Seven new systems for communication and feedback between Moscow residents and the city authorities started up in 2011 as part of the Open Government programme. Their purpose was to resolve three main issues: Make city services more accessible to people and improve their quality (My Documents government services provision centres and government services portal); provide residents with quality information that is useful and essential for life in Moscow (Open Data portal and the Moscow city official site mos.ru); and create conditions for city residents to play an active and productive role in the city’s management.
People now have the tools that they need to get swift solutions to various problems in city life and monitor the quality of city service providers (the Our City portal), evaluate projects proposed by the city authorities (Active Citizen system), and put forward their own ideas (crowdsourcing).
Speaking of the new projects opened through the Open Government programme, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin noted their effectiveness. “This is particularly the case of the My Documents centres, which get around 70,000 users every day,” he said. “The provision of government and municipal services is now a faster and more convenient process. We have the electronic government services portal, with nearly half of all Moscow residents now registered.” Mr Sobyanin noted that there was a 50 percent increase in the number of people registering on the Active Citizen portal last year alone.
“I must note as well the work of the Our City portal, which has helped to solve around one million problems of different kinds. Hundreds of thousands of active Muscovites have registered on this site, which helps us to manage the city and keep it in order,” Mr Sobyanin said.
Deputy Mayor of Moscow in the Moscow City Government Anastasia Rakova spoke about the implementation of the Open Government programme in Moscow in 2015 and tasks for 2016.
City services portal
The government services portal for Moscow (pgu.mos.ru) offers 148 different electronic services, of which 22 opened in 2015.
“To be honest, no one expected, not even we ourselves, that in just five years, the share of services provided online would increase to 50 percent,” Ms Rakova said. “But this is the case today and we now have half of all of the adult population of Moscow registered on the government services portal.”
The number of registered portal users has reached 5.3 million, with one in two Muscovites using the portal to obtain government services. Last year, users made more than 85 million requests.
Work will continue to increase the number of services available in 2016 and make the provision of some types of services available only in the online format. Only the online format will be used primarily for services relevant for the business sector, in areas such as transport, land and property relations, construction, and outdoor advertising. Today thirty-one services are available in online format only.
“Online services are the best kind of technology solution in that they reduce costs for both businesses and the authorities,” Ms Rakova said.
Online services also have the benefit of excluding personal contact between applicants and officials and thus considerably reduce corruption risks.
Among services that will start being provided online only in 2016 are the approval of urban development plans for land plots, orders for implementing excavation work, and granting or cancelling permits for setting up outdoor advertising supports.
“As for services for private individuals, the task is somewhat different,” Ms Rakova said. “We introduced an online format for the services that are in highest demand. Of the 85 million requests we get each year, the highest demand from city residents concerns issues such as getting appointment with a doctor at a local medical centre, sending numbers from various meters and counters, and many other issues on which people used to waste a lot of time. Now this all takes no more than 3-5 minutes.”
My Documents government services centres
As of March 2016, a total of 122 My Documents centres providing government services operated in Moscow. They provide 165 types of services and issue over 200 types of documents from 16 city and nine federal agencies (including property rights registration, migration and tax registration, social and housing issues, education, civil status registration, technical registration and other forms of registration).
Ninety-seven percent of services are available regardless of the applicant’s home address.
Every day over 70,000 people visit these service centres in Moscow. In 2015, the number of applications exceeded 21 million. My Documents centres have become the only service provider, replacing 1,200 separate government representative offices that operated in Moscow before 2011.
The average waiting time is three minutes, but if it exceeds 15 minutes, the visitor is offered free coffee. Today only one in 2,000 visitors has to wait more than 15 minutes for a specialist. In all, one in 177 visitors has to wait over 15 minutes if he/she applies for several services available at My Documents centres.
Plans for 2016 include completing the programme to set up the government services centres. Five more local centres will open by the end of the year in Troitsk, and the Sokolniki, Yasenevo, Dorogomilovo and Golovinsky districts. Three operating centres (Yuzhnoportovy, Krylatskoye and Kosino-Ukhtomsky) will move to new, more comfortable offices.
My Documents centres will operate in all 125 city districts and in the Troitsky and Novomoskovsky administrative area by the end of the year.
In addition, a series of projects will be launched in My Documents centres in 2016.
New network of registry offices
Since 1 March, 50 My Documents centres have been registering births, deaths and fatherhood (previously, only 29 centres could do that). As of 1 July, such registration certificates will be issued at all My Documents centres from 8 am until 8 pm every day.
To make the process of registering non-contributory pensions more convenient, the My Documents centre at Obruchevsky district launched a joint project with the Pension Fund on 28 March to facilitate the provision of with two types of services:
— accepting applications for non-contributory pensions and state pension provision;
— accepting applications for social benefit payments to civil aviation pilots and additional monthly pension payments for certain categories of retired coal mining industry workers.
From 1 October, such services will be available at all My Documents centres in Moscow.
“The Pension Fund has authorised us to receive pension applications and this function will be completely transferred to our multifunctional centres by the end of the year,” Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova said.
