Monitoring of the government bodies’ official websites as an efficient tool for public control

We would like to present a short review of our most ambitious project which involves our experts in all parts of Russia – monitoring of the official websites of public authorities and local governments. This is a story about how expert control improves the work of authorities.

Monitoring of Informational Openness of Top Russian Universities' Official Websites

The Freedom of Information Foundation has for the very first time monitored online informational openness for 100 top Russian universities. The governmental Statement #582 from Jul 10, 2013, approves information categories for mandatory online publication by higher schools. However, the websites monitored have appeared to contain only 32% of the necessary information. For instance, only 6 universities (of 100) provided free access to information on their principals' incomes for 2012-2013.

More detailed results of the monitoring cycle are presented at the Infometer portal (in Russian).


Regional Governmental Openness: Schedule Matched?

The Infometer portal has published results of 2014 openness monitoring for Russian regional executive government bodies, including audit of regional governments' websites and that of open data publication.

Governmental transparency and open data are key mechanisms for open governance. We have audited regional governments' official websites and regional open datasets for compliance with Russian legislation, expert requirements, and public needs.

Full analytical report – Infometer portal (in Russian)

Full audit results – Infometer monitoring system (in Russian)

Monitoring - 2014: Public Councils under Government Bodies

A number of government bodies in Russia have their own public councils that are now reconvened in accordance with new standards and regulations. With support of the Open Government, the Freedom of Information Foundation has audited official websites of (or official website sections dedicated to) public councils under federal executive government bodies.

The audit results are available at the Infometer portal (in Russian).

Annual Report for 2013

Reporting materials for 2013:

Information on the FIF activities in 2013 is also available in the Live Report format.

In Russian, there are additional materials available:

We Have the Right to Know: A Knowledge Base on Access to Governmental Information

The Freedom of Information Foundation launches a legal online resource on access to information, We Have the Right to Know.


Monitoring - 2014: Civil Registry Offices Are Open Online Not for Anyone

Supported by the RIA Novosti information agency, the Freedom of Information Foundation studied official websites of regional civil status registration offices (civil registry offices) for informational openness. The 83 websites studied appear to be open a bit more than a half, i.e. to 52%.

Tatyana Kozulina, FIF Researcher:

Today, it is easier for a citizen to come to a civil registry office to get information than to seek for it in the Internet. An official will explain anything so that a visitor can understand while most of the websites publish only normative acts one hardly can understand without special legal knowledge. Quite few civil registry offices' websites allow to fill an application form or a payment receipt form online thought such possibilities are is obviously demanded by the public. The civil registry offices are to make much more further effort if they wish their websites to help citizens to avoid long queues and to save financial and human resources for the offices themselves.

Full study report is available here (in Russian).

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We are always open to cooperation

The methodology developed by Freedom of information Foundation for monitoring official websites is applicable widely. It is convenient, efficient and can be used for research in various fields. We are interested in cooperation with different governmental and non-government entities in various countries in order to extend the monitoring practice, including possible joint comparative researches.