Volume XVI, Issue 2/2018 (November)
E-ISSUE (Published: 19 November 2018)
1. The Use of Facebook in the Slovenian Local Self-Government: Empirical Evidence
Tina Jukić, Blaž Svete
The paper presents a contribution to the rapidly growing field of social networks usage in public administration organizations. Despite the increasing volume of research in this field, there is a lack of detailed empirical evidence. To address the issue, we aim here at comprehensive empirical analysis of the usage of Facebook as the most popular social networking site among Slovenian municipalities. The methodology of research is based on 21 indicators measuring usage, engagement, multichannel features, multi-media content, and the existence of a social networks usage strategy. The measurement has been performed in each of the 212 Slovenian municipalities. Their Facebook interaction has been observed in a period of six months, from November 2015 to May 2016. The analysis results reveal that only 36% of the Slovenian municipalities were present on Facebook in 2016, with almost a quarter having a zero interaction rate on their Facebook pages/profiles in the observed six-month period. In particular, one-way interaction was recorded on municipal Facebook pages, leaving considerable room for improvement as regards the usage of Facebook as a social network with the highest potential of reach and engagement in terms of number of its users. The results are useful for information and benchmarking purposes for Slovenian and foreign municipal managers.
2. Open Government, Social Media and Western Balkan Countries
Mirela Mabić, Dražena Gašpar
This article analyses the presence and activity on the field of social media in the countries that belonged to the same state in the past: Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH), Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – these named as Western Balkan Countries (WBCs) – and, Slovenia and Croatia as EU member states. The authors have analysed the official profiles of the respective countries on social media and calculated the Facebook Assessment Index (FAI) for WBCs, and Croatia and Slovenia as a benchmark. The results show that Twitter and Facebook are the most used social media. In WBCs group, the FAI index could not be calculated for BIH and Serbia, while the other two countries had high index values. Benchmark countries have lower values but they are significantly highlighted by individual sub-indices. The governments of the researched countries mostly publish promotional information about their work. Consequently, they have a relatively small number of friends/followers/subscribers and comments/shares/likes on social media. Therefore, these countries fail to use the full potential of social media to increase visibility and transparency of their work and to ensure communication channel for idea and information exchange between government and citizens, making the public policies design more inclusive and increasing trust between government and citizens. The findings provide an insight into the nature of activity on social media in WBCs. While FAI scores show that WBCs do not lag far behind established benchmarks, the research proves that some of the weights proposed in the literature and used in the calculation of FAI index are too simplified to adequately evaluate posts on the Facebook pages. Hence, this article contributes above all to the awareness regarding further potentials and the interdisciplinary aspects of stately social media usage, in theory and practice alike.
3. Consumer Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) – A Mechanism for Innovative E-governance in EU
Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) could be the first important step towards adjusting the public Administration to the requirements of the digital era by introducing new e-disputes. In this context, this article examines the significance of the emergence of consumer ODR systems in EU as a new mechanism for resolving disputes, online ones included. It takes a theoretical research approach to evaluate the nature and scope of ODR development in the emerging field of e-governance and combine it with a comparative data analysis to identify the core positive and negative challenges in the use of ODR. Some EU member states have already adopted ODR as a tool for digital e-government and others are still in the period of its implementation. ODR has already proved effective resolution for at least some disputes (e.g. cross-border disputes), but unfortunately has not yet reached its full potential. The lack of relevant ODR case law is another issue that contributes to only gradual usage of ODR systems and their efficiency. Key findings are formulated as a list of challenges that EU has to face for efficient use of ODR and it as an important part within innovative European e-governance in the future.
4. Making Transparency Work: Experiences from the Evaluation of the Hamburg Transparency Law
Christoph E. Mueller, Bettina Engewald
Freedom of information acts (FOIA) aim to improve the public’s opportunities to access official information from public authorities and hence to increase the level of transparency. Thus, it is important to know whether and to what degree the effects intended by establishing FOIAs are achieved and how their implementation could be improved. Hence, this article presents the evaluation of the Hamburg Transparency Law (HmbTG)– Germany’s first FOIA that binds authorities to disclose government information proactively. The purpose of the paper is to provide a valuable example of how evaluating FOIA might produce useful information for policymakers and public authorities. The analysis results, based on a mixed set of methods (i.e. standardised surveys, statistical secondary data, qualitative expert interviews, and criteria-driven document analysis), lead to the conclusion that the HmbTG was very effective in providing the direct access. On the other hand, it was found that strategies for implementing the law varied considerably between authorities, yet proactive disclosure was overall implemented effectively. Moreover, this law shows some weaknesses to be improved in the future. Besides providing practitioners with valuable insights into how a transparency law may be implemented, the evaluation of the HmbTG also provides researchers with ideas how FOIA evaluation might be conducted comprehensively.
