E-Democracy fosters interaction between the government and the public in resolving a variety of important social issues. This is why we set up E-DEM, the first Ukrainian platform that brings together the most effective and popular instruments of e-democracy in one resource.
Since 2018, the “Single Platform for Local e-Democracy” has been the one-stop-shop for access to the four instruments of e-Democracy.
After logging in once on the platform, the user won’t need to input personal data again to use the various services on E-DEM:
Е-DEM is the product of best practices in interacting with communities, based on actual cooperation with them. This platform offers individuals easy, convenient access to a number of e-democracy tools that they can actually use. These tools have been designed to establish the best possible feedback between the public and the government in resolving a wide range of socially important issues.
More than 40,000 Ukrainians have successfully used this service so far.
Electronic petitions are a convenient and effective tool of direct democracy for individuals who want to support one initiative or another. The “Local Petitions” service allows people to address local government agencies virtually.
Ukraine is one of the first countries in the world to institute petitions in local government agencies. The kinds of issues about which community residents typically appeal to their governments using e-petitions include a wide range of questions that arise in housing and residential services, road repair, and furnishing or designating premises.
A petition has specific time, quantity and legal frames, as well as requirements that must be met. If a petition does not garner the necessary number of signatures, it reverts to the status of an individual appeal.
An e-petition is an effective instrument for change in a community. In Lviv, the institution of a single ticket for all forms of public transit started with a petition. In Lutsk, a petition to expand the memorial to Volyn residents killed in the Russian war against Ukraine got the city to allocate funds for the purpose from the local budget.
Nearly 220 communities have instituted e-petitions, and those have so far gathered nearly 2.4 million signatures. In 2016, the platform was expanded to the national level and implemented as part of the process of introducing e-petitions in the Cabinet of Ministers.
The Participatory Budget is democracy in action: residents can independently decide which changes their city needs the most by proposing their own projects or voting for the projects of others.
The Participatory Budget is an instrument for active residents to change their city or county for the better. An updated version of this platform was launched in the spring of 2017.
The mechanism for a participatory budget was born in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989. Today, it’s being used in many cities around the world. A participatory budget allows residents to really have influence in the place where they live and to decide what they want their tax money to go to. Applying is easy: you don’t have to go anywhere, as everything is done online. Voting for projects is transparent and easy-to-understand.
In big cities, which were the first ones to introduce participatory budgets, the biggest support goes to social projects today. In small communities, by contrast, infrastructure projects dominate.
By getting involved in participatory budgets, the residents of the village of Sviatohirske in Poltava Oblast chose a bright idea like the first Interregional Tourist Festival and Fair called Everything’s Going Tourist, while the residents of Dunayivka in Khmelnytskiy Oblast went for a trail for young naturalists called On the Edge of Epochs. And there are hundreds of stories like these.
Since this service was launched, Ukrainians have submitted more than 4,000 proposals for projects, for which over UAH 116 million have been allocated.
The main purpose of the Open City service is for residents to keep City Hall informed about current problems with the general condition of their community. This resource brings the local government closer to its residents and provides an effective mechanism for interaction in resolving the most urgent issues involving housing and residential services, the general condition of infrastructure, and so on.
The Open City project is a crowdsourcing platform for residents to interact with their local governments and utility providers, and for people to organize their own initiatives.
For this purpose, the site has a section called “Problems” where people can leave notices about problems. These will be delivered to the responsible agency to deal with.
This service helps in finding solutions to problems in the city by approaching those on the city council who are responsible for making such decisions. The platform tools make it possible to describe the problem, to mark its location on a map, and to put together an electronic notice.
What you need to do
The Open City service is already being used by 70 communities, which have solved more than 22,000 problems, large and small.
E-consultations were set up by us in partnership with the State Agency for E-Governance — now the Ministry of Digital Transformation — for government agencies that want to be on the same wavelength as their communities — and for residents who want to co-sponsor decisions, initiatives and local policies and to influence them in a convenient way.
Online consultations are an effective tool for national and local governments to discuss issues or propositions involving strategic areas, activities, actions or policies, with their voters.
With the help of this service, you can request:
E-Consultations engage active voters with different views, who can express their opinions on a given issue without leaving their homes, and offer their own solutions.
With the help of e-Consultations, the public can participate in deciding different issues, such as choosing which streets should get repaired first, or deciding which schools will stay open and which ones can be closed. In 2018, e-Consultations became the most popular means of consulting with ministries, central executive bodies (CEBs), and local executive bodies (LEBs). The kinds of issues that residents raised included repairing streets, holding celebrations in the city, reconstructing parks, changing street names, and much more.
