Participants during working meeting on enhancement of municipal websitesParticipants during working meeting on enhancement of municipal websitesParticipants during working meeting on enhancement of municipal websitesParticipants during working meeting on enhancement of municipal websites

Municipal Websites Tailored to Citizens

01 October 2012, Prokuplje

Twenty-five South and South West Serbian municipalities have been upgrading their websites to improve their communication with the citizens within the good governance campaign “I Want to… because I Live Here” funded by the European Union and the Government of Switzerland via the European Partnership with Municipalities Programme EU PROGRES. Ivanjica’s website has gone audio to enable blind and visually impaired members of the public to follow the municipal activities. Bojnik, Nova Varoš, Sjenica and Leskovac websites now provide the citizens with the opportunity to directly communicate with the town mayors, while Žitorađa, Tutin, Surdulica and Novi Pazar have published their budgets on their websites. The Nova Varoš website is also running a public opinion poll on the municipality’s investment priorities.

BIRN and Executive Group, EU PROGRES’ partners in the implementation of the campaign, conducted a survey of the official websites of the municipalities involved in EU PROGRES in the first half of 2012. Their analysis showed that many municipalities have improved the transparency of their official websites but that only a few of them allow the direct participation of the members of the public. The survey, on the other hand, showed that only slightly over half of the municipal websites have English language versions in addition to the Serbian ones. Furthermore, the survey showed that only 28 percent of the municipal websites provided the readers with visual impairments with the opportunity to increase the fonts of the website texts and that the latest news on as many as 48 percent of the websites were older than a week.

A one-day working meeting on the improvement of the websites of cities and municipalities in the EU PROGRES Area of Responsibility was organised in late September. Through a series of lectures, the city and municipal PR representatives and IT administrators were acquainted with ways to improve communication between the local governments and the public via different Internet tools with the goal of applying the good governance principles in this aspect of the municipal work.

Apart from digital and online communication experts of BIRN Serbia and the Executive Group agency, the participants also had the opportunity to talk to Slobodan Marković, an Advisor to the Telecommunications and Information Society State Secretary, Marijana Tasić, a Digital Agenda Directorate Advisor, Ivan Branisavljević, a Digital Agenda Directorate Expert Associate, and media analyst Larisa Ranković.

“Internet has become a part of our lives and this is why the institutions have to be where the citizens are and to service them and communicate with them via the Internet“, Slobodan Marković said. “The portal is the ideal way to hit the ground running as the Digital Agenda Directorate offers free training to state institutions and municipalities in the use of this portal, which relieves the citizens of queuing up for the services they use the most often.”

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Please be informed that the European Partnership with Municipalities Programme – EU PROGRES was completed on 31 March 2014. If you would like to learn about the activities and results of the European PROGRES, which is a continuation of development support of the European Union and Government of Switzerland to the South East and South West Serbia, please visit