Results from the CLARITY Sprint Event: 4 Prototypes for New Open eGovernment Services.
by admin | 10 Jan, 2017
This blogs follows on from the earlier blog about the CLARITY sprint event held on 7-9 December 2016, and describes the solutions developed during the event. Please have a read and click through the various prototypes developed, as well as the slides that were used to introduce each solution.
Group 1 – Agenda setting and civic participation at the local government level in cities in The Netherlands – Ministry of the Interior
This team works towards developing a civic participation platform for cities in the Netherlands to better harness citizen input for agenda setting. The current problem with town meetings in many parts of the Netherlands is that participation is narrow and low and it tends to be ´the usual suspects´ that attend to raise issues and propose new solutions. From the public authority side there is also a lack of feedback and public verification of where issues end up, after being proposed by citizens. To address this issue, the group developed an online public participation tool for The City of Amsterdam whereby citizens can propose new services or issues, vote on them and follow the progress through the public administrative process. In addition to presenting a simple and easily navigated interface for users, the team put emphasis on linking the online and offline civic engagement activities, full information transparency, and privacy of users. This participation website was loosely modelled on the Your Priorities platform from the Citizen Foundation in Iceland, whose CEO attended the sprint Event.
Slides available here.
Group 2 - Access to up to date registry of public services in Zaragoza and Madrid - Spain
The team composed by members of Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, The City of Zaragoza (remotely) and Open Knowledge Sweden, which worked on a solution for the publication and exploitation of open data about public services that a city like Zaragoza provides to its citizens (be they regular citizens, temporary visitors or people moving to the city), companies and organisations in the city.
The group identified first the range of stakeholders involved in such open data provisioning and exploitation, from the ones already identified above to federations of municipalities in Spain as well as regional and national governments.
The group then worked on defining two different user stories to better realise what individual needs and requirements might be:
- an international student that plans to live in Zaragoza and needs to understand which are the compulsory and recommended public services that she should use
- a city administrators that need to provide the data about such public services.
Finally, technical work was focused on implementing the Core Public Service Vocabulary in the W3C OWL language, including Spanish labels and descriptions, creating several SKOS thesauri related to the type of agents that public services are addressing and the type of services provided by the municipality, based on Zaragoza’s data, and generating the JSON-LD open data about public services for Zaragoza. Finally, a small live prototype of a search engine for public services was developed, available at /. This work will be the seed for further development in the area of public service data publication and exploitation for municipalities in Spain.
Group 3 - Access to property, land registry and planning information in Skellefteå Municipality in Sweden
This group worked towards making information available online regarding property, land registry and planning in the Skellefteå municipality in Sweden. Currently, services regarding these issues are tackled through face to face and telephone contact, often with many different service desks which delays the process of purchasing property and seeking planning permission. Providing this service online by good access to information and at a later stage provide services, applications and purchasing of permissions available online, would greatly enhance this service and make it more streamlined for both citizens and staff at Skellefteå municipality. The group developed a concept and prototype for an interactive digital guide to help citizens navigate the complex process of purchasing land from the municipality. The concept was developed as a minimum viable product built to create conditions for digitizing larger parts of the process in the future, but with the greatest initial impact.
Group 4 - Netherlands Tax Office - Optimising citizen interaction with tax, customs and administrations while adhering to data protection and privacy principles and regulation
As technology progresses and the amount of available data increases there are exponential possibilities for the Dutch Tax Office to develop advanced services. It could use advanced UI/UX and harvest personal data to assist in filing tax statements, pay benefits and help individuals to do their taxes in time. Especially for vulnerable, low income families a delayed tax return or the accruement of debt with the Tax Office is currently a serious threat. In addition: using AI and predictive modelling the Tax Office can make families and entrepreneurs aware of trends in their finances they might otherwise not be aware of. When turnover is rising the suggestion to hire extra staff or pay attention to cash-flow issues, manage savings or avoid bankruptcy.
Other than legal constraints the most important reason for the Tax Office to refrain from developing such services, is the risk off intruding on people's privacy and the fear to lose their trust. The case for the Clarity Sprint Week team was therefor: is it possible to develop such advanced services, with real world benefits for real people, avoid invading people's privacy and enhance their trust in the Tax Office?
During the Clarity Sprint Week the issue was investigated and discussed from various angles, stakeholders and personas. The resulting prototype consists of two parts:
- a secure and interoperable interface facilitating real-time updating of tax statements in a conversational style, called ChatTax;
- a personal, encrypted and temporary data broker to facilitate both the exchange of data, predictive modelling and ensure 100% personal control over this data, called SnapTaxBroker.
Changes in personal situations can lead to changes in amount of taxes due and benefits to be received. To enable citizens to check and update their data as smoothly and quickly as they would need, the ChatTax Service enables real-time adjustment of taxes and benefits via a chat like service. The service could dynamically switch between a chat bot and a human, depending on the complexity of the case. By making it available as a service, more low tech implementations via SMS would be feasible as well. A clickable prototype of the application was presented at the end event.
To enable secure and sandboxed access to privacy sensitive data the team developed the concept of a SnapTaxBroker: a virtual and encrypted vault which harvests personal data from various relevant databases (employer, tax office, bank accounts). The harvested data is accessible to the owner of the data only, who can use the information to fill out forms automatically (and proofing the harvested information before submitting). When the form is submitted and the session closed, the virtual vault is automatically destroyed. To allow for predictive modelling, the developed algorithms can get access to data in the vault within the context of such a session, but not before or after and not for anyone but the person whose data is being used. Using block chain and encryption technologies, such a broker is technically feasible.
If you would like any further information about these or the CLARITY project, please email the CLARITY project co-ordinator Thordis Sveinsdottir firstname.lastname@example.org