Informal discussions with the national OGP partners agreed that the Transparency Plus Portal translated OGP key values such as transparency, inclusiveness, and accountability, standing as a scalable and replicable example for others. In fact, it is a commitment of the second national open government plan, aiming at increasing transparency in public spending, including Recovery and Resilience Facility, and actively preventing corruption. Also, the goal of connecting with other databases reinforces the commitment on open-source data and open data platforms established since the first action plan. Furthermore, other relevant stakeholders were consulted, including data suppliers and work collaborators on its development
Transparency Plus Portal provides deep insights into government key areas in the form of: 1) relevant indicators that are in line with the nature, structure, and complexity of the data (available on the Portuguese open data portal, dados.gov.pt); and 2) more effective communication tactics based on current data visualization and storytelling approaches, fostering active audits of public actions and active citizenship. In fact, it was developed as a citizen-centric solution, as its entire design process and implementation relied on diverse civic participation (with surveys, interviews, co-creation workshops, persona reference models, and so on) to ensure that the roadmap, areas, and information are available in accordance with citizens' and users' demands, rather than displaying the information and data in a static manner – or in the way the government wishes or envisions.
Transparency Plus ultimately strives to measure the influence of public administration on the socioeconomic fabric of Portuguese society, including the impact on education, health, innovation and digital transition, job creation, poverty alleviation, international competitiveness, climate change, and so on. At the same time, it provides invaluable insights to improve public administration processes by highlighting good and comparable practices: reuse of open data shared by multiple Public Entities and contextualized connection to other public portals optimizes development needs and accessibility concerns include all users.
A design focusing on citizens’ needs supported by several iteration tests with different user profiles (reports https://transparencia.gov.pt/pt/acessibilidade) enhances the impact of the easy access and understanding of the information by civil society and companies. Furthermore, the portal was audited and awarded the gold seal of accessibility (WCAG 2.1 – W3C) and usability.
The project will continue to deliver new areas and the respective in-depth analysis of data, identifying: 1) Best representation for such data, taking into consideration the complex network of interdependences between institutions; 2) Relevant indicators of public administration functioning which meet the needs and expectations of different stakeholders; and 3) Most adequate archetypes for data communication build on a visual narrative premise, considering audience and each dimension of public administration.
Summing it all up, the portal presents to citizens, businesses, academia and media - in an easy-to-understand manner - all information on public expenditure and investments, promoting not only transparency and accountability, but also the sharing of best practices and reusable solutions.
The existing reach of public data transmission is mostly limited and does not communicate with the general population. Most data formats do not allow the general public to readily obtain crucial facts regarding the operation of public administration, which hinders public auditing of public administration bodies and governance. In Portugal, most public data portals publish tabular data, which is challenging to examine for the amateur in data science. A lack of publicly available and trustworthy data reduces trust in government while also impeding data reuse and, as a result, economic value and knowledge generation. Transparency and openness are critical components for building confidence and promoting democracy and as such, the Transparency Plus Portal, which debuted in 2021, was a significant step forward.