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Open Budgets Index: A survey by OK Greece on open budgets of public sector bodies in Greece

- March 28, 2018 in Greece, OK Greece, open budget survey, Open Data Index, OpenBudgets

Within the scope of openbudgets.eu, a project funded by the European Union’s H2020 research and innovation programme, Open Knowledge Greece (OK Greece) conducted a survey on the availability of open public budgeting data in Greece. Then, our team created an interactive map that allows users to check the scores of their municipality or regional administrative unit. You can visit openbudgets.gr to check out the map.

Open Budgets Index: Greek Municipalities General Index (March 2018)

The Open Budget Index was inspired by Open Budget Survey and the Open Data Index. They both underline the importance of open public data for the promotion of transparency and building public trust. Open budgets in particular, if used properly, have a strong potential in the creation of participatory budget mechanisms.

Open Budgets Index survey step-by-step

This survey takes a look at what happens at the local level by examining municipalities and regional units in Greece, a country that struggles with the application of open data law, even though it’s been four years since the adoption of legislation.

Open Budgets Index: Greek Municipalities License scores (March 2018)

In order to measure the existence as well as the quality of the available budgeting data, a number of criteria was set, such as data resources (based on accessibility), license, data format and the existence of budget monitoring tools.

Survey key findings

Based on the survey results, 300 out of the 325 municipalities in Greece do publish some form of budgeting data on one of the official state resources: the document sharing platform Diavgeia, data.gov.gr (the official public data repository) or the municipality official website.

Open Budgets Index: Greek Municipalities Resource Formats scores (March 2018)

However, the available documents and data vary immensely in format, level of detail and consistency. The majority of the available budgets (81%) are PDF documents. 9 out of 325 municipalities make good use of the official public data repository data.gov.gr, while just 17 offer budget monitoring tools of some kind. In addition, 96% of the available budgeting documents are published under undefined license. The results for the regional administrative units are similar. All 13 institutions publish budgeting documents but only two units offer machine-readable content and one out of 13 sources is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Open Budgets Index: Regional Units General Index (March 2018)

By conducting the Open Budgets Index Survey, apart from providing Greek citizens with detailed information about the state of open budgeting data in their regions, we also suggest a step-by-step method for open data research. Our approach is based on yes/no questions and basic indicators, such as resource, level of detail and data format, that are easily understandable within the national context. Looking closely at the survey results, we draw the conclusion that administrative units in Greece are willing to open up their data but there is still lack of understanding of what open data is and how it can benefit not only the citizens but also the administration itself. Thus, this survey is designed in such a way, that allows administrative units to easily read their open budgets profile and recognise the exact steps they need to make in order to open their budgeting data and improve their index score. Taking this project one step further, we suggest that the solution lies within adopting common prototypes and formats, collectively. Data homogenization might reduce the existing open data costs and allow applications like openbudgets.eu to work effectively for the public benefit.
This survey was conducted as part of Open Knowledge Greece’s commitments within the context of the Third Greek Open Government Partnership Action Plan 2016 – 2018;  Commitment 30: Open Data Index for cities and local administrations and Commitment 31: Linked, Open and Participatory Budgets.  

Πώς o συμμετοχικός προϋπολογισμός μπορεί να μεταμορφώσει την εμπλοκή της κοινότητας – Μια συνέντευξη με τον Amir Campos

- June 11, 2017 in Featured, Featured @en, News, OpenBudgets, ανοικτή διακυβέρνηση, Νέα, πολίτης, συμμετοχικός προϋπολογισμός

Από την Diana Krebs Για τους περισσότερους δήμους, ο συμμετοχικός προϋπολογισμός είναι μια σχετικά νέα προσέγγιση που περιλαμβάνει τους πολίτες τους άμεσα στη λήψη αποφάσεων για νέες επενδύσεις και εξελίξεις στην κοινότητά τους. Το Fundación Civio είναι μια αστική οργάνωση τεχνολογιών που εδρεύει στη Μαδρίτη της Ισπανίας, η οποία αναπτύσσει εργαλεία για τους πολίτες, που αποκαλύπτουν […]