Flagship offices network
Flagship offices for government services provision will open in Moscow at the most convenient transport hubs. The offices will provide a wide range of services, including additional customer services.
“We are moving on and launching an additional programme to set up flagship multifunctional service centres that will be located at large transport hubs in each district, following your instructions,” the deputy mayor said. “They will offer extra services, a wider range, and also additional services to make it convenient for people.”
In particular, the offices will accept tax declarations, provide information on tax deductions and also issue driving licences for self-propelled vehicles and other machinery, issue taxpayer registration numbers, register small-size vessels and issue vessel licenses.
Extra services at flagship offices will include a notary office, a bank branch, legal consultations, minor repairs, a mini-café, a co-working zone for lectures, seminars, meetings with residents, additional lessons and master classes.
Our City portal
More than 790,000 people have been registered on the Our City portal, which opened 185 areas of focus for complaints. In 2015, 34 new areas launched. Website users can both raise the issue, and approve or argue against its solution.
A volunteer Our City movement is now operating in the city, involving 3,300 volunteers who conduct regular public checks into how problems are solved in practice, especially when the solution fails to meet good quality standards (21,000 volunteer checks have been conducted).
Over 1 million city problems have been addressed since the Our City portal was launched.
“People in Moscow have good trust in this project. Luckily, our residents do not only tackle their own specific problems – of their houses and courtyards – but also get involved in volunteering and basically do the job of quality controllers for free,” Ms Rakova said.
The crowd.mos.ru crowdsourcing platform, established in 2014, hosted nine projects. They involved 120,000 users and collected 1,600 plus ideas and proposals, of which 278 have been implemented.
Our crowdsourcing achievements come as follows:
1) over 40 new themes have been opened on the Our City website and a volunteer movement launched;
2) nine new bus routes have been established;
3) government service, children’s recreation and librarianship standards have been elaborated;
4) formative patterns for the governing councils of educational establishments of various types have been drawn up;
5) environmental efforts have been road-mapped to make part of the Moscow environmental strategy up to 2030;
6) new standards of children’s and adults’ city outpatient clinics have been drawn up.
“My Clinic was one of the most ambitious crowdsourcing projects in the world. The project, aimed to improve outpatient clinics, involved 58,000 Muscovites. A short-term programme was drawn proceeding from their proposals,” the Deputy Mayor said.
The online crowdsourcing platform will be thoroughly updated. “This year’s innovation envisages a new, upgraded Internet platform that provides users great opportunities to take part in discussions, advance their initiatives, etc. We have analysed the world practice to see that no other city possesses a platform to match it. I think we will soon set the standards in this field,” Ms Rakova said.
The number of users of the Active Citizen system of online referendums increased by 50 percent last year to the current 1.3 million. The number of voting has exceeded 1,500 since the project launched. Over 43 million opinions have been voiced and 600 plus resolutions implemented.
The 2015 referendums brought the following results:
— approval of children’s recreation and city clinic standards;
— the prohibition of alcoholic energizing drinks;
— limitations on residential house repair schedules through amendments to the law On the Maintenance of Peace and Quiet, and Nighttime Silence in Moscow;
— the approval of comprehensive improvement plans for the Moscow State University campus and the Tushino airfield.
Active Citizen ballots concern local issues – for the most part, specific districts, streets or courtyards. Particularly, the local votes of 2015 set the schedule for 109 district skating rinks, determined the themes for hobby circles at 200 district cultural and fitness centres, set the standards for tending lawns and cleaning up fallen leaves in autumn for 20,000-plus courtyards, and approved district improvement programmes envisaging over 300 playgrounds, gyms, recreational spots and dog runs to be built in courtyards. Voters determined their design and location.
“Though these ballots involve only 100, 200 or 300 voters, they reflect the entire range of Muscovites’ opinions and so are vitally important,” Ms Rakova said.
Some innovations have been made in the system – specifically, reports about the number of voters and their opinions are updated every 10 minutes to allow online monitoring, as introduced in September 2015. Personal codes allow users to check if their votes have been registered on a procedure introduced in November, and a dispute settlement verifying centre was opened in December.
Open Data portal
The data.mos.ru open data portal carries exhaustive and reliable information about municipal infrastructure projects, which are downloadable for mobile apps. All told, the portal carries 583 thematic data sets, 128 of which have been translated into English. Yandex.Taxi, Yandex.Transport and other apps and services are based on these open data.
Another 300 data sets will be translated into English this year. It is also intended to open more data on environmental monitoring and update traditional summer information sets on recreation in Moscow.
Official Moscow website
A new version of the mos.ru official Moscow website launched in 2015. Its new rubric, City Councillor instructs users how to address 330 plus everyday problems, such as booking a doctor’s appointment, car parking payments, or water and electricity meter reading.
The website newsletter is the largest and the most reliable information source about events sponsored or promoted by the Moscow Government.
The site restart dramatically increased its traffic and citation by the media and news aggregators. The Moscow Government intends to continue in 2016 the work for its integrated cyberspace, including the integration of the mos.ru website with the municipal services portal and other online projects.