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Open Data – Open Opportunities
Commissioning Unit: Serbia
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 05/2020
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Serbia
Documents Related to overall Management Response:  
1. Recommendation:

In the first phase of the project the approach taken was to try to work with what already existed while increasing capacities, knowledge and demand on both the supply and demand sides. During the second phase of the project, the evaluator recommends that the project should be looking more at incubating and seeding. This means that the project is investing resources in multiple, concurrent small level pilots that may be based on successful approaches from within Serbia, or from external sources with similar contexts, and then to see which are able to be adapted to work in Serbia and within its political system. For this, the project could work closely with the UNDP Accelerator Lab.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/04/29]

The project “Open Data – Open Opportunities” is operationally closed on 31 March 2020.  However, the open data initiative will continue to be funded for 3 more years, by the UK Good Governance Fund. The new project is currently in the process of development, with possible launch in Q2 2020, or the beginning of Q3 2020. The new project will incorporate actions which follow this recommendation, with more support intended to be implemented on the local level, leading to small-scale impactful activities. The project will also establish closer collaboration with the UNDP Accelerator Lab.

When it comes to crisis invoked by the Corona virus, the threats and opportunities for the next project phase are:

  1. Threats: slower response and input from the implementing partner (from the governmental sector), due to the other COVID-19 related issues, redesign of activities to adjust them to the measures prescribed by the Government of Serbia (when and if needed).
  2. Opportunities: bigger intervention in the health sector (with the pandemic situation, public pressure for transparency and data accessibility has increased), more digital solutions to help COVID-19 suppression and as part of the recovery (resulting in more demand for data, and more support to data reuse).

Threats will be addressed in accordance with the country office response (as all other projects will have the similar threats), with more flexibility as the project has no need for field work.

Opportunities will be captured with ready-to-implement adjustments to the activities, in order to take them.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Implementation of the new project and continuous fundraising for the future
[Added: 2020/04/29]
GG Cluster – Competitiveness and Digital Governance Portfolio 2023/12 Initiated
Development of the new three-year project
[Added: 2020/04/29] [Last Updated: 2020/07/14]
GG Cluster – Competitiveness and Digital Governance Portfolio 2020/06 Completed new project developed History
2. Recommendation:

Continue to identify innovative and catalytic interventions

The project should continue its approach of identifying innovative and catalytic interventions. Indirectly, the project contributed to other priorities related to the innovation infrastructure and human capital by supporting transparent and digital governance and by assisting relevant national bodies in the data opening process. The evaluator recommends that this should be continued. UNDP should play a more strategic approach (as discussed below) to further guide the process. Institutions are quite slow in opening their data and this could be improved, for example, by signing an MOU between UNDP and the Government of Serbia that could be used by civil society when approaching institutions. The entire partnership building process should be more closely monitored and mentored by UNDP during the second phase of the project.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/04/29]

As already mentioned above (R1), UNDP is currently in the process of development of the new project to support further implementation of the open data initiative in Serbia.

Certainly, the above-mentioned recommendations of the independent evaluator will be taken into consideration in that process, including the activities of increased promotion of the legal framework for open data release and reuse and monitoring over the Law on e-Government implementation, backed by inputs of the investigative media and civil society.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Implementation of the new project including activities focused on increased promotion of the legal framework and monitoring over the Law implementation
[Added: 2020/04/29]
GG Cluster – Competitiveness and Digital Governance Portfolio 2023/12 Initiated
Development of the new three-year project
[Added: 2020/04/29] [Last Updated: 2020/07/14]
GG Cluster – Competitiveness and Digital Governance Portfolio 2020/06 Completed new project developed History
3. Recommendation:

Further expansion of partnership base

 

 

The evaluator recommends that the partnership base should be continually expanded, but that in the second phase of the project implementation, the project should find a balance between the local and central level. While the local level tends to be more responsive to opening data and is often able to respond in a more timely and efficient manner, the project should not overlook the importance of the central level institutions, and this should be better balanced by the project. An additional focus during the second phase should also be to engage more with academia and in particular research and development units, which although intended during the first phase, did not particularly materialise.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/04/29]

Apart from the increased level of activities at the local level, the project will continue to work on the national level, with deeper intervention in the selected sector (to be decided), and ongoing support for open data release and support with to other national stakeholders showing interest in the project/recognized as the valuable partners. Also, the project will scale up the cooperation with academia, as the independent evaluator recommended, through activities of the Open Data Hub (School of Data – students and young researchers to be included as beneficiaries, grants, and other tailor-made activities).  

