Transparency portals of the Catholic Church in Spain

21 Feb 2017

Transparencia Iglesia Católica

 

The Transparency Law does not only affect Public Administrations. There are also other “obligated subjects”. Today we analyze the websites of one of them: the Catholic Church

On December 10, 2013 it was published in the Official Gazette Law 19/2013, of December 9, of Transparency, Access to Public Information and Good Governance, On December 10, 2013, Law 19/2013, of December 9, on Transparency, Access to Public Information and Good Governance was published in the Official State Gazette, whose purpose is to broaden and strengthen the transparency of public activity, regulate and guarantee the right of access to information related to that activity and establish the obligations of good governance that must be met by public officials and private entities that receive public funds and that meet a series of requirements (described in Art. 3b).

The application of the law is gradually taking effect, responding “to a society that is critical, demanding and that demands participation of public powers. Countries with higher levels of transparency and good governance standards have stronger institutions that promote economic growth and social development “(art. 1 of the preamble of the Act). It is not only the law that in certain cases compels, but fundamentally the growing demand for a mature and demanding citizenship.

Both public and private administrations are responding to this request from Spanish society, perhaps not with the desired pace, but increasingly.

On 31 May last year, the Spanish Episcopal Conference of the Catholic Church (EEC) and Transparency International Spain met to sign an agreement in which 10 specific commitments are determined, in order to

“To increase the level of transparency and informative openness of the Conference itself and of the organs and institutions dependent on it”. Point 6 of these commitments was to “Promote in all dioceses (70 dioceses) the portal of transparency”.

 

Analyzed Entities

For the study, the directory published on the website of the Episcopal Conference, which contains 70 dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Castile of Spain, has been used as a reference. In addition, we found it interesting to add to the study the website of the Office of Information of the Bishops of the South (ODISUR), and that of the EEC itself as a reference of the study, which has analyzed a total of 72 websites. The collection of information was carried out in the last week of January 2017.

Iglesia transparencia

Fuente: CEE y propia

Transparency indicators of religious entities

There are principles of internationally agreed transparency for governments, public administrations, foundations, companies, NGOs, etc. Such as those that can be found in the Transparency International Spain website but we have not been able to find particular principles for religious entities.

That is why the indicators that have been used for the analysis were chosen among other entities, trying to adapt them to the uniqueness of these entities.

The selected indicators were:

Quantitative Indicators

  1. Transparency Portal. Whether it has or not, although it has a meager content.
  2. Governing Bodies
  3. Purpose and objectives of the entity
  4. Report on activities and works
  5. Application regulations
  6. Donations and subsidies
  7. Agreements
  8. Financial structure and distribution of expenditure
  9. Economic balance
  10. Remuneration
  11. Contracts and tenders
  12. Access to information request channel
  13. Contact Information

Qualitative indicators

  1. Navigability. Published information is easily accessible. Information is found intuitively and/or fast, with a clear and understandable content or menu structure
  2. Updating the data. The information is published periodically (indicating the base periodicity), maintaining a historical file and with reference to the date of update or revision of the information.
  3. Additional descriptions. The information is published with the support of additional descriptions (in text, or with tables, graphs or interactive) that facilitate their visualization and comprehension
  4. Reuse of data. The structured information is published or can be downloaded in reusable formats, that would allow to show the information in an interactive table, where it could be ordered by the column that was wanted, filter according to certain criteria or group by some of them. From there it could even make graphs that would allow for a better interpretation the data exposed.

For the assessment of each indicator, we have used the following criteria:

  • 1 POINT: Complete or satisfactory. The indicator information is published on the diocesan web.
  • 0’5 POINTS: Partial. The information is partially published on the web.
  • 0 POINTS: No evidence of compliance. If the information is not published in the cited Web.

 

Analysis result

Of the 72 analyzed websites, 26 (36%) have a page with specific contents of transparency, of which 4 are practically empty, so the actual percentage is 30%. Of these, only 6, Bilbao, Seville, Tenerife, Astorga, Gerona and the Episcopal Conference itself, exceeded the bar of  “approved” (8.5 out of 17), bordering on Malaga, Cordoba and Orense. If we consider only the quality of the information (seaworthiness, data updates, additional descriptions or reusable formats), those that equal or exceed the score of 2 out of 4, are only 5: repeat Bilbao, Sevilla, Astorga and CEE, sums Orense (with the highest score, 3.5 / 4) and again touch the approved Malaga and Cordoba, in addition to Getafe.

iglesia transparencia

Fuente: CEE y propia

The percentage of maximum adequacy is achieved by the transparency website of the Bilbao diocese, with 70%, and the minimum of those Ciudad Real and San Sebastian (6%).

