E-democracy, public services and open data in Bulgaria

Our partner BAPCI - the Bulgarian association for promotion of citizens initiative - organized the first forum for e-democracy in Bulgaria, in Burgas, Bulgaria, on 29-30 May 2015.

Here the presentation slides :

bapci slides screenshot

Here the abstract of our presentation:

We believe that user participation is a key parameter to ensure that public services remain democratic, and by this, we mean: planned and operated for the common interest, and efficient with public resource.

Of course, citizens are already represented within public bodies by their representatives, that they elect every 5 years. Moreover, there are, in all European countries, institutional procedures of control, as State's control over local institutions, and courts of auditors, plus the surveillance made by media. But even all of these can be unsufficient to provide all the attention, and exerce enough pression over possible dysfunctions. So we think that direct user participation - we mean by the people that use a specific public service over this service - , is a supplementary tool to safeguard public interest.

Open data is a powerful way to engage citizens into user participation. Open data gives indeed citizens all the source information that allows them to control what public services are doing in detail, and to develop an expertise that can positively challenge what public institutions are doing.

Open data does not need high-tech resources to be implemented. A main change is that staff understand the need of sharing data within public offices, and then with the public. A local, low-tech approach is often a best way to start. This is more a work of communication and support.

User participation based on open data is particularly important in contexts where governments and public services are criticized for inefficiency or even corruption.

Read here the full contribution produced for this meeting.

Here a photo from the participants :


logo bapci

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