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Digital Government Act (No. 24 of 2022)
The purpose of the Act is to establish the E-Governance and Digitalization Department; to promote and regulate the provision of electronic government (e-government) services; to use information and communication technology as a core element in public administration to create public value and to increase citizen participation; to provide enhanced access to government information and services; and to improve the operational performance, effectiveness, and efficiency of the Government of Belize.
Right to access information (articles 3 (2-f, I), 8 (e), 9)
Some of the purposes of this Act are to provide enhanced access to government information and services in a manner consistent with laws regarding the protection of personal privacy, national security, records retention, access for persons with disabilities, and other relevant laws, promote the use of the internet and emerging technologies within and across government agencies, provide citizen-centric government information and services, and promote access to high-quality government information and services across multiple channels. The Director shall work with the Ministry and other agencies to support the implementation of the national digital agenda relating to access to, dissemination of and preservation of government information. The administrative procedures for all regulated entities shall make use of information and communication technologies in order to improve the quality of public services and optimize the management of administrative procedures; be carried out electronically; exchange information through the use of electronic and automated means; ensure that the integrity, veracity and authenticity of information is maintained; be clear, simple, agile, rational, pertinent, useful, and intelligible and to be public and transparent.
Active transparency (articles 15(d, g) 12, 13)
The interconnection, interoperability, and exchange of data or information between various agencies, entities and applications owned by different public sector agency shall be govern by various principles, one of them the Transparency Principle, meaning that data exchange participants shall ensure internal visibility and provide external interfaces for electronic government services. Also, data providers shall ensure integrity and veracity of data information systems. Every public sector agency shall publish, on the government website, the administrative procedures that can be processed by that Public Sector Agency and the requirements to be fulfilled and submitted for such processing; develop and maintain a list of the services provided to other agencies and persons; publish the list of services it provides on a central government-maintained repository and where possible, on its own website. The entities regulated by this Act, shall ensure that the new administrative procedures established do no generate unnecessary burdens for the citizens or administrative expenses, and that the policies shall be clear, precise, concrete, and publicly accessible.
Public participation (article 3 (2-c)
One of the purposes of this Act is to promote the use of the internet and other information technologies and provide increased opportunities for citizen participation in government and other daily activities.
Participation in plans, programmes and policies (article 7)
The Department (e-Governance and Digitalization Department) will foster dialogue to identify opportunities for public, private, and intergovernmental collaboration in addressing the disparities in access to the internet and information technology. Also, the Department will sponsor activities to engage the general public in the development and implementation of policies and programs, particularly activities aimed at fulfilling the goal of using the most effective citizen-centered government strategies.