E-Government examples

This article continues the series of our articles about digital transformation to E-Government. In today’s one we are going to tell about our vision of the annual live broadcast nationwide phone-in hosted by the Russian president Vladimir Putin, and will propose our ideas on how it can be improved. Surely, by means of modern software solutions.

How Vladimir Putin’s live broadcast nationwide phone-in works now

Just in case, briefly about what it looks like now: president Putin is sitting in a studio and answers questions. People can ask questions via the phone, website, SMS, recording a video or audio with a question and submitting it online, via a livestream in case they are lucky to be selected and connected. 

During a 3-4 hour’s live Q&A session Vladimir Putin usually answers 40-70 questions. Though, the total number is huge: it varies from one “direct line” to another and had more than 1.5 million questions submitted for the latest Putin’s “direct line” in 2019.

Disadvantages of current annual Putin’s Q&A session

  1. Such a number of questions is impossible to process manually. Most likely that nothing happens with the majority of questions submitted.
  2. A tiny number of people get comprehensive replies. Even if V. Putin provides 70 appeals with answers, this will mean just 0.0047 percent of cases.
  3. The level of trust to “direct lines” with Vladimir Putin is constantly decreasing.

e-government system development

How president’s Putin’s live QA “direct line” should work

We strongly believe that the process should become completely digital and transparent.

No doubts that president Putin takes some time to prepare for the direct line and studies the requests submitted before the live session. Surely, even though these requests (processed by Putin) do not get a live reply from him during the direct line, they still were processed, tasks were issued on them, decisions were made etc. Then, obviously, the overall number of the questions processed in comparison with the total number of submitted ones is still extremely low.

So, let’s imagine we have just created an online platform for processing questions from citizens. Let’s name it, for instance, Digital President, E-President. Or E-Putin. Thus, the system will work in the following way:

  1. A person submits a question online. A person enters: Title; Description – essence of the question; Category of question be it road security, corruption, public health service, international relations etc; Geography – where is the problem, if available; History – how, with whom a person tried to solve the problem; Expected result – a person’s appeal or proposal to do something connected with the request, i.e. adopt a new law; Any supportive documents.
  2. The person indicates whether he/she desires to make this request public or private. Public request means that any person can browse a created request and add details if necessary. Or just indicate that he/she has the same problem. Private one means that only the author and recipients can see the request.
  3. The request is registered in the system. 
  4. The request is processed and statistics lists have been updated, 1 item is added to: Number of requests submitted in Russia/state/province/city; Number of unresolved questions in Russia/state/province/city; Number of unresolved questions in categories Name, Name1, Name2… and so on.
  5. Like we have already mentioned, if the request is public, it appears on the interactive map and in the aggregated list of public requests. 
  6. Any user-citizen can browse the created request, add details or upvote, showing that he/she faced the same problem.
  7. The request is sent to relevant authorities who are responsible for mentioned directions. Just not to those whom the applicant has already named as officials whom the applicant tried to solve the problem with.
  8. They receive the request and solve it. 
  9. If necessary, government officials can request additional information from the applicant and/or local government officials. 
  10. An applicant gets notifications as well as can track the status of the submitted question in real time (Submitted, Sent to Official’sNameAndTitle, More information requested, Updated – Sent to Official’sNameAndTitle, Decision is taken, Results sent to the Applicant etc.)
  11.  A government official(s) replies to the request. 
  12. The applicant gets a notification and results.
  13. The applicant can Accept or Decline the results.
  14. If the results are declined, the applicant submits a form and explains the positions. The process starts again from step 1.
  15. If the applicant is satisfied with the results and Accepts them, it is possible to Rate and Leave a review.
  16. An Applicant closes the request. 
  17. The system updates the status of the request: Closed-Resolved 
  18. The system updates the statistics. 
E-government services development

How Russian E-Government system for digital citizens’ requests should work

About some other features the E-Government system should have

In addition to the algorithm mentioned above, we would like to underline that for better results, the proposed E-Government system for automation of citizens questions and requests to Putin’s “direct line” should have the following features:

  1. An aggregated list of all the public questions submitted: a list with multiple search filters and interactive map with icons of the public requests. 
  2. Possibility for anyone not just to browse the “tickets” created, but also comment, share, upvote, add relevant information.
  3. Big data analytics.
  4. As a result of the previous point, analysis of trends – tracking of number of requests in given regions/categories from one Putin’s live QA session to another for better problems’ identification.
  5. Ranking of the most popular requests in the country/region. 
  6. Ranking of the most popular categories for requests submitted.
  7. Numbers of statistics of the main page updated in real time. We suppose “Total number of questions submitted”, “Total number of questions resolved”, “Number of questions reported out” would be enough.   
  8. Several options to submit questions should be available: website, mobile application, SMS, call, recording a video or audio, message to chatbot in social networks etc.
  9. Tracking of similar already submitted questions: when a citizen submits a request, the system should process it in real-time and show if similar submitted question(s) are already submitted. If a citizen agrees that the question is not original, the system proposes to upvote or add details to the proposed existing question.  

Fundamental principles of development and usage of Putin’s direct line digital request E-Gov service

  1. Transparency – the platform with requests submitted is available to anyone. Any can browse, rate and comment the requests submitted and track their status in real-time.
  2. E-Governance – Any citizen can update any public request, adding relevant information. 
  3. Ideally – answer guarantee. Even if not by getting President Putin’s personal answer, but at least something like integration of multiple similar requests into groups and joint replies to them from relevant government authorities. 

Here is our vision of an online system dedicated to storage and processing of citizens’ questions to the president’s Putin live QA session. What we are trying to say is that all the requests represent a big source of useful information. But to become useful, this data should be collected and processed. Without processing, it represents just an enormous list of questions. And experts from the president’s team are capable of processing several thousand of 1-2 million at its best from this list. 

We know that organizers of Putin’s live broadcast nationwide phone-in are constantly applying new software tools, for example, submitting questions via a mobile application has become available for Putin’s “direct line” 2019.

We know also that after the direct line all the questions are sent to the Russian Presidential Executive Office for further analysis. Unfortunately, we do not know how and with the help of which tools do they perform analysis of 1.5+ million questions. Supposably, they already have some CRM-like software and/or operational center’s specialists separate and categorize questions right after they are submitted. If so, then our idea is still valid, and we propose to make it fully digital and open to the public. Actually, we suppose the developed E-Government system could be open for submitting requests not only when Putin’s annual “direct line” is planned, it can be available all year long, 24 hours a day. 

No doubts that development and implementation of an E-Government service for processing citizens’ requests to president Putin “direct line” will be positively accepted by citizens. It will enable a G2C branch of the E-Government development, lead to further development of political and digital culture and benefit the formation of an E-Governance.