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Beginning of Working Meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Government Chief of Staff Sergei Sobyanin and Minister of Telecommunications and Mass Communications Igor Shchegolev

April 24, 2009, Zavidovo, Tver Region

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Colleagues, we met at the Council for Development of Information Society and talked about poor performance of electronic government in our country. For the moment, we do not have this form of government, or it is not yet in proper use. So we need to put it operation, because electronic government is being used by all developed nations, and we must follow suit.

Following the Council meeting, I gave some instructions on the subject, and now I would like to listen to your reports.

Deputy Prime Minister and Government Chief of Staff Sergei Sobyanin: Mr Medvedev, I would like to begin by submitting a report on personal data protection. In accordance with the law of 2007, we must monitor and protect personal data and make yearly reports. This is the first report of this kind.

In the last year, a personal data operators register has been expanded to include entries on 50 thousand entities, although this work is still in the initial phase, as the number of such entities is much greater. We have conducted the first investigations following complaints by both individuals and legal entities, several dozen such cases have been brought to completion, including 22 administrative cases.

In essence, all work along these lines was aimed at helping government authorities, who maintain their own databases, to bring their operation into compliance with the federal law. This work is underway, although it is difficult, systemic, and requires further legal and organisational regulation.

Dmitry Medvedev: Very well. This work needs to continue.

Sergei Sobyanin: As you requested at the Council for Development of Information Society, the government drafted a plan of action to develop an electronic government system, and the plan was approved just days after the Council meeting.

Within this plan, we have designated several directions to work in. The first is to develop information systems, information services, and inquiry systems within agencies. The second is developing an interdepartmental electronic paperwork system and interdepartmental electronic cooperation. The third is creating a vertically integrated automated state planning and monitoring system. And the fourth, and perhaps most important, is providing electronic government services to citizens.

We have advanced quite a lot on the first subject. Most agencies have their corporate database and information systems and internet sites. However, they still need to be developed further.

Dmitry Medvedev: Yesterday, I looked at some comments, including those discussing my video blog on LiveJournal, and here is what I noticed. They wrote, “It is good that you have begun to work on this.” Some agencies have very good sites that are easy to use and provide explicit information. The Federal Taxation Service is often cited as a good example because they have maintained their website for a long time by now and have ensured its good quality. However, there are comments saying other government agencies’ sites are awful and impossible to understand and navigate, citing the Federal Migration Service as an example. This is an issue that people pay a lot of attention to, so we must address it properly.

Sergei Sobyanin: Absolutely, that is why we have developed a system for providing information support to individuals and entities in communicating with government bodies. For the government agencies information and database systems, we have set common guidelines and requirements to websites and other communication formats.

As for providing electronic services, in the first quarter of this year 177 public centres supplying legal information were set and further 300 public centres will start operating before the year end.

Second. We have put together a list of regulatory acts meant to regulate electronic services by government and municipal authorities, which is important since it is the foundation of our planned regulatory work.

The government administrative commission has drafted and reviewed a list of about fifty priority government services to be rendered electronically. This is the main line of work by the agencies and the government administrative commission.

Dmitry Medvedev: De you refer to the main services that people typically require?

Sergei Sobyanin: Yes, the most common services, which will be rendered electronically in the near future.

As for interdepartmental electronic paperwork, we have already forbidden departmental documents to be sent by the Government in paper form.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thus we are already saving some paper.

Sergei Sobyanin: The first phase of the transfer to electronic paperwork is in place and operation with all documents from the Government being forwarded to agencies and ministries electronically.

The second phase will include electronic interaction, not just paperwork, but interaction among agencies. This is clearly a more difficult task, but we intend to accomplish it by the end of 2010. We make practical efforts which follow a strict timeline, and the end is in sight.

Dmitry Medvedev: You know, we used to have a lot of problems with protocols for coordination between different agencies. I am not sure about the situation at the moment and we should probably check it, but some time ago all of the platforms and protocols were different; they were employing different programmes and all had different standards. We should give all relevant staff a strong push to ensure consistency of all protocols. This is a technical matter which impedes proper coordination, as some people are doing things one way, others are doing things another way, incompatible with the first.

Sergei Sobyanin: Setting common standards for interaction is our top priority; we are working on it as we speak.

Minister of Telecommunications and Mass Communications Igor Shchegolev: Moreover, after analysing the process of the project implementation, we have seen that strictly speaking, we do not yet have an integrated project, per se. I mean, various courses of action were identified for various agencies which were then granted free hand.

In a way, this may be a good thing, because it has led to a variety of ideas; but at this point, we need to compare the results, separate the wheat from the chaff, and select exactly what we need. That is why our goal is to build a system-wide project and unify everything in order to then feed in the content and complete the technological phase.

Dmitry Medvedev: This absolutely needs to be done, especially since the platforms and protocols non-compatibility is used as an excuse for requesting extra finance, because each agency requires government funding claiming they can only operate their own platforms. We need to make a final decision on common standards.

Sergei Sobyanin: Our fourth goal is to create a unified vertically integrated automated state planning and monitoring system. It is based on a unified technological platform, and as you rightly said. It should incorporate a political aspect as well.

Earlier, we created a successful system for monitoring national projects implementation in line with the presidential decree on the regional authorities’ performance efficiency. Today, this system has evolved to monitor anti-crisis measures. On a quarterly basis the Ministry of Regional Development drafts reports using the government authorities’ performance efficiency system.

This system has collected data regarding all issues relating to the job market, industrial activity, agriculture, housing construction, and many others, and it tracks all of them during the crisis. It also monitors measures put into place by constituent entities of the Russian Federation. This monitoring shows who is working well and who is not, who is able to implement effective measures, and who still needs to make more effort.

This work will continue in line with your instruction for all information to be channelled through one single feed point, so that constituent entities are no longer required to supply one and the same information to various government agencies. Unfortunately, due to the anti-crisis measures underway, the volume of information constituent entities are being requested to submit has grown four or five-fold, which is unacceptable.

Dmitry Medvedev: Absolutely.

Sergei Sobyanin: The process of installing a unified anti-crisis measures monitoring system must be completed in May.

Furthermore, the Government has approved its key activities in line with the Concept 2020 and its major efforts will be targeted at developing a system-wide government situational centre project.

In addition, all of the methodised information will be made available to the situational centres of the President, the Presidential Executive Office, the ministries, and the government agencies. So in essence, we are creating an automated governing system.

Dmitry Medvedev: Very well. Please continue this work and keep me updated on its progress.

Sergei Sobyanin: It will be done.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you.

April 24, 2009, Zavidovo, Tver Region