Open budgeting: Learning from the Open School Platform in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine

This case study looks at how open budgeting is used in Ukraine, focusing on the Open School Platform (OS) – an innovative online open budget website developed in 2016 by Fund UNION, a Ukrainian civil society organization. OS facilitates interaction and enables transparent communication between key education stakeholders, including local public authorities, schools, and parents. The study assesses how this open government approach is being applied to resolve the issue of non‐transparent school financing which undermines trust in educational planning.

 Download the case study

The study shows that the Open School Platform has contributed to the solution of three major issues:

  1. Greater clarity about school finances (e.g., sources and amounts of funding, justification of expenditures) leading to greater trust among the main stakeholders involved;
  2. Improved communication and collaboration between school personnel and local public authorities;
  3. More effective budgetary planning, comparable financial requests and reports enabling the production of the necessary information needed to plan ahead for upcoming cycles.

OS has contributed to improved trust among key stakeholders, improved communication and collaboration between school personnel and local public authorities, and more effective planning.

The case study also stresses that the use of ICT can lead to inequalities in poor rural communities with low levels of Internet access or computer literacy. This impact can however be mitigated through strategic communication and synergy of key stakeholders. Civil society organizations involved collaborate with local public authorities on three important tasks:

  • They inform citizens (in particular parents) and schools about the Open School Platform;
  • They provide technical training for the users of the system to improve their skills; and
  • NGOs or parents’ organizations engage other interested parents and show them how the Open School tool can be used for strategic purposes.

While demonstrating the many advantages of open government, the study also reveals that there are several prerequisites needed for open government initiatives to make an impact and be effective. These include: commitment from both those who open up the governmental process and those who are the intended participants and beneficiaries; as well as personally dedicated data agents, constructive participation of citizens, strategic communication by civil society organizations, and responsive authorities. National open data policies and legislation promoting transparency and citizen engagement provide the necessary basis for these prerequisites to succeed.

Selected recommendations

  1. Adopt an institutional framework for transparency and strong national open data policies
  2. Provide infrastructure and access to information in line with the six principles of the Open Data Charter
  3. Create a platform for communication and interaction among stakeholders, e.g. physical space, an online platform, and other handy and accessible technological solutions.
  4. Ensure a legal framework for citizen participation (e.g. regulations for public consultations, petitions, complaints)
  5. Build capacities (human resources, space, tools) and define procedures for responsiveness and answerability

Want to learn more?

To share these recommendations and discuss major findings of the case study with relevant stakeholders including researchers, decision-makers, public officials and civil society representatives, the IIEP hosted a launch webinar together with the Anti-Corruption Research and Education Centre (ACREC) on Tuesday, 1 June 2021. Download the flyer in English and in Ukranian. Watch the video of this event.

Launch case study open government Ukraine

 

About the Authors

Oksana Huss PhD, is a Research Fellow at Bologna University, Italy. Her research focus is on political corruption in hybrid regimes, use of ICTs for fighting corruption, and on open government in education. Huss has taught at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy as well as at the Kyiv School of Economics. She is a co-founder of ICRNetwork.org – the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network.

Oleksandra Keudel holds a PhD from the Berlin Graduate School for Global and Transregional Studies at the Free University of Berlin, Germany, She works as a research consultant for international and civil society organizations. Her major research interest is local citizen participation, as well as knowledge production in hybrid regimes.

This case study is one of seven case studies on open government initiatives commissioned by the IIEP in Colombia, India, Madagascar, Peru, Portugal, Ukraine and the USA. It forms part of the IIEP’s overarching research on ‘Open government: Learning from experience’.

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