IA’s public policy researcher Milica Milonjić presented our commentary on the Draft Strategy for Information Society Development in Montenegro until 2020 at the public consultations held on 17 June 2016 in the Rectorate of the University of Montenegro. We also submitted our commentary in writing to the competent ministry.
Despite some changes for the better in relation to the previous strategy covering the period 2012-2016, we have recognized that there is room for further improvements especially when it comes to evaluation and performance audit of the previous strategy, providing information on the cost and sources of funding of the new strategy, defining mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation, as well as providing for inclusion of more social partners and greater comprehensibility of the document to the general public.
Milica particularly stressed the need to establish a clear link between the new strategy and the objectives planned under the previous one, meaning what has been done in the past and what was planned, but not implemented. Unfulfilled obligations from the previous document should be identified and the causes that led to the failure to implement them should be explained in order to devise activities which would address the root causes of the problems. Additionally, we believe that the lack of baseline values for a number of indicators will make it difficult to monitor and evaluate the progress in implementing the reforms in the forthcoming period. Furthermore, it is necessary to specify the cost and sources of funding of the new strategy. Correct and precise budget planning is necessary to ensure adequate and timely implementation of envisaged activities while the information on the sources of funding will allow for seeking of donor support in a timely manner. Finally, considering that this is a horizontal document which encompasses more than 50 authorities at the national and local level, we believe that it is necessary to envisage mechanisms for coordination of the implementation of activities, as well as mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of the strategy and the evaluation of results.
The effects of the implementation of this strategy are far-reaching for society as a whole. The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in public administration will improve its efficiency and speed up the reform towards a service-oriented public administration, which will facilitate the implementation of public policies in various fields such as health, education, and social protection. Also, ICTs offer significant opportunities for economic growth and development and thus improve living standard of citizens.