The SICAD website: a Tunisian portal for online public services.

07/07/2016

The site SICAD allows users to:

  • learn about the news of the Tunisian administration and consult its notices and its news releases.
  • Be redirected to all sites of all Tunisian ministries and public institutions.
  • Know the legal and regulatory bases on the distance system of the administrative communication and information SICAD.
  • View all the public services available to users including:
  1. the list of public services available online whose total number amounted to 41services (dated June 30, 2016).
  2. The administrative services provided by the Tunisian administration: there are now up to 942 administrative services (dated June 30, 2016).

The SICAD displayed for each administrative service:

  1. Its terms of obtaining.
  2. The required document list.
  • Steps, interveners and time or delays.
  1. Folders repositories and places for obtaining the administrative service.
  2. Legislative references and regulations that govern it.
  3. All terms of reference relating to the exercise of certain economic and commercial activities.

For each term of reference, the site displays the name of the competent authority for validation, a link to download it, and a redirection link to website of this competent authority.

  1. The list and the download links of all official printed forms of the Tunisian government available to citizens and businesses.
  2. The list of offices of the relationship with citizens in ministries, governorates, public institutions and public companies and the redirect links to the supervisory authority over the operation of each office.

Users exploit the various sections of this site through an advanced search module based on filtering. Thus, each user can enter a keyword and refine the search with filters that allows him to choose: the department, the agency, the sector and the area of activity. The results appear at the bottom of the advanced research module alphabetically or by use date and in the form of a hyperlink that allows user redirection to the public service provider website.

Figure 2: the filtering module in advanced research

Users can also interact with the administrators of the website by sending various comments or requests relating to the form or purpose of the administrative service. A processing procedure of these comments or requests triggers in the background with the concerned administrations. The website will send the response to the user’s email address when ready.

Figure 3: section for user feedback

Finally, it remains to say that online public services are developing in Tunisia with a very slow pace as considered by citizens and businesses. The Tunisian state must take bold steps to develop an effective and sustainable e-government that can satisfy all the public action beneficiaries. – Hatem Haddad, Tunisia. 


As an HR maneger, how are your country’s top leadership and development vision linked to human resources capacity development in the public sector ?

06/06/2016

Human Resources are central to planning, managing and delivering any service including health care, pharmaceutical services, public services in general…..etc. Any development achievement relies on the capacity of individuals. In order to reach the development objectives government should invest in individual development while financial resources also development policies and assistance are vital to the country’s capacity development.

UNDP defines capacity development as ‘the process through which individuals, organizations and societies obtain, strengthen and maintain the capabilities to set and achieve their own development objectives over time’. Capacity building commonly refers to a process that supports only the initial stages of building or creating capacities and alludes to an assumption that there are no existing capacities to start from. It is therefore less comprehensive than capacity development. The OECD/DAC writes that capacity building suggests a process starting with a plain surface and involving the step-by-step erection of new structure based on a perconceived design. Experience suggests that capacity is not successfully enhanced in this way capacity building can be relevant to crisis or immediate post- conflict situations where existing capacity has largely been lost due to capacity destruction or capacity flight.

Human beings are the most important and the most useful assets in any public sector organisation.

An organisation that has enough capital and unskilled workforce will be unable to achieve its goals.

Public sector in any country is made only to cover up unemployment in other words to decrease the rate of unemployment. In reality, I would say in our country, it’s only for previleged one. Human resources system is based on favouritism and bribery, corruption overall the industrial sector, food industry, and higher education., high positions. In contrast, health care and education are different. For health care specialized people are oriented directly without any protocol as they know that they are going to work in bad conditions for those who can bear. For others, they are going to be brilliant surgeons and doctors in other foreign countries. Regarding education sector, lattely, only those who cannot do something else go to education. It’s by no choice. That’s why we notice that education is backsliding more and more. As teachers are no more chosen for their capacities or even for having high education levels or being specialists. In short, the public sector in my country is not realy a reference .

