Smartphone apps will improve the quality of service provision in Ivano-Frankivsk

11 Jun 2013

The project “Development of Applications for Smartphones and Tablets with Information about the Municipality of Ivano-Frankivsk, Its Executive Authorities and Their Administrative Services”, aimed at promoting innovation for improving the quality of the administrative service provision and combating corruption, was launched by the municipality of Ivano-Frankivsk under UNDP support.

Today the world is witnessing a dramatic increase in the number of cell phone users. Smartphones, with their wide scope of applications (apps), are increasingly making our daily lives much more convenient and organized. Seven out of 10 mobile phones sold in Ukraine are smartphones, and according to TimeUA this market is on the rise; in the first quarter of 2013, the growth rate was 63%, which amounted to 2.1 billion UAH market volume. The logical question is: how can this emerging trend be utilized to tackle the challenges in the governmental system of public service provision?

To explore this opportunity the Municipality of Ivano-Frankivsk, with UNDP’s support, has launched a new project: “Development of Applications for Smartphones and Tablets with Information about the Municipality of Ivano-Frankivsk, Its Executive Authorities and Their Administrative Services”. Its ultimate goals are to promote citizen-centric public service, to raise accessibility and transparency of the administrative services provided by the city authorities, and to strengthen their anti-corruption efforts.

The project was initiated and will be implemented by the Department of Economic and Integration Development of the executive committee of Ivano-Frankivsk city council, which has partnered with UNDP Ukraine since 2004 and has jointly implemented over 100 projects and initiatives aimed at promoting community-based local development and strengthening local democracy and participatory decision-making.

“The municipality of  Ivano-Frankivsk is committed to transparency, openness and accountability to its citizens. We have already created a website to make the information about the administrative services more transparent and accessible to our citizens. Within this new UNDP-supported initiative, we aim to test a new way to engage with our citizens in developing new policies or assessing the impact of the existing ones – through mobile apps integrated into the municipality’s current of e-documents flow system” – says Bogdan Bilyk, head of the Department of Economic and Integration Development.

The total project budget of UAH 148’100 ($18,203) is shared equally by the municipality of Ivano-Frankivsk and the UNDP Regional Anti-Corruption Project. The project covers issues of capacity development for anti-corruption, supporting the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), raising awareness of corruption, and promoting innovation for transparency and accountability of the public sector, covering Eastern Europe and the CIS. It is managed by the UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre and aims to fight corruption in the countries of the region. Quality assurance and advisory support is rendered through the EU and UNDP project “Smart Practices for Oversight by Non-State Actors on Administrative Service Provision” (Ukraine).

Applications for smartphones and tablets will have information about: the city; local government authorities and services; communal enterprises; educational, sports, healthcare, culture and leisure facilities; city bus routes; hotels and restaurants; tourism; weather; etc. In addition to accessing information users will be able to contact the organizations via the apps or leave feedback about their services. The apps will be developed based on the operational systems iOS and Android and will be available free of charge through the AppStore and Google Play. The municipality will ensure integration with its current e-documents flow system and will appoint responsible officials in each relevant department to monitor follow-up actions envisaged by the current legislation.

This project will also serve as an innovative technical solution for citizens to report any cases of corruption they encounter while interacting with the municipal authorities. Overall, the new applications are expected to make the municipality and communal institutions’ work more transparent and open to citizens and visitors.