5. The (Draft) European Charter of the Commons – Between Opportunities and Challenges
The concept of ownership, which (in Italy and similarly in other European systems) is still essentially based on private law rules, is currently not sufficient to ensure the satisfaction of the general interest in an increasingly wide access to scarce resources, in the perspective of equality and fairness on the field. At the same time, strong criticism has been expressed about the frequent phenomenon of privatisation of originally public assets and resources. The threats to the pursuit of the public benefit posed by privatisation may be tackled by constructing a new legal framework, aimed to protect the right of the populations to be involved not only in the use, but also in the management of the commons. An expression of this idea is the draft European Charter of the Commons, which is the result of a collective brain-storming by a group of scholars rather than a source of law. Its non-normative nature has allowed its authors to express particularly ‘brave’ positions. This article takes the Charter as a starting point to focus on some open issues. The main proposal concerns the possible exploitation of new participatory models for the involvement of communities of users in the strategic decisions on the management of the commons. In such perspective, a brief reference to the Italian legal system is made. In Italy, there are no systemic rules about the commons, but some procedures to involve the interested local communities in the strategic choices have been experimented, which can serve as an illustration also for other
6. The Service of Documents in Administrative Procedural Law – A Comparative Analysis
This article presents a comparative and empirical analysis of the service or the delivery of documents in procedures, as the key procedural action to constitute legal effects in legal relationships. In Slovenia, service is largely defined by the three main procedural laws – the General Administrative Procedure Act, the Criminal Procedure Act, and the Contentious Civil Procedure Act. These relate to different types and specifics of relationships; for instance, in administrative proceedings, the public interest prevails over private ones. The presented research, applying predominantly normative and comparative methods and analysis of case law, aims to show the importance of the specificity of the different areas and of the rules of service in different proceedings. The results of the research suggest that in certain cases service should be regulated in a uniform manner. Yet the specific aims of various legal relations require individual solutions. Thus, the article opens up grounds for future comparative research and practical regulatory improvements.
7. The Impact of the Public Procurement Control System on the Hungarian Public Administration
Györgyi Nyikos, Gábor Soós
The complexity of public procurement and the related controls are a significant issue that public authorities are facing in Hungary. The “fear” of being controlled by state authorities and EU auditors is affecting decisions in public procurement. However, research on the effects of such a system is largely absent. The purpose of the article is to explore the functioning of the control system related to EU funded public procurements and to examine its actual and potential impact on the purchases of public authorities. The method is first an introduction of the features of the control system and then the analysis of data from the relevant bodies in order to see the effect of controls and possible difficulties with the system. The results show that despite the seemingly positive impact on the regularity of procedures, the interference in the decisions of public authorities and the delays caused are problematic. It is therefore suggested that the Hungarian government should consider streamlining the control process such as through checks based on samples or focusing on the most risky procedures. The research is the first academic analysis of data related to public procurement control in Hungary, yet it can already inspire the Hungarian and other governments to review the effectiveness of such procedures and to reduce administrative burdens for public authorities as much as possible.
8. Analysis of Taxation of Property in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Lejla Lazović-Pita, Amina Močević
The purpose of this paper is fill in the literature gap and to analyse taxation of property in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH). By using IMF and OECD methodology defined under taxes on property, our research tries to compare taxes on property in two BIH entities to the international practice. The results are twofold: firstly, inconsistencies to international classification of taxes on property in BIH are identified and secondly, the taxation of property differs in two BIH entities (RS and FBIH). We find that three different types of property taxes are applied –tax on immovable property in RS and real estate transfer tax and so called tax on property in FBIH. We also find that identified differences have an effect on the size and share of revenues from property taxes in both entities which affect local communities and their revenues. Hence, we focus on property taxes in FBIH since they are under cantonal jurisdiction. The research shows that most revenues from property taxes in FBIH are collected in Sarajevo Canton. In fact, most property tax revenues in Sarajevo Canton come from real estate transfer tax revenues and are collected in four municipalities forming the City of Sarajevo. Bearing in mind lack of reliable long term data in both BIH entities related to taxation of property, we conclude with a few policy recommendations and suggestions for future FBIH property related reforms which should in turn simplify the process of property taxation in FBIH and improve the position of local communities in FBIH.
9. Can Top Down Participatory Budgeting Work? The Case of Polish Community Fund
Dawid Sześciło, Bartosz Wilk
The article addresses the participatory budgeting (PB), which is one of the most recognised governance innovations of recent decades. This global phenomenon represents in practice a shift towards participatory and collaborative management of public resources at the local level. The purpose of this article is to determine when top down approach to PB might be welcomed, taking into account the characteristics of PB schemes all around the world that they emerged as local initiatives, instigated either by civil society groups or local governments. The analysis is based on the description of the PB example as introduced via country-wide legislation, exhaustively regulating PB procedure. The article examines Polish experience in the field of functioning top down approach to PB. It demonstrates that top down PB can effectively work, if it is accompanied with significant incentives and grants, as well as the extensive autonomy and flexibility of local communities. Polish experience suggests that such an initiative might be relatively successful, yet there is a number of conditions that has to be met in order to ensure the dissemination of legislative model of participatory budgeting. The results have practical implications to central government institutions that consider introduction of some legislative framework for participatory budgeting at the local level. The originality of the research is in the analysis of one of successful stories of the PB introduced via country-wide legislation, and determining when this approach can work, also in other countries.
10. The Analysis of E-Government Services Adoption and Use in Slovenian Information Society between 2014 and 2017
With the increasing role of information and communication technology (ICT) in the society, ICT’s role is gaining importance in the aspect of provision and use of the public sector services for the citizens. Especially in the European Union different activities have been conducted through the years to promote ICT use in the society. It has been mainly based on the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE), which underlines the key role of ICT in the efforts to achieve its strategic objectives. Slovenia as an EU member state follows these directions but positions itself among less successful states in the EU. The well-known European Digital Economy and Society Index ranks Slovenia to the lower half of member states indicating possibilities for improvement. Although much can be said and done about the service-providers side this paper focuses on the users’ side and especially on their digital inequality. The lack of studies in the area of digital inequality and online government services adoption and use is the main motivation for this research. The research uses the data provided by Slovenian annual survey Use of Information and Communication Technology in Households and by Individuals of the last four years. The analysis of this data, presented in the paper, exhibits that changes for the better are detected in Slovenian society, but the situation in public-sector services is not optima. The results demonstrate the existence of digital inequality considering the income level of households and education level of individual users. The synthesis of the data demonstrates that the Slovenian government and its ministries should consider adding tangible actions to the already set strategies if the country wants to catch up with the leading countries of the EU and achieve goals, set by the DAE.