Regarding to information on contracts and tenders, no website gets a score, that is, no information is shown about it.

As for the requests channel for access to information, only the CEE has partially developed it in its section “Office of Transparency”.

In the “Contact data” indicator, 0.5 points have been scored which, apart from the Transparency section, provide partial contact data and with 1 point the portals that provide electronic mail, posl address and telephone. Almost 58% (15 of the 26 websites with Transparency section), get 1 point and the rest 0.5 (42%).

iglesia transparencia

Fuente: CEE y propia

Results of Interpretation

The indicators evaluation that we have used offers a very unequal result. They are still an vast majority (two thirds) of the Spanish Catholic dioceses that do not reflect this aspect of transparency in their websites. It is also true that the structure of information and maintenance of many of them leaves much to be desired, there are still obsolete patterns designs, etc. And although this would be the subject of another study, it is still indicative of the distance that may remain for some webs of the Catholic Church. Perhaps this deficiency could become an opportunity for those responsible for communication of these institutions, to take into account the aspects of transparency when it comes to the necessary renewal of their presence on the Internet.

In the remaining third that has begun to “put the stacks” on the issue of Transparency, the differences between the first and last of the list are also huge. Many of the last ones have merely put this section in the menu, but then have hardly populated it with content, when it is not completely empty.

In some places this section is denominated like “Transparency Portal”, a little grandiloquent taking into account that it is about in most of the occasions of a page with links to a few documents. We have also found the denomination “Transparency”, which seems more correct to us. It is singular the coincidence of many Catalan dioceses that name this page as “Law of Transparency”, and have a very similar structure, which seems to have as a single objective to try to show that they fulfill the obligations imposed by Article 3b of the Spanish law of Transparency.

It is also necessary to say that not only the Episcopal Conference shows in its website a section of Transparency that reasonably fulfills the chosen basic indicators, as we said before, there are 5 other diocesan webs, Bilbao, Seville, Tenerife, Astorga and Gerona that have made an outstanding in this respect, highlighting that of the Bilbao Diocese and that of Seville that surpass (Bilbao) or equal (Seville) the score of the CEE. However, there is room for improvement, as the maximum percentage of adequacy is 70% (Bilbao with 12 points out of 17), with an average of 46.15%.

It is necessary to reiterate that an indicator as important as the one of contracts and tenders has not been satisfied by any of the dioceses nor by the CEE and is a clear insufficiency of these pages / portals.

One of the public commitments to which the CEE came with Transparency International Spain was to “develop manuals of good practices for the Episcopal Conference that can be applied in the diocesan sphere.” We think that this would be the first step, indispensable for guiding the work of the diocesan leaders of communication.

It would be necessary, for example, to influence that it is not enough to publish the information, taking into account the quantitative criteria, which is already an important step. Attention must also be paid to the qualitative criteria of the information. It is observed that almost all the information that is published is offered in unstructured or reusable formats (PDF and HTML), by the way, deficiency that they share with many transparency portals of Public Administration.

Article 5 of the law states:

“The information subject to transparency obligations will be published in the corresponding electronic headquarters or web pages and in a clear, structured and understandable way for those interested and preferably in reusable formats.”

That is the true transparency, as it guides the user and facilitates its accessibility, use, compression and reuse. You have to enrich it, structure it, update it conveniently, save a history, provide reusable formats, etc.

We stop to finish in an aspect that seems essential to us. Article 17 of the Transparency Law refers to the request for access to information:

“The procedure for the exercise of the right of access will begin with the presentation of the corresponding request, which should be addressed to the owner of the administrative body or entity that possesses the information …”

Iglesia Católica Transparencia

At this moment, only the Episcopal Conference website has enabled a basic communication channel, with its “Office of Transparency”, which partially follows the indications of the law. To improve it, it would be necessary instead of a generic form to explicitly enable a field to describe the requested information and another to choose by which channel the applicant prefers the answer. A simple initiative but one that would greatly facilitate the request for information of any citizen.

