22 May, 2011

Law of Unified Registry of Public Information


In recent years, various public agencies are using ICTs more intensively in their day-to-day activities. ICTs are crucial in their communication with citizens as well. Moreover, joint operation of various information systems causes increased stream of information, thus accordingly creates the necessity of coordination between various services offered by the government.

In order to regulate the process, by the initiative of Data Exchange Agency of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, the law of unified registry of public information has been prepared. The aim of the initiative is to depict all information resources currently accumulated in Georgian public sector and generate unified catalogue of available registries, information systems and services. This will be so called “Unified Information State Registry”. The law was passed by the parliament of Georgia during the summer sessions in 2011 and is scheduled to be effective from June 1, 2011.

Before drawing the draft version of the law, thorough research has been carried out to unveil how the system works in various foreign countries. The research showed that the best practice for Georgia would be the registries established by Hungary and Estonia. In these countries Unified Information State Registry has not only portrayal functionality but it also combines the coordinating role of information creation, elaboration and delivery in public sector. This exact future aim would be of Georgia's law on Unified Information State Registry. Particularly, the law should establish the unified standards on how to work with the information in public organizations. This will increase the operational outcome of the various organizations and will save state resources.

For the purpose of the realization of the above mentioned tasks, the law on unified registry of public information offers the cascade of rehashed definitions of data, data base, information system, registry, catalogue and many other technical but necessary terms.

One of the main goals of the law is to oblige state organizations to register the following data in the unified registry: various data bases, registry, information system and e-services. The process of registration is carried using pre-defined form, which determines the exact list of information-related components, which must be submitted to the Unified registry. The registration is also needed for any important change, combination (unification), cancelation, demolition and other activities, by which the data base, registry or other information resource of the state organization are forced to record change. All such notifications should be submitted to the unified registry's operator – Data Exchange Agency.

The law also sets several rules of administrating information resources (data base, registry, information system and E-service), which supports to establish unified approaches and practice in this direction. Among them are the aspects of data protection and recognition of accepted rules of information publicity. Additionally, law enforcement procedures will be carried out using such tools such are written notifications and recommendations issued by the Data Exchange Agency. It should clearly be noted that the unified information state registry does not receive and elaborate the data related to the entities of private law, their registries, information systems and services.

It is quite timely decision to initiate unified information state registry. It is much more timely decision if we look at the current situation of the country and at the level of ICT penetration. The unified state registry will improve the effectiveness of data exchange process among public sector bodies. It will also establish some common rules on how to work with the information. This is extremely crucial in such areas, where organized and easy accessible information plays decisive role for the state and its population as well.