Irekia Civil Participation and Accountability Website

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This case was submitted as part of the Call for Innovations, an annual partnership initiative between OPSI and the UAE Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Government Innovation (MBRCGI)

Governments through all over the world are struggling against disaffection from the people. Incapacity to participate in policy-making, it’s a common perception among citizens.
Citizens has the right not to participate, but administrations has to ensure the right to get involved in policy-making.
IREKIA was the first participation portal in Spanish & Basque languages and it has been made in Open Source Software and in its recent version offers and Government Program public tracking tool.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

We are attempting to address the problem of the deep-rooted perception of the difficulty in effectively participating in political life outside electoral processes. Citizens underutilized options such as popular legislative initiatives. Another need not covered by traditional processes was mere consultative participation. There was no open and bi-directional channel to gather citizen opinions on government issues.

Also, there are difficulties on accessing to participatory processes "in person". The configuration of working groups makes it difficult for citizens to freely access these processes, due to physical distance or impossibility of schedules. This face-to-face participation became a real "psychological" brake for certain groups, such as people with disabilities, people belonging to ethnic minorities, etc ...

The Government was aware that citizens want to know firsthand what is being done in politics and want to have the opportunity to express opinions on issues of their interest directly to those who decide. They wanted to do it in an "organized" manner, so that they can mutually support their proposals. For this reason, a web platform was developed under the name Irekia - Open Government (irekia means "open" in Euskara (Basque)), where the activity of the more than 200 people with public responsibilities in the Basque Government. Born on January 2010, one of the pioneers at European level, was aimed to deepen transparency in the administration.

Currently Irekia houses a complete file of each public office, its agenda, the staff under its charge, its budget, its public resolutions and the government program initiatives under its responsibility.

In the new version of Irekia, an accountability section of the Government Program has been included, in which each responsible public office returns to the public in plain language the degree of compliance of the initiatives and policies under its responsibility.

Irekia maintains digital meetings on social networks such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter between government officials and Internet users. In these digital meetings, the ministers and the president respond directly to questions with bigger support among citizens.

Objectives or goals of the innovation

1. Inclusion of groups normally removed from citizen participation.
2. Build a more informed citizen participation
3. Active listening to debates about the Basque political agenda.
4. Serve as leverage to continue leading the Spanish autonomous communities in the rankings as Transparency International
5. Internally strengthen the philosophy of accountability among government positions. Make it accessible to the public.

Irekia reports the government's activity to its more than one million visits per year, and also interacts in networks with nearly 100,000 profiles per year that share, answer and value their contents. (The Basque country has 2.2 million inhabitants)

There are also cases of implementation of Irekia software in America (Carchi region in Ecuador) as well as some more in Spain.

The Basque Country has become part of the local program of the Open Government Partnership, as a joint application of three Institutional levels. Irekia, because of its pioneering nature, has served as a medium of the value proposal that has been translated into the first Basque action plan presented last August.

Irekia must listen to young people to continue contributing public value. Before the end of 2018, it will have developed a participatory process focused on the citizens of the future to discover the keys to the new dialectic that the open government of the future should develop.

Irekia includes solutions aimed at the accessibility of groups with special needs, (news readers, automatic subtitling of videos, pages and newsletter in simple language ...) wants to deepen it by periodically developing Access-Clinics.

We believe that participation should take place as close as possible to the citizen and that technological tools are an important aid, but the main thing remains rooted in public-private collaboration, or "Auzolana" "common good" as the expression in Basque that encourages all the action of the Basque government

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

Innovation Reflections

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Year: 2010
Level of government: Regional/State government

Status:

  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

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