 

How to implement the electronic invoice in your business

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factura electrónica

 

Very recently the the law of electronic invoicing has been used for two years in Spain. That is why today we want to dedicate this post to explain how to implement the electronic invoice in a simple way.

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Docker Error response from daemon- rpc error- code = 2 desc = -oci runtime error- exit status 1- (1)

Today, form Viafirma we are going to use this post to discuss about Docker, an very interesting alternative to the Operative Systems virtualization, In addition, we will take you through how to resolve the following error: response from daemon- rpc error- code = 2 desc = -oci runtime error- exit status 1-. Are you ready? We started.

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A year since the implementation of the electronic invoicing law in Spain: an evaluation of the situation

27 Apr 2016

electronic invoicing

It has been a year since the entry of the electronic invoicing law in Spain. For many companies working with the Public Administration, it was a structural change, since invoices had to present them electronically via FACe. Did they expect these results? What kind of developments? How does it fit with the strategies set by Europe? Today, from Viafirma we will tell you.

A review on the law on Electronic Invoicing

electronic invoicing

Before discussing the evolution of electronic invoicing in Spain, for those who do not fully understand what the Law 15/2013 is, we did a little review:

  • Who is affected? Every company who is involved to issue invoices to government on any level, as well as large companies.
  • What requirements do they cover?

Evolution of the implementation of electronic invoicing in Spain

Promoting digital services is one of the main objectives of most public administrations. The digital transformation is unstoppable, and the companies are making a substantial progress on issues related to this new reality.

Some of the initiatives need to keep pace and tenor for the regulations, both community-based and on national level. For example, open data strategy or electronic access for citizens to public services. The progressive introduction of electronic invoicing is not an exception.

With regard to the latter, the evolution has been very positive over the past year.  For both, private and public sector, the e-invoice is growing, meeting milestones and overcoming challenges, not without complications, but unstoppable.

Indeed, settling deadlines for  the electronic invoicing to be mandatory in our country, has  an the schedule settled by  different types of regulations that are drawing very ambitious goals, although the reality has been moving unpredictably.

In order to promote electronic communication between different countries of the European Union, it has determined to promote the spread of e-invoice, understood as a digital document that replaces the conventional invoice in paper format.

From Brussels, it has been working towards the development of an unique model of electronic invoicing for the whole EU, creating  both a regulatory framework and through innovation and competitiveness programs.

European regulations gave the green light to reach the target of its implementation in 2020 at Community level, particularly  the Directive 2010/45/EU of 13 July 2010, -per Directive amending 2006/112/EC on the common system of VAT, in terms billing-  as well as  Directive 2014/55/​​EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on electronic invoicing in public recruitment.

Responding to these directives, Law 25/2013, of 27 December, momentum of the electronic invoice and creator of the accounting record of invoices in the public sector, as well as the Organic Law 6/2015 of 12 were declared in June, partially amending that. In addition, we also found a subsequent regulatory development that takes the form of royal decrees, orders and resolutions.

In 2020, they expect that the replacement has been complete, a horizon that is starting to look more real, thanks to the developments since last year. The positive dynamics do not stop growing, even in many cases they increase exponential.

The flexibility of administrations in facilitating the transition has been really motivated by the economic crisis. These difficult circumstances ensured to meet the deadlines on time imposed by the regulations.

In fact, the move to electronic invoicing in Spain, started in early 2015, was far from meeting the expectations, although it can now speak of a positive development.

The point of optimism is explained as a contrast to those who experienced it at the beginning of their problems. The “blackout paper” is still a pending issue, but it is also true that moving to electronic invoicing is progressing at a pace that until recently seemed elusive.

A slow start

electronic invoicing

Since the 15th January of 2015, the suppliers of the Administration and certain sectors are required to use the electronic invoice in Spain.  Before that, the turnover was optional. In fact, since 2003, in Spain and in the whole of Europe there is a legal and tax regulation environment capable for sending and receiving e-bills.

It was the law 25/2013 the turning point, due to the achievements in regards to the statutory of electronic signature for interacting with public administrations.  

Even though  there are  agencies and entities that exempts the law enforcement, the Government states that the uses of electronic invoicing  for bills that exceeds 5,000 euros, can bring a total savings of tens of millions of euros.

electronic invoicing

2016: use increases

The figures show it. Even with marked regional differences, the statistics draw a constant developing scenario. According to the latest statistics compiled by FACe, belonging to the first quarter of 2016, the total transaction through this organization is 7,750,458 invoices, including autonomic, the General State Administration (AGE), local government, universities and other institutions.

