Muscat: The Information Technology Authority (ITA) organised the sixth Shurkum session as an open online discussion on Twitter and discussed how government entities can implement and achieve e-Participation through their social media accounts.
Community e-Participation is an international approach built on the cooperation between the government and the citizens through a range of Information and Communication Technologies to provide the best way of living for the citizens. It aims at taking and reacting to public opinions and feedback and reinforcing the community involvement in decision/making. Community eParticipation goes through 3 phases: informative and awareness, public consultation and decision/making.
Prior to the online session, ITA conducted an electronic survey to measure the government and public awareness of the implementation of community e-Participation and its positive role in promoting trust and transparency between government and public. The survey directed to government entities to identify a clear indicator for the implementation of e-Participation at the Sultanate, as it is the main indicator evaluated and measured by UN and international reports. 40 government entities responded to the survey.
The survey results indicate that 93 per cent of government entities have electronic channel for e-Participation, 78 per cent implement e-Participation through their social media accounts, and 68 per cent have developed e-Participation policy. The results also revealed that 78 per cent of government entities have a specialized team to interact a respond to the public comments and feedback received through various electronic communication channels.
Regarding the reasons behind some government entities not applying any kind of e-Participation method, either on their website or social media accounts, the survey results show that 67 per cent of government entities do not have specialized team to manage e-Participation channels and 33% of the respondent said that they do not consider e-Participation because they do not provide direct services to citizens; therefore, no need for establishing e-Participation channel.
This online session aims at emphasizing the importance of e-Participation in decision-making, creating common open discussion platform between the government and the public and raising the public awareness of e-Participation role in improving government performance in projects execution.
The open discussion targeted government entities, social media users and influencers and social media accounts or communities interested in IT field.
It is worth mentioning that ITA has started to implement Shurkum initiative in 2014 to reinforce community eParticipation and to take public opinions and feedback to improve its performance prior to initiating the implementation of some projects, thus enhancing public engagement and build more trust and transparency between ITA and different community segments. All Shurkum sessions were live-streamed online through various social media accounts.