Πώς o συμμετοχικός προϋπολογισμός μπορεί να μεταμορφώσει την εμπλοκή της κοινότητας – Μια συνέντευξη με τον Amir Campos

- June 11, 2017 in Featured, Featured @en, News, OpenBudgets, ανοικτή διακυβέρνηση, Νέα, πολίτης, συμμετοχικός προϋπολογισμός

Από την Diana Krebs Για τους περισσότερους δήμους, ο συμμετοχικός προϋπολογισμός είναι μια σχετικά νέα προσέγγιση που περιλαμβάνει τους πολίτες τους άμεσα στη λήψη αποφάσεων για νέες επενδύσεις και εξελίξεις στην κοινότητά τους. Το Fundación Civio είναι μια αστική οργάνωση τεχνολογιών που εδρεύει στη Μαδρίτη της Ισπανίας, η οποία αναπτύσσει εργαλεία για τους πολίτες, που αποκαλύπτουν […]

How participatory budgeting can transform community engagement – An interview with Amir Campos

- June 2, 2017 in Interviews, OpenBudgets, OpenSpending

For most municipalities, participatory budgeting is a relatively new approach to include their citizens directly in the decision making for new investments and developments in their community. Fundación Civio is a civic tech organisation based in Madrid, Spain that develops tools for citizens that both reveal the civic value of data and promote transparency. The organisation has developed an online platform for participatory budgeting processes, both for voting and monitoring incoming proposals, that is currently being tested in three Spanish municipalities. Diana Krebs (Project Manager for Fiscal Projects at OKI) talked with Amir Campos, project officer at Fundación Civio, on how tech solutions can help to make participatory budgeting a sustainable process in communities and what is needed beyond from a non-tech point of view.

Amir Campos, Project officer at Fundación Civio

Participatory budgeting (PB) is a relatively new form for municipalities to engage with their citizens. You developed an online platform to help to make the participatory process easier. How can this help in order to turn PB in an integrative part of community life? Participatory budgets are born with the desire to democratise power at a local level, to “municipalise the State”, with a clear objective, that these actions at local level serve as an example at a regional and national level and foster change in State participation and investment policies. This aim for the democratisation of power also represents a struggle for a better distribution of wealth, giving voice to the citizens, taking them out of political anonymity every year, making local investment’s needs visible much faster than any traditional electoral process. Participatory budgeting is a tough citizen’s marking of their local representatives. The tool we have designed is powerful but easy to use because we have avoided the development of a tool that only technical people would use. Users are able to upload their own data (submitting or voting proposals, comments, feedback, etc. in order to generate discussions, voting processes, announcements, visualisations, etc.) It has a more visual approach that clearly differentiates our solution from existing solutions and gives further value to it. Our tool is targeted at administrators, users and policy makers without advanced technical skills and it is online, presented as Software as a Service (SaaS), avoiding the need for users to download or install any special software. All in all, out tool, will bring the experience of taking part in a process of participatory budgeting closer to all citizens. Once registered, its user-friendliness and visual features will keep users connected, not only to vote proposals but also to monitor and share them, while exercising effective decision-making actions and redistributing available resources in their municipality. Along with off-line participatory processes, this platform gives voice to citizens, vote and also gives them the possibility of making their public representatives more accountable through its monitoring capabilities. The final aim is to enable real participatory experiences, providing solutions that are easy to implement by all stakeholders involved, thus strengthening the democratic process.

