BA Obras (BA Public Works)

BA Obras is a collaborative initiative to open information on public works in the City of Buenos Aires, seeking to increase transparency in the management of public resources. It consists on a portal through which all the residents of the City can track the works in real time; so they can see what works are being done in their neighborhoods, know the dates of start and end of them, and the investment they require, while they can monitor progress.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

BA Obras is a website that shows information on almost one thousand public works in a user-friendly way to the neighbor. It is a new way of bonding, being accountable and fostering dialogue channels with neighbors through public works.
The strategic objectives are:
- Bring the information of the public work to the neighbor
- Generate a new form of communication with the neighbor through public works
- Improve the internal management of government information
- Collaborate with other governments in the implementation of open government tools.

BA Obras completely defies the status quo of provision of public work information in the City of Buenos Aires since it now provides a complete and integrated dataset in open format that is periodically updated and can be easily downloaded. At the same time it introduces a “one – stop” site that concentrates all the information about public works that has been disperse. Previously this information was disperse, and public officials and managers in each areas used different standards to collect, update and share the data.
It also includes more than 30 indicators that seek to comply with the highest international standards on data and transparency.
Furthermore, the participatory and collaborative axis of the initiative gives to BA Obras an innovative approach and highlight that open government innovations are not just about technology. Firstly, Buenos Aires neighbors can have access to trustworthy and easy to understand data on public works, explore the projects in detail, and even ask for more information if they need it. Secondly, there is an ongoing process of citizen engagement and collaboration, in which civil society was consulted to provide honest user feedback that enabled adjustments to the platform before it was officially launched. In the following steps, we will use a collaborative design of new indicators.

Also, in 2018 the Government of Buenos Aires developed a strategy of diffusion and presentation of BA Obras in different instances of communication between government areas and neighbours, in order to make it known and explain them how to use it. This allows government to learn about user experience and have feedback, which results in constant website improvements. Moreover, the observatory plays an important part in government accountability and closing the feedback loop of citizen engagement.
Finally the Government of Buenos Aires City has published BA Obras code in Github, so any government can use it and create its own open public infrastructure works website.

The opening of the information made possible through the web BA Obras made its quality improve. On the other hand, it collaborated in the organization of information within the government and helped to improve its quality. On the other, it helped to consolidate a diagnosis regarding the need for a data policy.

BA Obras is more than a website, it's a new way of framing conversation, being accountable and exchanging views with neighbors about public works. It is also an innovative tool to improve the quality of government information for more efficient administration. And it is a way to collaborate with other governments in the development of open government projects.

We hope to build a stronger relationship of trust with citizens. For us, public works is what changes and improves the quality of life of citizens, not only in the short-term but -especially- in the long term. Investment in infrastructure is 23 per cent of our annual budget. Therefore, citizens would benefit from learning that what we do is out there from them to check, compare and learn. It is a way of being accountable.

We hope this citizen-oriented platform also has an impact in terms of how reporting on public works happen at the internal level of government. By adding an additional layer of accountability, we hope the product improves the quality of delivery of commitments made within government. In addition, a better quality of public works data contributes to a more efficient administration and the development of evidence-based public policies.

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Year: 2017
Organisation Type: Government
Level of government: Local government

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