Individuals can use e-Consultations after a one-time registration using their BankID or digital signature.
Together with the State Agency for e-Governance — now the Ministry of Digital Transformation — and a coalition of 20 civil society organizations (CSOs), the EGAP Program has developed a Concept for the Development of e-Democracy.
The Concept for the Development of e-Democracy emerged after dozens of working sessions between government agencies, the coalition of CSOs and community activists, and a virtual town hall that brought in more than 1,000 propositions that were reviewed and considered. Approved by the Cabinet in November 2017, this Concept forms the legal foundation for the development of electronic democracy in Ukraine.
The purpose of the Concept is the further development and entrenchment of e-democracy in Ukraine. This should ensure that ordinary Ukrainians are engaged in communication and cooperation with government agencies, oversee them, are actively involved in developing policies, and active in further developing grass-roots organizations and self-government. Hopefully, all this will increase the level of trust in government agencies.
At the end of 2017, the EGAP Program and the State Agency for e-Governance — now the Ministry of Digital Transformation — launched a revised Government portal that was updated to be a more user-friendly and accessible source of current news on the Government’s work.
The updated portal has a more contemporary design and better technological platform, and has been built to meet the needs of users on the basis of best world practice. Resolutions, news and schedules of sessions can all be found with just a few clicks, using the handy system of news and Government acts tags or a flexible expanded search.
In addition to this, the portal now contains a catalog of all services that the government provides online. Currently, more than 120 services are accessible through the CMU portal. A version of the portal has also been adapted for use on tablets and cell phones, and a separate version has been designed for people with impaired vision.
Today, most e-services are accessible through the Diia portal, the one-stop-shop for individuals and business to communicate with the government. MinFin’s plans are to digitalize 100% of public services by 2024. As of May 2020, more than 2.3 million users had already signed on to the Diya program.
A new section on the Cabinet portal has been funded and plans are to coordinate international technical assistance there.
A digital economy is the key to socio-economic development and GDP growth in today’s society. Under the EGAP Program, we are focused on putting the principle of “digital by default” to work. Our goal is a country in which all services and spheres related to the life of the society have been digitalized.
The digital by default principle means that any activities by government agencies, including the provision of public services, interagency cooperation, interactions with physical and legal entities, the government’s informational and analytical efforts, and so on, are carried out in electronic form as a priority, while the planning and implementation of any reforms, projects or assignments involves the use of information and communication technology — ICT.
The “digital by default” principle was approved in Resolution #56 “On certain issues related to digital development”, dated 30 January 2018. This confirmed the Basis for Central Executive Bodies (CEBs) to implement the principles of state policy on digital development.
As of 8 April 2019, the State Agency for e-Governance of Ukraine, now the Ministry of Digital Transformation, undertook a digital examination of draft legislation and regulations relating to informatization, electronic government, the formation and use of national electronic informational resources, the development of civil society, e-democracy, the provision of administrative services, or digital development in accordance with the principles of implementation by the executive authorities of the principles of state policy of digital development.
Now, all drafts of Government acts will be reviewed prior to approval as to how realistically all the processes they describe can take place in electronic form. A similar audit will be applied to ensure that there is no conflict with European legislation, anti-corruption policies, and so on. This will make it possible to speed up the course of digital projects, including e-services, at least double. In this way, executive bodies will be able to save time, reduce costs, increase transparency, and improve the quality of the services they provide to the public and business.
The main goal of electronic services is to benefit users. This is why we wanted the maximum possible number of Ukrainians to learn about the benefits of online applications for government services. One of our public awareness campaigns developed an internet character called Goosie.
The goose is emblematic of simplicity. In this campaign, the goose talks with humor about everything it sees around, explains complicated things, and isn’t afraid to tell the truth. As a result, it’s very popular.
The main point is that, if the goose has no problems arranging for documents right at home, then anyone can do it. As examples of the services Ukrainians can access over the internet are getting maternity benefits, registering as an FOP, applying for construction permits and household subsidies, getting certificates of no police record, and getting an extract of a property deed. All of this can be done “without queues, middlemen or bribes”.
The public awareness campaign was developed by the EGAP Program in cooperation with the State Agency for e-Governance — today the Ministry of Digital Transformation — and the Art Nation group of companies.
Posters with Goosie were published in light boxes and billboards in the five biggest cities, in UkrZaliznytsia trains, and in post offices, and a video clip was posted online, along with contextual and banner ads.