But as a HR manager, top leadership is development. Being a leader can avoid so many difficulties that an organisation can face as the leader can avoid so many mistakes that could be done by the workfoce by being present at their side leading them so he/she knows exactly the weak points of anybody in his or her team. A leader knows exactly what king of people he/she wants to be surrounded with so a leader chooses the right skilled people which leads to a good understanding,  to a better managing and to the organization progression, this what we call development.

Human resources capacity helps leaders to measure the effectiveness of performance, it also helps to identify the weaknesses of the employees in this way it helps to identify the training needed in orde to improve the employees skills and knowledge. We have to give an important attention to Human resources for its vital potential implications relating to fair employment practices and about increasing concerns about employees productivity in the organization. Human Resources helps leaders to develop individuals creating a basis, or a start up, a line to plan a better future. Human resource management works to ensure that employees are able to meet organizational goals.

To sum up, in order to develop the public sector, both HR specialists and leaders should invest in the training and the development of the staff. It’s important that any investment in HR capacity evaluates the different ways to deliver the HR function. Leadership is the key development in any fair public sector. – Naciba Serir, Algeria.

 


Online Public Services in the Republic of Mauritius

02/06/2016

The National Portal (www.govmu.org) of the Government of Mauritius has a one-stop-shop for e-Services offered by Government agencies, i.e. the online services are published in a centralized repository that is easily accessible from main page of the portal.

The main benefit of having such a one-stop-shop for e-Services is that the Public does not have to search online services on websites of different Government agencies as searching and accessing online services are easier when same are consolidated at a single place.

As at date, more than 60 e-Services and 10 e-Payment services are available on the portal. In addition to listing e-Services in alphabetical order, a search feature as well as categorization of e-Services into different hierarchies such as Persona (Citizen, Business, etc.), Domain (Agriculture, Education, etc.), Ministry, Department and Parastatal are provided to allow users to lookup e-Services easily.

To avail of any e-Service, a user is required to register in the portal first and subsequently, the registered particulars are automatically populated every time a user applies for an e-Service. This saves the user from entering the information again for other e-Services.

A workspace is provided to the user within the portal where all applications to e-Services of the user can be searched, viewed and tracked.

An example of an e-Service, which is widely used by the citizens of Mauritius, is the “Application for Appointment for Vehicle Examination” at the National Transport Authority (NTA). The public may also phone, make a request by fax or call in person at the Vehicle Examination Centre for obtaining an appointment. However, the advantage of using the e-Service rather than conventional channels is that with the e-Service, an earlier appointment date can be obtained compared to other channels. This is an example of how take-up of e-Services can be increased by providing attractive incentives to the users over conventional service channels.

The e-Service “Application for Specific Registration Mark” of the National Transport Authority (NTA) is another popular e-Service, which allows vehicle owners to have an old registration mark allocated to their vehicle. It is to be noted that this facility can only be carried out via an e-Service. This is another way to increase use of e-Service by making applications to the service mandatory via the online channel.

The Government Portal is also accessible via an official mobile app on both Android and IOS that also provides access to online services.

In addition to the e-Services accessible on the Government Portal, businesses can also avail of online services for application of business licenses on the Business Licensing Portal (www.eregulations.mu).

Furthermore, the portal of the Local Authorities of the Republic of Mauritius (la.govmu.org) allows members of the public to benefit from a number of services online such as Online Payment facility for Trade Fees, Application for Building and Land Use Permit, submission of complaints among many others.-Hemchandra Betchoo, Mauritius.


WHAT ARE THE SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS USED BY YOUR GOVERNMENT? WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?

23/05/2016

The disruptive technologies are facing a wide acceptance in Middle East; a very good example is United Arab Emirates direction to have a smart government. All government entities are supposed to turn their IT investments towards offering smart online solutions for residents.

Dubai government in particular have taken this to the next level, the vision of the country is that offering a friendly smart and online solution is not the entire story, mainly, they believe having a continues improvement of their polices, services and protocols is what matter, for that, Dubai government entities are actively presented on social media. The core believes of the government that no process or policy improvement will bring any more value, unless it comes from the users who are practicing it. They are actively encouraging people to engage with them over social media platform.

