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John Smith Memorial Trust E-Newsletter | January 2011



Welcome to the John Smith Memorial Trust E-Newsletter | January 2011

 
This issue includes: JSMT Visits, Fellows" News, UGPN Policy Club Lecture, Reid new appointments

2011 John Smith Fellowship Programme

The application process for the 2011 John Smith Fellowship Programme is now closed and short listing has been conducted at the London office. Short listed candidates will be interviewed in the Trust"s seven Fellowship countries over the next few weeks. Details of the interview visits are as follows:

Armenia Trustee Dennis Sammut OBE conducts the interviews in Yerevan on 21st January.
Azerbaijan JSMT Director Brian Brivati travels to Baku where the interviews take place on 31st January.
Georgia In Tbilisi, Trustee Dennis Sammut OBE conducts the interviews on 19th January.
Kyrgyzstan JSMT Deputy Director Karen Widess conducts the interviews in Bishkek on 1st February.
Moldova Adviser Rt Hon George Reid conducts the interviews on 26/27th January in Chisinau.
Russia In Moscow, Trustee Roger Munnings conducts the interviews on 28th January.
Ukraine Trustee Dennis Sammut OBE conducts the interviews on 17th January in Kiev.

Final selection will be made by the John Smith Memorial Trust in February 2011 and selected candidates will be contacted soon after.

Fellows" News

Armenia Poghos Shahinyan (2004 Fellow) and the National Road Safety Council of Armenia have been awarded the HRH Prince Michael International Road Safety Award, presented in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the improvement of road safety. 

Russia Liliya Shcheglova (2006 Fellow) has been appointed as JSMT Russia Coordinator.

Russia
Anna Sevortian (2006 Fellow) writes for Open Democracy on human rights in Russia. Please use the following link to read her article Read More 

Ukraine
Volodymyr Kuzminskyi (2007 Fellow) has been appointed as Team Leader to the Technical Assistance to Sector Policy Support Programme, Tajikistan.

Trust Director delivers UGPN lecture on E-Governance and Public Finance

On January 11th 2011, Professor Brian Brivati was the inaugural speaker at the new home of the UGPN policy club in Tbilisi, Georgia. He spoke on the theme of "E-Governance, Digital Democracy and Public Finance - the UK Experience." There was a lively debate featuring John Smith Fellows and key practitioners who are modernizing Georgia"s governmental practice.

In his presentation, Brian described the way in which the newly elected coalition government in Britain has insisted that all departments publish their business plans on their websites, as well as spending plans for the next four years and that all local councils do the same. This will send a huge volume of financial data into the public sphere. The rise of e-government has made this possible and it is very unlikely that future governments will be able to end this practice once it has started. 

Sites have already started to appear which examine the material. Those like armchairauditor.co.uk and wheredoesmymoneygo.org will ensure that the data generates news stories and names and shames badly performing departments. This is the best interface between e-government and digital democracy, stated Brian. The question is which works better in holding governments to account and which matters more? Is it the citizen understanding how governments spend and using government services to let civil servants know how they are performing, or is it the blogger on his/her website ranting at the world and its unfairness. We need both argued Brian, but what matters in terms of financial accountability is that the data is released and that citizens are educated in understanding it. For this the NGO sector needs to get involved and design the tools and reporting mechanisms to make this data work in the promotion of democracy. 

UGPN policy club can be found on Facebook here

Two new positions for JSMT Adviser Rt Hon George Reid

Trust Adviser, the Rt Hon George Reid, has been appointed to two new public positions in London and Cardiff. He is now a UK Electoral Commissioner and Chair of the statutory Remuneration Board of the National Assembly for Wales.

The Electoral Commission is responsible for the financial regulation of political parties, the conduct of elections and referendums, and the registration of voters. The Remuneration Board determines the salaries and allowances of Ministers, Members and staff of the Welsh legislature.

Mr Reid said: "These jobs fit well with my work for the John Smith Trust and its commitment to good governance and the democratic process."

Since his retirement from politics when he demitted office as Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament in 2007, George Reid has led strategic reviews and reforms of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the National Trust for Scotland.

 

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