The Electronic Administration Observatory shows in its latest bulletin of indicators that  the number of e-invoices processed through FACe, only in the field of General State Administration -AGE- was 1.107.475 bills only  in March 2016, compared to 6,010,928 issued throughout 2015 and against 884 invoices issued in 2014.

Although the Tax Office links this increase to the extra liquidity they are getting through different official mechanisms, the progress of this new bill is undeniable.

Besides the fact that making e-invoice statutory, this liquidity arrangements  such as the Autonomous Liquidity Fund and the Financial Facility, have acted as accelerators paying bills, especially from the autonomies.

The amount of these operations also achieved record figures, from the 32.824 million euros last year, amounted to 40.369.769.890 million recorded between January and March this year.

By administrations, local authorities accounted for almost half of electronic receipts (49.6 percent), compared with 38.45 autonomic and 9.94 percent of the AGE.

According to a report by the European Association of Service Providers Electronic Invoice (EESPA, for its acronym in English) in the next five years they expect to increase at a rate of 10 to 20 percent.

In Spain it isn’t different. According to the latest available data for the first half of 2015, only the private sector issued 77.7 million digital invoices, which represents an increase of 16 percent. In comparative terms, they are more than 10 million more documents than in the same period last year, and in the public sector evolution is not less positive.

A very beneficial change

Like all changes, this also takes time. In Spain the beginning has been played by hesitations, but the countdown has started. From January 15, 2015, the suppliers of the Administration and certain sectors are required to use the electronic invoice.

Despite a slow and difficult start, -even today many public entities fail to comply with the required technical conditions and FACe, the whole point of entry of e-invoices, continues its efforts to optimize its operation-, the balance today can not be more positive.

If you are interested in investigating how electronic invoicing have effect in Spain, we recommend you to read these wo articles:

Both in the private and public companies that choose ​​for the use of software that allow the issuance of e-invoice in both formats, since the digital transformation is an undeniable fact who is growing. Viafirma eInvoice is our solution to meet this need, allowing the issuance of invoices and delivery with FACe with one click. Viafirma eInvoice meets recommendation by the Ministry of Economy and Finance format (format v3.2 and v3.2.1).

Still we have to wait a few months to see the results of all the measures, however, it is very favourable evolution so far. And you, what do you think what will be the next evolution? Share it with us.

See you next week!

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How to evaluate the maturity of an Open Data project?

07 Apr 2016

Open Data Project

Open data are essential for the development of many strategies in Europe on how the Member States should be develop in the future. In previous articles we talked about various aspects of open data, such as the 8 principles on which they are based. Today, from OGoov we are going to explain how to measure the degree of maturity of any open data project through the UNE 178301. Let’s start.

What kind of maturity model?

As with any learning process, to achieve a degree of openness that meets the required objectives, certain levels of compliance are involved. That is why it is necessary to conduct an assessment of maturity to face the constant evolution.

While the evaluation can be performed following different methodologies, the question of public policy indicators still misses a model that is able to have widespread consensus worldwide. And much more international regulations, but we find proposals for improving policies for open data designed for generic use, as used in his studies by the European Data Portal or the Open Data Maturity Model, published by the Open Data Institute UK.

So, how to measure and evaluate open data programs? What kind of model, what tools can help us? Is it hard to do?

If our goal is to assess the degree of maturity of an open data program for a Spanish authority, we refer to the first rule of Smart Cities, UNE 178301 on Open Data, published by AENOR (Asociación Española de Normalización y Certificación) and involved in a series of documents that will allow the Spanish cities to become smart cities.

This post will summarize the steps referred to the maturity model, designed to help organizations measure their effectiveness in public and the use of open data.

UNE 178301, open data project evaluation tool

Open Data Project

The UNE 178301 tells us how to evaluate the maturity of an open data project. Being a technical standard, it is important to keep in mind that it is a document produced from the consensus, take into account that both experience and technological development, are being approved by a recognized standardization authority.

In this case, measuring the degree of maturity of a open data project depends on indicators and metrics related to sustainability criteria, quality, effectiveness and efficiency of the same initiative. Therefore, measuring the maturity of a open data project will require a move forward in the direction of meeting objectives.

