Today, the Chairman of the Council on State Support to Non-Governmental Organizations under the Auspices of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, MP Azay Guliyev held a public hearing on the quality of services provided by the Council on State Support to Non-Governmental Organizations under the Auspices of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the reporting status of NGOs and new electron services. At a meeting attended by more than 500 NGOs and media representatives, Azay Guliyev publicized his views on the reasons of holding public hearing.
The chairman of the Council said there are many important and necessary reasons for holding such a large-scale presentation. One of them is to introduce updates that the Council will adopt starting from the next year. Thus, the programs prepared by the Council to improve the quality of electron services, diversify directions, make it easier and more accessible for the users following the decrees and orders signed by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev on e-government development and transition to digital government, as well as, on the improvement of electron services provided by state agencies.
The second important reason for holding public hearings is to discuss the reporting status of NGOs. Azay Guliyev specifically emphasized that the aim of allowing NGOs to make a wider debate about the decisions made by the Council is to learn the views and opinions of NGOs on the necessity, importance and effectiveness of these projects and take them into account during the future decision-making process. For this purpose, public hearing has particular importance, and the views of NGO representatives are necessary.
The third important reason for holding public hearings is to discuss the quality of services provided by the Council. It is evident that this program and electron services, which are implemented for the first time are of great public importance. “Online evaluation of projects by citizens”, “The electron receipt and e-queue service of documents for contract signing”, “Online monitoring of reporting status of NGO projects”, “Online service on consultative support”, “Online participation in the Appeals Commission meeting” programs and eletronic services will be implemented for the first time. These electron services and programs, which are being implemented for the first time, further enhance transparency in the activity of the Council, make communication between the Council and NGOs more convenient and easier, prevent time loss and additional resources, explicitly demonstrate the provision of direct participation of the citizens in the decision-making process of the Council, and public control. An important point to be mentioned here is innovation, which is about management of NGO projects and the adoption of reports (descriptive and financial) to be entirely electron after new applications and implementing through open, "single-window" system.
"I would like to discuss all three issues with NGOs and learn their views and opinions" - said the chairman of the Council Azay Guliyev and gave detailed information on the mentioned innovations. First of all, he informed the participants of the event about the current electron services of the Council. It was noted that the electron services offered by the Council:
- Reception of projects (e-application);
- Expertise of projects (Expertise);
- Acceptance of appeals (Appeal);
- Reception of reporting (E-report);
- Agreement of grant donation to NGOs by state agencies with the Council (agreement of projects with the Council);
- Electron application (E-application);
- qhtxeber.az website electron information programs exist.
The new services to be implemented starting from 2019 are the followings:
- Online evaluation of projects by citizens
- The electron receipt and e-queue service of documents for contract signing
- Project management and e-reporting program
- Online monitoring of reporting status of NGO projects
- Online service on consultative support
- QHTinnovasiya.az website
- Online participation in the Appeals Commission meeting
- “NGO Council” mobile application program
Later, it was introduced to the public by providing detailed information about the newly created services and programs. 8 new services were grouped and interpreted in the form of "current situation", "proposed format" and "advantages of the program".
“Online evaluation of projects by citizens” program will be applied for the first time since the 2nd grant competition of 2019. This program, along with experts, will enable all citizens of the country to directly participate in the assessment of NGO projects submitted for the competition. Thus, every citizen can register at the "Evaluation of Projects by Citizens" section created at the e-qht.az electron services portal of the Council, review and evaluate the projects by entering any of the competition themes identified by the Council. Citizen justifies the outcome of the project where he/she considers its funding purposeful in the feedback section and thus, the funding of the project, where such opinions (minimum score 20 and 1 score is 3 opinions) are collected is deemed advisable to the Council.
The second innovation presented by the Council – is the electron receipt and e-queue service of documents for contract signing. The new electron service is set up to allow grand winner NGOs to sign a grant agreement with the Secretariat of the Council in electron form and after the end of this process, NGOs freely choose the time for a contract through the e-queue service. Through this service, the correction of the relevant documents for the grant agreement, determination of the exact time for signing the contract and thus, the implementation of the whole process through the “single-window” system is provided. As a result, the document circulation required for signing the contract between the Council and the NGO is going to be fully electron. It is one of the other advantages of electron service, making communication easier between the Board and NGOs, preventing time loss and additional resources, and increasing transparency.
Project management and e-reporting program is the next innovation offered by the Council. Since 2013, provision of e-reporting program has been set up to adopt electron reporting on NGO projects by the Council. The program implements admission process of descriptive and financial reports on the results of the projects executed. However, the observations and monitorings of the Council, its analysis as well as proposals from NGOs required the project management, and updating and improvement of electron program on the admission of reports. For this reason, starting from 2019, a new program titled "Project Management and e-report" will be implemented to further improve the quality and functionality of the electron services provided by the Council, eliminate the above-mentioned problems, at the same time integrate the service with other e-services. According to this program, NGO project management and admission of reports (descriptive and financial) will be fully made electron and carried through a single database. In addition, the program will provide relevant statistics and summaries for project results. NGOs will get an access to all electron services of the Council with a single password. Correspondence on project management and admission of reports will be automatically sent to NGOs' e-mail addresses, which will increase the efficiency of interaction and eliminate all communication difficulties.