For example, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum GBE, also known as Sheikh Mohammed, is the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Emir of Dubai is actively using social media platforms to communicate government visions and plan to audience of Dubai, listening to them, and sometime, engaging with users via cover station and feedbacks.

On the other hand, communicating government initiative, plans, and visions is part of Dubai Media Office department. The core task of this office is to communicate government initiatives to public, sense the public sentiment and sometime, inviting random selected people for a discussion. They have been active mainly on Twitter, with wide audience and network up to 1.3+ million followers.

On the other hand, government agencies with essential offered services are also part of the social media presence as part of the government plan to have a winder citizen engagement. A very good example could be DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) with a round 220,000 followers on Facebook, the main task of DEWA is to introduce government initiatives of Sustainable Power plans, Going-Green and other Eco-friendly activities that considered being in line with the country vision towards Expo 2020. It usually engages with people in conversation about power consumption, best practices to avoid wastage of power, and continues involvement and engagement with users on special advices to help them create a green-country.

Talking about government presence on the social media in Dubai, we should bring the attention to one of the most important government department in the country that is responsible of providing a safe place for the residents, Dubai Police.

Dubai Police page on Facebook considered being the most active page that is related to government, with an audience of 500,000 people, and a growth of 6000 users a week on average, it is considered to be the discussion platform for many users who wish to interact with Dubai senior police officers. It is usually known that top officials are monitoring the page and how the department is communicating with public on best safety practices, and new rules and regulations, in a chance to listen to user’s feedbacks, suggestions.

One final example can probably give the reader a satisfactory image on how the government of Dubai is using the social media for an added-value networking and excellent citizen engagement. On the very local level, Dubai Municipality page on Facebook, with 200,000+ followers, engages with users about various topics, from waste management, to city planning projects. They do a lot of engagement campaigns to have closer interactions with residents. The late introduce campaign was “The Best Photo of Dubai” Where users was requested to share their photos of the city in a chance to win a honorable certificate from the government.

Needless to say, all the mentioned above agencies, and particularly, all of the government agencies have enabled a “Complain/Suggestion” mechanism on their websites, and it is seriously looked at from senior official’s point of view. Some of the agencies allow citizens to have direct interactions with ministers.

Conclusion:

From Dubai Government point of view, being on social media actively is part of the strategy towards having a better country. The idea is faster you have feedback from the ground, is faster your ability to learn and change. – Aboud Khederchah, United Arab Emirates.

 


LEGISLATION ON ACCESS TO DATA- BOTSWANA’S CASE STUDY

23/05/2016

INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND

Botswana is a landlocked Sub-Saharan African country located in the southern part of Africa. The country borders South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia. Since its independence from Britain in 1966, the country has been hailed for its prudent management of natural resources, political stability, peace, good governance, democracy and freedom of expression. However the country has been affected dramatically by the HIV/AIDS disease with 18.5% of the country’s 2 million citizens reported to be infected by the disease (Statistics Botswana, 2014). Despite this challenge the country has stable economy and rank high in most of the world’s development indicators such as education, economic development and gender equality.

APPLICATION OF LAW IN BOTSWANA

Due to the country’s legacy of good governance and democracy, the government have always strived to ensure that relevant laws are in place to help guide the developments and reduce uncertainties and ambiguities in the country. Laws are fully debated at parliamentary level with the contribution of citizens taking centre stage through a consultative process. This is also a cultural attribute embedded in the DNA of the citizens referred to as “Morero”, which translate roughly to consultation. Through this process the country has achieved citizen inclusion in government matters while at the same time keeping citizens informed about government’s activities.

LEGISLATION ON ACCESS TO DATA

The efforts to introduce legislation on access to data in Botswana dates back to 1997 as a recommendation of the Presidential Task Group for a Long Term Vision for Botswana report titled “Towards Prosperity for All” (Vision 2016 Commission, 1997). In 2010 a Freedom of Information Bill (FOI) was presented to the parliament. The bill was to pave way for a FOI Act which to this date is still not been finalized.

