Please join us in welcoming the team of KohoVolit.eu amongst those of us who blog about their projects. Veronika Sumova and Michal Skop have started posting their updates about their work here (parts of blog posts are available in English so do check it out). Their first update is related to something you already know – results of their MP analysis published at the end of 2010. As you can see it has already generated quite a few responses and discussion about the project but also transparency of local MPs.
The team is currently considering another blog, directly on their website, so I am sure we will here more about it next week.
Veronika Sumova from KohoVolit.eu has sent me two additional updates to the post from yesterday. First of all, she added more details on how the team is approaching moving towards the on-going monitoring of Parliament’s work:
“Through WriteToThem with som TheyWorkForYou features… we want to start with MPs, continually publish their activity a performance numbers, together with their attitudes to (at the beginning several) key policies.”
Secondly she shared the news on their upcoming blog which just received approval to be hosted on Aktualne.cz, prestigious Czech news portal’s blogging section. The team decided to use this platform to provide KohoVolit.eu with good promotion on the local scale, but hope to see some updates in English as well. Veronika hopes to kick it off at the beginning of January, so we are just waiting for the final link and first post to share with you;)
When I asked Veronika Sumova from KohoVolit.eu about the nature of their Parliament monitoring activities she pointed out that the 2011 will be their year of shifting from event based analysis to on-going monitoring – the change which we are currently supporting. The MP’s analysis available on their site is something they are used to do at the end of each year based on their methodology. That and the ways of promoting the actual site will be used in 2011 in implementation of on-going monitoring. So before we say goodbye to 2010 let’s have the last look at the MP’s analysis – mainly for the sake of all transparency projects working with short term analysis and of course for our own reference.
Michal Skop has updated us on the scope and methodology of the current MP’s analysis:
“We have covered only the Czech and Slovak parliaments for now, for this end of the year.
Index KohoVolit.eu for this year is:
1/2 – presence (at divisions)
1/6 – speeches
1/6 – interpellations
1/6 – proposals
(again, computed as “number of MPs worse than the one” – this is because it allows “sum” different values together, like presence and number of speeches)
We could use it only for the Czech Rep., the Slovak parliamentary website is not working at the moment so well, we were able to extract only the presence and numbers of proposals.
We treat these analyses as the last “pilot” version before the automated ones (which should include also the Czech Senate, the major cities and EP; but apart of EP, all the others had elections just a month or two ago, it does not make sense to prepare such analyses now).”
Veronika is in the meantime dealing with promotion:
“I am now actively working on promoting the Czech data… especially as I have written before specialized and modified ‘packages’ for regional media…
Response of public: I would say quite high above average, considering czech NGOs, watchdogs especially… Before the parliament elections at both Czech Rep and Slovakia more than 250 000 people tried our VAAs. Of course, until now our activities were always short-term as VAAs before elections or the MPs analysis… with WTT (comprising ideally also some of the features of TheyWorkForYou.com), this is going to change, so also the style of PR will have to change…”
Michal also added a link to the coverage of their analysis on one of the major Czech new portals here. He also pointed out:
“We also prepared charts of voting behaviours in the parliaments (during this years):
I am still looking for the best way how to communicate these to the public…”
If you have any ideas on how to promote those sites, do let Veronika and Michal know!
As we enter 2011 we are looking forward to the new ideas and processes of on-going monitoring in both countries.
Happy New Year!
As I have promised in my first post about KohoVolit.eu, we will give you a little bit more insights into the current work of the project focussing on on-going monitoring of parliamentary work.
The project focussing on evaluation of MP’s is using the information available on parliamentary website:
“the information like attendance or activity (e.g. submitting laws proposals or questioning the government) is on the webpage of the Parliament (the webpage actually got some prize for being one of most informative and well-designed (meaning features and user experience)), but it seems nobody (no organization) really uses this opportunity except us…”
The team has developed applications using the data from this website and feeding it directly to their site, which provides the audience with comparisons and data analysis.
“What we then do is that we take data of individual MPs and we’re looking for interesting facts. Czech MPs are elected regionally. So we prepare kind of ‘set’ for each MP which contains easy-to-understand table with data AND most important hints stressed – we send those to regional media, always matching the regions and MPs elected in that region. We also do some comparisons cross-regionally.”
In terms of the work on Write To Them clone, the team is working on:
“- analyzing appropriate ways how to choose MP(s) one wants to contact (based on geographical proximity, parliamentary groups, etc.) reflecting the way MPs’ responsibility is perceived in Czech republic and in Slovak republic. The challenge is to provide the best user experience,
– designing the underlying database model – identifying the necessary data and the way how they are structured and organized into database tables,
– discussing the form of cooperation and sharing the work with teams in other countries working on their WTT application.”
Big thank you to Veronika for the update, but stay reading – we will learn more about the international cooperation soon!
Originally, in its first phase KohoVolit.eu was founded to provide Czech and Slovak citizens with voting advice application (You can find more information about this part of the project on Technology for Transparency website here). According to the project representative, Veronia Sumova, it was recently successfully used during the elections in Slovakia:
– “11 500 finished VAA tests by Slovak citizens (above-average, even though not excellent rate)
– succeeded to cotact local NGOs and active people in 8 cities/towns in Slovakia and develop the tool in cooperation with them. The guys from our team additionally developed two VAA [ed: voting advice application] that used real votes from the actual period and three interactive analysis of city/town MPs voting behaviour.
– succeeded in promoting the tool in the media – got space in both nation-wide and regional media.”
Now however the challenge is to extend the project functionality to the time between elections and provide citizens with on-going parliament monitoring services – which is exactly why MySociety stepped in by supporting this new phase of the project. Currently, as the first step the team is actively working on the local clone of Write To Them. You might have noticed, that the Lithuanian project I mentioned last week has a similar point on their agenda, which means that we will work towards very interesting and hopefully fruitful international collaboration. We will hear about it more soon, and continue sharing our learnings with you. In the meantime let me also mention another task for the Czech region – end year evaluation of MP’s. I am sure we will have more details on that too!