civil servants motivation to meet the real needs of local citizens and business;
  • Lack of analytical support for policy-making processes.

Policy Compass offers the Leningrad Region’s citizens and policy-makers a novel and user friendly platform for analyzing various factual indicators and the ability to compare them against the planned ones both in their region, as well as in other regions within the Russian Federation and around the world.

The Committee on Information and Telecommunications Administration of the Leningrad Region is the most interested and involved department in the trial structure. In the context of the pilot implementation, the Committee with the support of the e-Governance Center, will offer metrics and data sets, propose schemes of their interrelations in the form of fuzzy cognitive maps (FCMs) and try to use the Policy Compass tools to visualize, analyze, explain and improve expected outcomes of the previously mentioned Regional program.

To begin with, the simplified model will be used to analyze the relationship among aggregate indicators such as quality of life, quality of public services and functions, performance measures for the development of the information society etc. Furthermore, the gradually improved and wider set of tools for open government data analysis, results’ visualization and their collective discussion will provide appropriate conditions to involve a critical mass of citizens and policy makers in the processes of the open policy development. This should have a positive impact on the Program’s goals setting and prioritization, formation of optimal project portfolio and the selection of appropriate performance indicators. As a consequence, a radical increase in efficiency and effectiveness of the implementation of Regional programs and projects, as well as improving quality of life in the region are expected.

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