Jury Panel for the Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment 2014 commenced

Jury Panel for the Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment 2014 commenced

November 02, 2014

  • SMEs competing this year for the first time in the Award
  • 70 projects across 39 governmental entities and private sector organizations vying to win awards
  • 13 international independent jury members including 2 Omanis expert in eGovernment

The Jury session for HM Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment 2014 has started officially yesterday. Jury members convened at the Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carleton Hotel, in Muscat and will continue their deliberations from 1-5 November 2014, during which time 70 submitted projects from 39 government and private entities will be evaluated according to set criteria. The Award recognizes entities’ innovation in the field of eGovernment services provision and encourages leading and innovative ideas in the digital arena.

On the Jury Panel work, Dr. Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of ITA, said: “The Jury Panel results will not be subject to change and modifications and the results will be announced in the Award Ceremony to be held in December 2014. We thank all the participating entities and we are sure that the Jury Panel recommendations will be of a great value to them to enhance their eServices. The private sector participation in the Award is good; however, we are looking for more participation from other organizations to take the level of eServices provision in the Sultanate to a higher level.”

Speaking on the new additions to the Jury Panel this year, Shariffa Mohammed Al Meskary, Director of International Relations & Information, says: “For the first time in HM Award Jury Panel, we are glad to introduce two Omani juries who are experts in eGovernment and technology to join the international juries and exchange ideas and information. Besides evaluating the Award projects, the jury panel has to submit a final report consisting of their findings and recommendations of the way forward for e.oman.  Hence the Omani juries shall assist in providing information of the social and cultural trends in Oman reflecting the internet usage, eGovernment services, SMEs development and market opportunities, etc…”

Talking about the Jury Chairman, Al Meskary says: “The HM Award 2014 Chief Jury is from the World Bank, Mr. Chris Vein who is the Chief Innovation Officer for Global Information and Communications Technology Development, World Bank; and he was the Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer for Government Innovation in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. I believe that he is the right person to head the Jury Panel this year as the eGovernment projects are developing in the Sultanate and he will give us valid recommendations on the way forward for the eTransformation plan. Prior to joining the White House, Mr. Vein was the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the City of San Francisco where he led the City in becoming a national force in the application of new media platforms, use of open source applications, creation of new models for expanding digital inclusion, emphasizing “green” technology, and transforming government.”

On the SMEs evaluation and new international juries invited this year, Al Meskary says: “The SMEs are participating for the first time in this year’s edition; hence, we have invited a senior expert who oversees Prince Charles Charities (in over 40 countries) and help youth to start their businesses. He will assist in the evaluation of the SMEs submitted projects. This year also we have two juries from international organizations:  a Senior Inter-Regional Adviser on e-Government from United Nations Division for Economic & Social Affairs (UNDESA) which is the division responsible for evaluating and ranking UN member countries in eGovernment, and a Senior Director of ICT and eGovernment from the UN Regional Office - ESCWA.”
On the assessment process that was held immediately after the registration, Fatma Al Riyami, Head of Award Committee and Director of Operational Excellence at ITA, says: “The assessment phase helps the Jury in their evaluation as it contains Site Visits Review, eHealth Checks, eMystery Shopper and Public eVoting. This year we had over 13 assessors to assess the submitted projects, 14 eMystery shoppers and 2969 eVotes. The assessors were chosen based on their expertise in eGovernment field and technology in general.”

About the Award
The Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment was launched in 2010 by the Information Technology Authority (ITA) aiming to bring about a qualitative shift in the eServices in the Sultanate and honoring government projects achievement in the provision of their eServices. Since then, the Award has progressed in different aspects including assessment, evaluation mechanisms and Award categories.
This year, the award contains 13 categories including; 9 categories for the government entities, these include the four core categories of Best eContent, Best eService, Best eProject that contains two sub categories: collaborative and interoperable, and eReadiness. There are five sub-categories under eService: G2G, G2E, G2B, G2C and Mobile Services. As well, under the eProject category are two sub-categories: Individual and Collaborative.

The private sector big organizations are competing in 2 categories: Best Public Mobile eServices and Best Public eServices; and the SMEs, for the first time, are competing in 2 categories: Best Public Mobile eServices and Best eSolution.

Jury Members
To ensure maximum transparency and credibility in the process, ITA has selected an 11- international independent jury comprised of experts from around the world: Republic of Poland, United Kingdom, Kingdom of Denmark, India and the United States of America, Republic of Argentina, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Heading the team of Jury Members for 2014 is Mr. Chris Vein, the Jury Chairman. In order to benefit from the international jury and to have clear understanding about the submitted projects and the work nature and culture in the Sultanate, 2 Omani experts in eGovernment joined the Jury Session this year: Dr. Ahmed Salim Sultan Al Hosni and Dr. Hafedh Ibrahim Al Shihi.

Monitoring and mediating the Jurors and jury processes is an observing jury: Jeremy Millard from United Kingdom. The remaining nine members of the jury, include: Louise Thomasen, Vikas Kanungo, Richard Kerby, Matt Poelmans, Elsa Estevez, Dr. Haidar Fraihat, Andrew Stott, Theresa Pardo and Andrew Fiddaman.

For more information
The Information Technology Authority (ITA), as the authority responsible for establishing and managing the Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment, advises potential applicants from the three target segments to contact the Award Management Team at ITA for more information via email: HMaward@ita.gov.om; or by telephone: +968 24166800; or by fax: +968 24166604. The Award website www.ita.gov.om/hmaward also serves as a resource of valuable information related to the Award program.