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Implementation of the new project with activities focused both on the national and the local level, and active cooperation with the academia.
[Added: 2020/04/29]
GG Cluster – Competitiveness and Digital Governance Portfolio 2023/12 Initiated
Development of the new three-year project
[Added: 2020/04/29] [Last Updated: 2020/07/14]
GG Cluster – Competitiveness and Digital Governance Portfolio 2020/06 Completed new project developed History
4. Recommendation:

Increase demand on both supply and demand side

The project should continue to increase demand for open data through raising awareness and visibility and to generate a bottom-up demand for more data. There should be a more strategic focus on high value data and the project should work on both sides of the human development paradigm to aim for a greater release of high value data. In order to do this, the project should develop criteria for the identification and selection of data that needs to be open and that which would have the greatest impact in different sectors. The second phase of the project could also identify new ways of involving even more citizens in the activities so they can directly participate either in collecting or operating with open data. During the first phase, the data that was opened had a bigger impact on society and the environment than on the economy. In the future, data that is open could have more influence on the economy. The possibility of developing user applications on an increasing number of open data sets will enable citizens to be better informed for different needs. Thus it is recommended that UNDP consider the following for the second phase:

• Better communication with all stakeholders (public sector, academia, civil society, companies, citizens, IT) in order to define the necessary data sets to be opened based on objective criteria as mentioned above - organizing focus groups, conducting research, etc.;

• Define an Advisory Board of the project, which should consist of a maximum of 10 persons with expertise in one of the open data fields (representatives of state bodies, academia, civil society, IT community) to steer and guide the process in a more strategic manner;

• Monitoring and reporting regularly on the use of open data sets available on the National Portal.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/04/29]

UNDP envisages more inclusive process in the future project. The community of users will be engaged through Open Data Hub (to be established in the next project), which will host meetups, focus groups and various other activities. Open Data Working Group will be redesigned in order to act more as a strategic drive in the process of the open data release. Use of open data sets will be followed through a campaign inviting users to promote their data-driven solutions and include them in “examples of usage” section on the National Open Data Portal, however systematic monitoring is not applicable since the core definition of open data includes free use and download without the condition to report usage (only attribution to the source is needed).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Implementation of the new project including activities focused on more inclusion and demand-driven approach
[Added: 2020/04/29]
GG Cluster – Competitiveness and Digital Governance Portfolio 2023/12 Initiated
Development of the new three-year project
[Added: 2020/04/29] [Last Updated: 2020/07/14]
GG Cluster – Competitiveness and Digital Governance Portfolio 2020/06 Completed new project developed History
5. Recommendation:

Indicators to capture behavioural change

As noted by the evaluator above, the first phase of the project relied on measuring success against quantitative indicators at the output/activity level, which did not sufficiently capture behavioural change. A greater use of qualitative indicators that measure perceptions and behaviours at the outcome level, as opposed to quantitative indicators that measure activities at the output level, will likely better capture project progress and results, as well as contributions towards the outcomes and impact. These will also allow for capturing the voices of people, which cannot be captured through quantitative indicators, and behavioural changes among institutions and the public related to the release and usage of open data.  

Management Response: [Added: 2020/04/29]

In the process of development of the next project, UNDP will consider including indicators which can capture behavioural change, taking into consideration the possibility to measure and track such indicators (which is often limited). UNDP will consult indicators developed in the scope of the Open Data Impact Assessment study (published in 2019).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Implementation of the new project and regular tracking of the progress towards targets set in the Project Document
[Added: 2020/04/29]
GG Cluster – Competitiveness and Digital Governance Portfolio 2023/12 Initiated
Development of the new three-year project (including new indicators)
[Added: 2020/04/29] [Last Updated: 2020/07/14]
GG Cluster – Competitiveness and Digital Governance Portfolio 2020/06 Completed new project developed History

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