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Open data for smart decision making at the local level

Open data for smart decision-making at the local level "is the topic of the conference which marked the Open Data Week in Kragujevac.

The gathering organized by the ICT Cluster of Central Serbia, Data Cloud Technology and eKG InfoData, was attended by numerous IT experts, representatives of universities, state and city institutions and companies and Assistant Director of the Office for IT and eGovernment Dragana Becic, Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and personal data protection, Milan Marinović and digital advisor at UNDP, Slobodan Marković. On behalf of the city of Kragujevac, Sanja Tucakovic, a member of the City Council for Local Self-Government, addressed the audience, reminding that in 2020, Kragujevac won the title of Champion of Open Data at the local level, which confirmed that it is not only a city of data and information technology. and the city of open data.

Open data are very important for increasing the participation of citizens in decision-making, which leads to an improvement in the quality of their lives, which further affects the quality of work of city administrations, local companies and the economy. Problems in this area are the lack of information technologies, data entry into the system, issuing documents in electronic form, but if we look at the current time compared to the period two, five or 10 years ago, the progress is great, said Tucakovic. She used this opportunity to present the project of making personal cards of local communities on the territory of the city of Kragujevac. They will contain data on what has been done, how much financial resources have been invested in infrastructure works, works on facilities, public transport for each local community, then data on the area, the number of inhabitants. By comparing them, we can come to the conclusion of how much we have invested in relation to the number of inhabitants or area, and thus explain to the citizens why we work in one and not in another local community. That way, Sanja Tucakovic expressed hope, we will have significantly fewer problems and be able to manage works and investments.

The term open data was first mentioned in 2017, and in four years the Office for IT and eGovernment worked, among other things, to explain what open data is, how it is used and applied for creating applications, reminded the Assistant Director of the Office for IT and eGovernment Dragana Bećić and added that the city of Kragujevac was always ready for cooperation and open to the realization of the ideas of the Office. In addition to open data, we are entering the world of data through a small door. The data are important for every institution, institution, unit of local self-government, which is why we want to educate employees to use them and make smart decisions, in order to, said Bećić, improve the work of the administration and thus the lives of citizens.

The emphasis is no longer on which way to get the requested information, but to get to what interests you with one or two clicks, said the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, Milan Marinovic. He emphasized that as much open data on the work of government bodies at all levels is needed, and on the other hand, the protection of personal data is needed, which should not be present in open data, or should be present, but to a lesser extent. In the future, we need to find a measure in which everyone who is interested will be able to get the requested data without endangering our privacy, said Marinović.

State institutions produce a large amount of data that is not only useful to them, but also to the great benefit of citizens. One of such examples is public transport in Kragujevac, because the competent company has data on stations and timetables. When such information is put in an open format and made available to everyone, you can easily find the way from point A to point B with the help of maps. This makes it obvious that the data is of great value, explained Slobodan Markovic, digital advisor at UNDP. The first national open data portals were launched in 2009 in the United States and in 2010 in Britain. In Serbia, the opening of data began in 2014 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Program. With the financial support of the United Kingdom and the establishment of the Office for IT and eGovernment, the real momentum begins in 2017. A legal framework has been enacted that allows institutions to publish data, supported state institutions for opening the first data sets and scientific research, technological and state communities that will use them. The city of Kragujevac is an excellent example that not only opened the data, but also formed the institution eKG InfoData to manage that data and further develop services. Opening data is just the beginning, it requires infrastructure, Markovic said, not only for secure storage like the Data Center. We need experts capable of processing data as well as the support of local self-government in order to ensure the quality of data, on the basis of which decisions will be able to be made. It is a process that requires a large number of people, new knowledge and great support, Markovic said.

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