One of the most important and major innovations proposed by the Council is the “Online monitoring of reporting status of NGO projects” program. At present, a number of defects and deficiencies are observed in the reporting situation of NGOs. So that, some NGOs do not submit their reports on time and at the appropriate level in accordance with the grant agreement. Also, the elimination of deficiencies identified in the report is not carried out within the specified period. The contractual obligations of the Council on the relevant project management requirements and timely submission of reports are violated. For this reason, a new online monitoring program is being set up to eliminate the defects and deficiencies in NGO reporting, to ensure public control in this area, and to strengthen NGO accountability and reporting discipline. Through this program, NGO representatives and other citizens will be able to monitor online reporting status for all projects. The submission date of the report is set out in a grant agreement signed between the Council and the NGO.
The implementation of the following restrictive measures are to be applied to the delay of the report:
1. In case of delay from 5 business days up to 15 business days, official notice is given;
2. In case of delay from 16 business days up to 30 business days, the last tranche of the funds allocated for project implementation is not paid and is deprived of the right to participate in the next grant competition of the Council;
3. In case of a delay from 31 business days up to 60 business days, is deprived of the right to participate in the competitions declared by the Council for one year;
4. In case of delay of more than 61 business days is deprived of the right to participate in the competitions for two years and appropriate measures are taken for returning the allocated funds.
“Online service on consultative support” is the innovation that the council will apply starting from next year. Starting from 2019, the Council will organize the preparation and submission of project proposals, project management, accounting, legal issues, international relations, public relations, preparation of constituent documents of NGOs, management of NGOs and consultative service on other topics related to NGO activities online. In addition, the topics of consultative service will be determined based on requests and suggestions of NGOs. This service will be live broadcasting through the official Facebook page of the Council and interactivity of the discussions will be provided. NGOs will be informed on the topic to be discussed via social networks. The online consultative service will be held every Wednesday from 15:00 to 16:00. In addition, NGO representatives can send their questions to the inbox of the official page of the Council at any time.
The purpose of creating QHTinnovasiya.az website is to prevent the lack of ideas and simple approaches to problem solving, to meet the increasing demand of the NGO sector, to respond to existing challenges, to mobilize the potensial of existing staff in order to represent the national interests of Azerbaijan at a high level throughout the country and abroad and to implement a new staff preparation, to prepare a database of numerous volunteers who work or want to work in the NGO sector and involve them in the development of civil society and the state-building process. The structure of the website will mainly consist of Idea Bank, Staff Bank, Volunteer Bank, Expert Bank and Training Bank sections.
The next innovation proposed by the Council is to create an opportunity for NGO representatives to participate online in the Appeals Commission meeting. As it is known, the Appeals Commission reviews applications from NGOs that are dissatisfied with the decision of the Council on the results of grant competitions. Appeals to the Commission are accepted online. Meetings of the Appeals Commission are held in the administrative building of the Council with direct participation of NGO representatives. Independent experts and mass media representatives are invited to the meetings of the Commission. In some cases, NGO representatives with disabilities, including ones operating in regions, have difficulty individually attending at the meetings of the Appeals Commission. For this reason, starting from 2019, the Council will provide NGO representatives with disabilities and operating in regions with an opportunity to participate in (video) discussions online without having to join directly in the meetings of the Commission.
The latest innovation proposed by the Council is the "NGO Council" mobile application program. As it is known, to implement public relations and information provision, cssn.gov.az the official website of the Council, qhtxeber.az information portal, e-qht.az electron services portal, as well as Facebook, twitter and YouTube pages of the Council in social networks operates. A new mobile application program was created to inform the NGOs and the wide community about the activities of the Council, services provided, innovations applied and to make it easier for them to use the information resources of the Council. This program allows mobile phone users to be acquainted with any information about the activities of the Council online and offline. The program can be downloaded by typing "NGO Council" from Google Play Store without paying. The greatest advantage of the program is the possibility of its use in offline mode. Through this program, an opportunity for NGOs and the wide community to get information about the activities of the Council on a uniform and centralized basis is allowed; announcements and results of the grant competition, and other important news related to the Council are immediately sent to program users in the form of a special notification. Thus, the information provision of the Council is adapted to the modern requirements.
Executive Director of the Secretariat, Farasat Gurbanov, analyzed the reporting status of the projects implemented by the organization in the current year. He has pointed out some problems with NGOs that have submitted a project to the Council for the year of 2018.
F. Gurbanov talked about the problems in the organization of trainings and events, in the arrangement of catering services, in the project documentation, in the quality of materials prepared within the projects, in the project planning, in publishing products, in th preparation of film and social videos, in the establishment of poor mass media links and in the preparation of reports.
The Executive Director gave information about the problems in the inclusion of labor contracts into the electron system, in the timely payment of wages and tax payments, in the use of business expenses, in the submission of financial documents, in the diplomas and certificates, and in the related legal entities.
Then, Director of the Tax Legislation Office of the Tax Policy Department of the Ministry of Taxes Avaz Guliyev made a presentation on the main changes proposed to the Tax Code from 2019.
After the presentation, the member of the Council Sahib Mammadov, NGO chairmen Ahmed Abbasbeyli, Saadat Bananyarli, Vusala Huseynli, Niyamaddin Ordukhanli, Rauf Zeyni, Rasim Mammadov, Bahar Gasimova, Bakhtimshah Tagiyeva, Matanat Askergizi, Shaban Nasirov, Mahluga Rahimova, Ziba Nabiyeva, Akif Karimov and Mahammad Guluzade , Bullur Mammadova, Esmira Orujova, Nuretta Yusifova, Faig Ismayilov, Eyyub Huseynov, Maral Zamanova, Chingiz Nazarov, Mirza Mammadbayov and Aydinkhan Abilov expressed their views and comments and asked the questions of their interest to the Ministry of Taxes. All the questions of NGO representatives were answered.