Our State, Our Data
The Czech public administration in the field of digitisation missed the boat and it is hardly catching up. According to last year’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), we ranked 22nd out of 28 in the area of public digital services among EU countries. We adapt slowly and clumsily to new technologies and trends. It is unable to guarantee a satisfactory standard of provided services, it is unable to communicate with its users or its organizational units. At present, there are many low-quality digital services in the Czech Republic that cannot be easily replaced. Public policies are created without quality data analysis. The low digital qualification of the state disproportionately complicates citizens’ lives in dealing with common situations. There has been a long-term failure to engage the public in improving the performance of public administration, although the advanced publishing of open data and the use of open-source software encourage this. This deprives the state not only of the potential of civic participation in the digital field, but also of the money and time to cope with the rapid advent of information technology.
Fortunately, the digitisation of public administration is getting to the centre of political discussions, which leads to positive legislative changes (legalisation of open data, adoption of principles of digitally friendly legislation, discussion about the “digital constitution”). But this is just the tip of the iceberg. We need to encourage the authorities to change their approach to actively share their data, experience and software solutions.
In the Our State, Our Data project, we support the activities of citizens who come with their own tools and replace or supplement non-existent or unfriendly digital services of the state. We are looking for ways in which active citizens with the necessary IT skills (often lacking on the part of the public administration) can help to develop public digital services.
We are the missing link between public administration, businesses and proactive citizens – creating the informal ground for their dialogue, which is an essential basis for building an open public administration. Digitisation should become a common platform for innovative solutions to old problems. Only in this way can the state offer citizens cheaper, better quality and more accessible services and reflect their needs in the 21st century.
We want the public administration to be able to use the enormous energy that people naturally put into positive influence on their environment through work with public information. Therefore, you will often hear us talking about a “responsive state” – a state that can accept and respond effectively to these impulses.
What we do:
- we provide grants enhancing the transparency of public administration and the exercise of the right to information;
- we create a common platform where politicians and officials can meet with proactive citizens, academics and entrepreneurs who are bonded by interest in the widely beneficial use of public administration data;
- we organise events such as Open Data Expo, hackathons, competition Společně otevíráme data (Together We Open Data) and more;
- we promote the idea of “digital participation” based on the opening of data by public institutions;
- we map applications based on open data to show how private activities can help solve public administration problems.
Impact of our work:
- we make public administration information available to citizens;
- we provide greater transparency in the management of public funds;
- we ensure greater transparency in the impact of public policies;
- we strive to weaken communication barriers between authorities and citizens and strengthen their cooperation;
- we strive to improve the Czech Republic’s position in international comparisons of openness and transparency of public administration;
- our collaboration with Jakub Nešetřil resulted in the creation of an initiative called Česko.Digital, which brings together IT professionals to solve social challenges digitally;
- more and more applications based on open data are being created (by 2018 as much as 33 of them have entered our competition);
- there is a growing interest in open data conferences and events (over 400 people attended our events by 2018).
The initiatives we support:
- they monitor the activities of public institutions and exert pressure to improve their work;
- they involve citizens in decision-making processes;
- they promote anti-corruption measures;
- the defend free access to information;
- they protect citizens in cases of abuse of state power;
- 33 applications that contribute to greater public participation help people in everyday life, bring transparency to the functioning of public administration, combine the use of open data and open source, highlight or solve a major social problem, or use data from the Prague Data Platform.