“The object of the Bill is to extend the right of members of the public to access information in the possession of public authorities by, inter alia –

  • Making available to the public, information about the operations of public authorities and, in particular, ensuring that the rules and practices affecting members of the public in their dealings with public authorities are readily available to persons affected by those rules and practices;
  • Creating a general right of access to information in documentary form in the possession of public authorities, limited only by the exceptions and exemptions necessary for the protection of essential public interests and the private and business affairs of persons in respect of whom information is collected and held by public authorities; and
  • Creating a right to bring about the amendment of records containing personal information that is incomplete, incorrect, misleading or not relevant to the purpose for which the document is held.” (Shaleshando, 2010).

There have been a lot of discussions, especially from media houses and journalists as a way to put pressure on the government but so far their efforts have been fruitless. International experts however have scrutinised the current bill citing that it lack content. Daruwala and Nayak (2011) postulated that in comparison to the Indian Right to Information Act of 2005 the bill doesn’t include a lot of aspects such as DNA data, political parties and private entities performing public services within the definition of “public authority”. However the authors praised the former Member of Parliament, Mr Shaleshando for drafting the bill (Daruwala & Nayak, 2011).

CONCLUSION

It is without no doubt that the FOI Act in Botswana would further strengthen the already existing good governance and democracy upon its finalization. The act will also increase government’s accountability and answerability to its citizens. The government should also view this Act as an opportunity to further reinforce the existing trust that prevails between itself and the citizens. It is this trust that has contributed to the success story of Botswana.  As the world embarks on the Sustainable Development Goals agenda (SDGs) it is of utmost importance that such policies and laws as the access to information by citizens of the world be looked into and countries must be pressurized to implement such policies and laws. It is through such policies and laws that country institutions can be strengthened and eventually peace, justice and strong partnerships be achieved. – Moalosi Lebekwe, Botswana.

REFERENCES

  1. Statistics Botswana. (2014). Botswana AIDS Impact Survey IV (BAIS IV). Gaborone: Replubic of Botswana.
  2. Daruwala, M., & Nayak , V. (2011). Freedom Of Information Bill, 2010, Botswana; Preliminary Comments, Recommendations and Improvements. New Delhi: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).
  3. Shaleshando, D. (2010). Freedom of Information Bill. Gaborone: Republic of Botswana.
  4. Vision 2016 Commission. (1997). Towards Prosperity of All. Gaborone: Republic of Botswana.

 


Are you aware of any legislation on access to data in your country? Have you ever made use of it?

16/05/2016

In November 2010 Guinea adopted the legislation on the right to access public information (c.f: http://www.africafoicentre.org/index.php/foi-laws/99-guinee-ati-law-fr/file). The adoption of the law was the result of many years discussions to recognize the public’s right to access governmental documents.

This law is based on the principle of transparency, which provide enabling environment for greater accountability and greater responsiveness on the government to the citizens. The rational of this law was to make changes to public institutions including the parliament, which would have long-run benefits for the country’s nascent democracy.

The law provided a legal framework and an action plan:

  • To promote the participation of citizens in decision making and transparency by allowing them general right to access information held by governmental organizations, and by giving them right to access documents information related to them.
  • To organize procedures for exercising the right of access to information
  • To Encourage the development of strong national expertise in information public
  • To establish a presumption in favor of disclosure

However this law has some limitations. In fact, it does not require the government the duty to process applications in a timely, responsible and complete manner. Nor the government clarifies the recourse available to individuals and organizations when they believe their rights of access to information was not respected.

To me this law should be more developed and known by the citizens. In fact, it I would suggest that it contains in addition to the right of access, the right to informaton, the right of opposition, the right of correction, and the right of obilivion.

The right to object would provide that everyone has the opportunity to object, for legitimate reasons, to be included in a file.

The right of access would give anyone with the possibility to examine all data relating to him and may request a copy of which the cost will not exceed that of reproduction.

The right of correction would provide any person establishing his identity the possibility to require the data controller that personal data concerning them which are inaccurate, incomplete, misleading, outdated be rectified, completed, updated, locked or deleted.

