Digital transparency: how to understand that the government is working effectively

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Government meetings are open to the press and the public, its budgets can be reviewed by anyone, and its laws and decisions are open to discussion. All of this is the result of digital transparency.

The Independent Research Institute of Mongolia has developed a “digital transparency index” for government organizations and assessed the level of transparency in Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan.

There are two main ways to disseminate information. The first is traditional, when the government transfers information about its activities and statistics during meetings and seminars. That is, information is disseminated without prior request from citizens or interested parties.

The second is when all the processes taking place in the government can be tracked online, on the websites of ministries and on pages like eGov.

Digital transparency makes information open and accessible. In enhancing overall transparency, the use of modern information and communication technologies (ICT) is critical.

Hence follows the ideal form of e-government, which provides direct access to government affairs. E-government improves government efficiency and transparency at the internal and external levels, respectively.

How is digital transparency governed?

According to the Mongolian Independent Research Institute , the Digital Transparency Index (PPI) helps monitor transparency indicators. It is the only index that assesses the state of digital transparency of countries or organizations.

The PPI can be used to measure three main areas of transparency: enabling environment, organizational capacity, and information disclosure.

  • Favorable conditions. The region examines the general political environment within the country. Data for this area is collected at the national level. In doing so, all legal and political documents are considered.
  • Organizational capacity is determined by how much information government organizations disclose through digital channels.
  • The scope of digital disclosure is based on the volume and extent of disclosures on government websites.

The collection of data for the areas of transparency was carried out by analyzing the websites of 20 government organizations. Among them are the General Department of Taxation, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education and Science, the State Registration Service and others. The survey, on the basis of which the analysis was carried out, consisted of 25 questions and 46 points.

The main challenge in collecting data for the three areas was interviewing government officials from both countries. It took the organizations a very long time to respond to the official letters, and some letters were not sent to the right people.

As it turned out, not all civil servants have the competence to give a direct assessment on some issues. Particularly difficult was the indicator that says “sufficient level of targeted funding for digital transparency”.

The respondents reacted differently to digital transparency: some spoke more openly about their plans and current activities, while others seemed to be suspicious of the interviewers' intentions.

How transparent are the governments of Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan?

Mongolia has an average score in government digital transparency. Mongolia's composite PPI score is 0.621 out of 1. The index shows that the areas of enabling environment (0.657) and organizational capability (0.686) scored satisfactory, while the area of ​​digital disclosure scored low (0.520).

Kyrgyzstan also has an average score in the area of ​​digital transparency of government organizations. The summary score for the PPI of Kyrgyzstan is 0.506 out of 1 point. The index shows that enabling environments (0.590) and organizational capabilities (0.612) scored an average score, while digital disclosure scored a low score (0.315).

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