Transparent recovery: how the electronic rebuild management system will work

The digital system will help to ensure inclusive, effective and rapid reconstruction of the country, as well as transparency in the use of funds.

The other day, the Ministry of Infrastructure together with the Ministry of Digital and the RISE Ukraine coalition presented the design of the electronic reconstruction management system.

Ukraine already has experience in creating leading state electronic systems: ProZorro and “ProZorro. Sales”, eHealth, “Diya” – these names are known all over the world.

However, the reconstruction management system is unprecedented: managing a ten-year recovery program costing hundreds of billions.

In terms of data volume, functionality and procedure coverage, it will be the largest electronic infrastructure in the world.

If we were to plan reconstruction in the 20th century, it would have to meet two of the three criteria: effective, inclusive and fast. It was impossible to implement all three criteria in the democratic society of the last century.

However, we are in 2022, in Ukraine, which is a leader in the field of digitalization of public administration. Therefore, we have a chance to implement all the criteria: to make a major reconstruction that would be effective, inclusive, fast and, accordingly, democratic.

The system of digital management of the reconstruction of Ukraine will become a modern anti-corruption tool of state administration that will serve to coordinate the efforts of process participants and make the most effective decisions.

Technology is on our side, however, this is a mega challenge. Anyone who has encountered complex IT systems understands that the development of the architecture of the electronic system for the reconstruction of Ukraine alone is not an easy task.

Who will deal with the system and what are its goals

I recently attended a strategy session with 50 representatives of public organizations that are reforming, working with and monitoring the government. I asked for a show of hands for those who believe that the public knows how to organize reconstruction. I asked the same about the authorities and international partners.

Conclusion: no one knows for sure and no one can do it themselves. So, together we have to find an answer to the question of how to organize reconstruction.

A digital reconstruction management system will help us achieve two goals at once. The first is inclusive, efficient and quick reconstruction. The second is to ensure confidence in reconstruction, to allocate sufficient funds for its implementation.

What will the electronic system consist of?

The state is already working on the design of a digital system. It will consist of several modules: separate subsystems, registers and data exchange mechanisms between them. It will cover the processes from the initiation of the project to its completion.

At the same time, a separate reconstruction (restoration) project can cover both the physical reconstruction or reconstruction of one object, as well as a complex of objects or additional processes related to the restoration of the functioning of the object.

Thus, the Ministry of Infrastructure, with the support of other ministries, is developing a register of damaged property. It provides digitization of the “Inventory and damage assessment” process. Data from this register will be used to plan restoration projects. This will happen in a separate module of the system.

Tenders for the purchase of goods and services for the implementation of projects will be held in the ProZorro system, which will perform the function of one of the modules of the digital reconstruction system. At each stage, we will have a separate electronic module that will perform its part of the tasks.

The system will cover the following digitized project stages: inventory and damage assessment, data collection and analysis for prioritization and reconstruction planning, project planning and prioritization, project financing, project implementation, payment for works, commissioning and maintenance.

Each stage requires significant human resources, as well as the collection, processing and analysis of large amounts of data, modeling, forecasting and other data-related activities. This is what the preliminary design of the system looks like.

Why the pilot project is launched by the Ministry of Infrastructure

Separate modules of the electronic reconstruction control system are already working. Soon, a shortened version of the system will be launched on the basis of the Ministry of Infrastructure. This will allow rebuilding of critical infrastructure with maximum possible transparency and accountability.

The ministry is taking a general approach and applying it to infrastructure reconstruction. Infrastructural objects are the most complex, the most expensive, with the greatest risks, so operational management and monitoring can be tested on them.

We will be able to draw conclusions, make changes to processes and design. We will use the data to build a similar process for other types of objects.

The main KPI of the system is the efficiency of obtaining and using funds for reconstruction. We should not waste time either after the victory or now, when it is necessary to make an operational reconstruction. We should not spend half a year negotiating with international partners about who receives the funds and how they are spent.

Instead, we should work together with the government and international partners to propose a reconstruction management process that would suit all key stakeholders and not block the flow of aid to Ukraine.

Transparency is key. Only a transparent system will allow anti-corruption authorities, public activists and international donors to track where every penny goes and control all reconstruction processes.

The second obvious KPI is the prevention of corruption. The enemy will always claim that the money allocated for reconstruction is being stolen. We need to make sure that they don’t steal. Make it verifiable.

By achieving these two goals, we will, on the one hand, remove one of the key risks, and on the other hand, we will be able to speed up the rebuild by a year or more by doing our homework now.

What is the role of RISE Ukraine in the creation of the system

The RISE Ukraine coalition takes an active part in the development of the system, helping to perform certain works. We support reconstruction and promote key principles: transparency, accountability and efficiency. Therefore, we insist on opening the data of the system to everyone except representatives of the aggressor state.

It is necessary to create convenient management dashboards in a smartphone and publish data according to standards (Open Contracting Data Standard) for international partners and the public. Only in this way will the system be trusted.

Now we are involved in the analysis of business processes of the cycle of reconstruction and system design projects. Then there will be piloting based on one of the directions. Then the system will be refined and will cover the pilot direction and projects of all types.

Ukraine has a chance to introduce a new standard of open governance and open contracting and become a model for the whole world. For this, it is extremely important to ensure full transparency of the reconstruction process.

The material is published in Ekonomichna Pravda