Finally the right of oblivion would give any person whose personal information is collected the right to be forgotten. His/her data should not be retained beyond a certain length. This period must not exceed “the duration necessary for the purposes for which they were collected and processed.

Five years later, it is really difficult to draw any rational conclusion as the government did not design monitoring and evaluation procedures. Moreover in most of the public organizations the processes of accessing the information are either not clear or not know to the citizens. Even for the citizens who would know such rights, the archives, if they exist, are hardly exploitable.

On paper we could think that the law would distinguish itself as an essential part of a vibrant democratic society. It would incitate citizens to participate meaningfully in the democratic process, to exercise their right to know and to require the government accountable.

I personally believe that access to information underlies many of the rights and freedoms that we hold closest to our heart and which are among the most notorious, or freedom of expression, freedom of press, the right to vote and rights procedural criminal. However, in the case of my country this information is barely available. Though the law was adopted many government officers still feel that all the information are confidential. For example, it is almost impossible to get information on current infrastructure projects, even the pricing of services in public hospital are not available to the public. The government has not yet put the development of knowledge society into its priority, even e-government which would facilitate the sharing of information of governmental organization would be a great improvement.

The availability of data and Information to the public is essential to draw visions and development objectives for any organizations (public and private).
For example, most international organizations defending human rights today consider access to information as a fundamental human right. Trade associations often highlight the robust laws on access to information can stimulate competition, efficiency and innovation by facilitating the flow of information between government and industry. According to a growing number of advocates of participatory democracy, effective laws on access to information are essential because they allow ordinary citizens to influence the activities of public bodies, and in the public interest.

In most of developing countries the adoption of laws is not enough to rectify the trend. In fact, in most of the cases the laws are adopted then put into oblivion. Moreover the importance of achieving data and information is not understood by the citizens, even the private organizations. That could be the reason they are not very competitive in local and global markets. Therefore, the government is not the only actor to be “blamed” but all or most of the components of the society including the individuals.

With the development of Information Technologies I believe that if the government is lacking behind, the citizens can be the enablers by investing resources on developing private repositories of data and information. We might not be able to ignore the government but individuals(or private organizations) can start compiling and organizing the little existing public data and information, and spread them to the citizens. – Yagouba Traoré, Canada.


Do you think that your data available in your government is safe? Do you know of any legislation in your country regarding the data protection?

09/05/2016

Data in my country is safe as there is multiple privacy and storage techniques have been implemented to save the data.

Moreover the data is encrypted with technologies under security management.

I know about the legislation of my country which are as follows

 

  1. The IT Act 2000 of my country

It contains provisions of protection of electronic data by means of electronic communication.

It provides legal transaction to electronic data in which paper based methods are used by the means of e commerce .Electronic filing is also facilitated.

 

  1. Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011.These rules have three provisions Body Incorporates, Information Providers and the Government.  Tighten its grip over the un-estimated and negligent use of the personal data.

 

  1. The Copyright Act, 1957 protects Intellectual Property rights in literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and cinematographic works. It includes computer databases as well. Therefore, copying a computer database, or copying and distributing a database amounts to infringement of copyright for which civil and criminal remedies can be initiated. The differentiation of data protection and database protection under the

Copyright Act. Data protection is aimed at protecting the informational privacy of individuals, while database protection of the creativity and investment put into the compilation, verification and presentation of databases.

 

  1. The Indian Penal Code, 1860 can be used as an effective means to prevent data theft. Offences such as misappropriation of property, theft, or criminal breach of trust attract imprisonment and fine under the IPC. The offences of theft and misappropriation under the IPC only apply to movable property; it has been defined to include corporeal property of “every description,” except land and things permanently attached to the earth. Therefore, computer databases can be protected under the IPC, as they are movable by their very nature and under the Copyright Act because they are a form of Indian penal.

 

There are certain processes which BPOS implemented which are self-regulatory processes such as the BS 7799 and ISO 17799.the are effective to standardize information security management and restrict the quantity of data that can be made available to their employees. This act completely provides the data safety.

 

These afore mentioned are the few among the legislations adequate safeguards, and to monitor the collected data and its usage. – Rajat Bhatnagar, India


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