Do you think that participatory budgeting is a concept that will be more successful in small communities, where the daily business is less ruled by political parties’ interest and more by consent of what the community needs (like new playgrounds or sports parks)? Or can it work in bigger communities such as Madrid as well? Of course! The smaller the community, the better the decision-making process, not only at the PB level but at all levels. Wherever there is a “feeling” of a community it is much easier to generate agreements oriented towards the common good. That is why in large cities there are always more than one PB process at the same time, one at the neighborhood level, and another at the municipal level (whole city), to engage people at the neighborhood level and push them to vote at the city level. Examples such as Paris or Madrid, which use on-line and off-line platforms use that division, instead, small town halls, such as Torrelodones, open just a single process for the whole municipality. All process need municipal representatives commitment and citizens engagement, connected to a culture of participation, for harvesting successful outcomes. Do you see a chance that PB might increase fiscal data literacy if communities are more involved in deciding on what the community should spend tax money on? Well, I am not sure about an improvement on fiscal data literacy, but I am absolutely convinced that citizens will better understand the budget cycle, concepts and the overall approval process. Currently, in most cases, budget preparation and approval has been a closed-door process within administrations. Municipal PB implementations will act as enabling processes for citizens to influence budget decisions, becoming actual stakeholders of the decision-making process and auditing budget compromised vs. actual spending and giving feedback to the administrations. Furthermore, projects implemented thanks to a PB will last longer since citizens will take on a commitment to the project implemented, their representatives and their peers with whom individuals will have to agree once and will easily renew this agreement. The educational resources available for citizens in the platform will help also to improve the degree of literacy. They provide online materials to better understand the budget period, terms used or how to influence and monitor the budget. What non-tech measures and commitments do a municipal council or parliament need to take so that participatory budgeting will become a long-term integrative part of citizens’ engagement? They will have to agree as a government. One of the key steps to maintain a Participatory Budgets initiative over time is to legislate on this so that, regardless of the party that governs the municipality, the Participatory Budgeting processes keep running and a long-lasting prevalence is achieved. Porto Alegre (Brazil) is a very good example of this; they have been redistributing their resources at the municipal level for the last 25 years. Fundación Civio is part of the EU H2020 project openbudgets.eu, where it collaborates with 8 other partners around topics of fiscal transparency.  

Το Ίδρυμα Ανοικτής Γνώσης Ελλάδας στην 9η Διεθνή Μαθηματική Εβδομάδα 2017

- March 26, 2017 in Featured, Featured @en, News, OpenBudgets, red flags, δείκτες, κόκκινες σημαίες, Νέα

Το Ίδρυμα Ανοικτής Γνώσης Ελλάδας (OK Greece) έδωσε το «παρών» στην 9η Διεθνή Μαθηματική Εβδομάδα 2017 με δύο εισηγήσεις. Η 9η Διεθνής Μαθηματική Εβδομάδα διοργανώθηκε στη Θεσσαλονίκη από τις 15 έως τις 19 Μαρτίου 2017, στο συνεδριακό κέντρο Νικόλαος Γερμανός, στη HELEXPO, υπό την αιγίδα του Υπουργείου Παιδείας Έρευνας και Θρησκευμάτων και σε  συνεργασία με […]

Ανοιχτή πρόσκληση υποβολής προσφορών

- November 22, 2016 in Featured, Featured @en, News, OpenBudgets

Το OpenBudgets.eu έχει ξεκινήσει μια πρόσκληση υποβολής προσφορών για τη βελτίωση της διαφάνειας και του εκσυγχρονισμού των στοιχείων του προϋπολογισμού και των δαπανών των δήμων, των περιφερειών και ειδικών νομικών προσώπων. Οι επιτυχόντες υποψήφιοι φορείς θα έχουν έγκαιρη πρόσβαση σε καινοτόμο, τελευταίας τεχνολογίας λογισμικό δημοσιονομικών δεδομένων, με χαρακτηριστικά όπως η οπτικοποίηση και ανάλυση δεδομένων των […]

Ανοιχτή πρόσκληση υποβολής προσφορών

- November 22, 2016 in Featured, Featured @en, News, OpenBudgets

Το OpenBudgets.eu έχει ξεκινήσει μια πρόσκληση υποβολής προσφορών για τη βελτίωση της διαφάνειας και του εκσυγχρονισμού των στοιχείων του προϋπολογισμού και των δαπανών των δήμων, των περιφερειών και ειδικών νομικών προσώπων. Οι επιτυχόντες υποψήφιοι φορείς θα έχουν έγκαιρη πρόσβαση σε καινοτόμο, τελευταίας τεχνολογίας λογισμικό δημοσιονομικών δεδομένων, με χαρακτηριστικά όπως η οπτικοποίηση και ανάλυση δεδομένων των […]