And, as in any process, specific targets should be established to measure the maturity of an open data initiative. This involves setting objectives for macro and micro in a controlled manner. Always within a clear program that includes elements such as those specified in the standard, in order to facilitate the evaluating metrics. 

Metrics, domains and dimensions

The standard, meanwhile, establishes how to measure the publication of open data of a city in the form of metrics and an indicator to measure the maturity of open data, in order to facilitate their reuse in the smart cities.

The metrics are organized in forms of domains and dimensions to facilitate structuring and understanding: 

Strategic domain

Establishes the criteria to measure the capacity and implementation of the strategic policy of the agency to articulate a consistent vision of open data. The dimensions are strategy, leadership, service commitment and economic sustainability.

Examples of the aspects are evaluated in this domain, if the strategic plan for opening data is documented or not, or if you have been assigned to the functions of opening data to a policymaker.

Legal domain

Referring to the criteria for measuring the entity and the evaluation of the rules facilitating the implementation of policies and activities. The legal dimension is divided into external and internal regulations and conditions of use and licensing.

Examples of this domain would be to evaluate whether the project complies with current mandatory legislation and the recommended licenses or conditions for the use of the data to allow reuse.

Organizational domain

Establishes the criteria for measuring the ability to implement management and training activities consistent with the planning and open data strategy.

The dimensions are the organizational (to see if there is a unit responsible for opening data, team work and training, inventory and priority) and the measurement is subdivided into the compliance measurement process and measurement of usage and impact.

Technical domain

Establishes the criteria for evaluating activities to ensure protocols and mechanisms which will turn in facilitate, among others, the availability of data and activities related to the publication of the catalogue, the management of data quality and interoperability degree.

The dimensions are availability (presence in the catalogue of public information, sets documented data, categorization and search, availability and persistent and friendly URLs), access (accessibility/non-discrimination, free access systems), quality of the data (raw data, complete data, documented data, technically correct data, geo-referenced data and linked data) and update (update process, frequency of updating and expanding data sets). 

Economic and social domain

Establishes the criteria for evaluating the mechanisms linking producers of data (agencies) with re-users, sharing common structures that encourage the use of data in the production of new goods and services, the degree of involvement of the organization in the encouragement and assistance to the work of re-agents, the degree of listening and adapting to the demands and the level of dialogue established.

The dimensions are reuse (amount of data, data format, vocabularies standard data), participation and collaboration (transparency, participation and collaboration, resolving complaints and conflicts, promoting reuse and initiatives developed reuse) dimension.

Each metric has associated four levels, from 0 to 3, with results as, “non-existent”, “emerging” “existing” and “advanced”. Each level is assigned as a score, established consecutively, so that the level 0 will also score 0, level 1 will correspond a score of 1, and so on.

When reaching level 3, it is considered that the measured values ​​are expected when there is a formal open data initiative that implements best practices.

If we want to know how to calculate it directly from the regulation, you need to go to the  section 5 where open data is or to the Annex B where an illustrative example of calculation is presented.

Consider that all metrics do not have the same weight, because its impact on open data initiative is not comparable. Within each dimension, however, scores must equal to 100 percent. Be that weight, set as a percentage for each dimension, which must be associated with a score of 0 to 3, in order to obtain a value after applying the formula: Value: ((Score * Weight) / 3) * 100 that will be the score for each dimension.

Later, we will add the values ​​for each dimension (the levels achieved in each of the metrics) to obtain the total score. Once established, we will get a number that will measure the state in which the initiative is open data.

It will be a value between 0 and 1000, corresponding to 0 to 200 level 1, 201 to 400 Level 2, 401 to 600 3, 601 to 800 4 and 801 to 100 5. According to the norm,  3 is the desired  figure that marks the desired threshold for a smart city.

More on the UNE 178301

In addition to allowing measure the maturity of open data project, UNE 178301 facilitates the reuse of data generated or held by the public sector recipients of that information, including citizens or companies providing public services.

In turn, that rule establishes a list of datasets listed as priority in these initiatives, accompanied by a series of recommended vocabularies. The goal is again to be practical, facilitate documentation and implementation of open data projects.

This standard is part of the standardization strategy for smart cities developed by the Technical Standards Committee AEN / CTN 178 “smart cities”, aimed at helping their development, in which AENOR is working with the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information society (SETSI) of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism.

Penetration of alternative online financial products (II): Key Factors in Spain

28 Mar 2016

Productos Financieros Alternativos

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