Gestao Integrada de Contra-Ordenacoes (GIC)

Published on: 29/04/2009

"Contra-ordenações" is a kind of legal process whose direct translation would be "against the order". These processes are caused by offenses or infractions of the local laws and regulations as also to the traffic laws. This kind of process plays a leading role in defining the outlines of the municipal policy that aims to be efficient and capable of ensuring decrease rates of consolidated infractions.

Before the GIC implementation, it was very dificult to handle those processes. The complexity of the legal process and the reduced ability in their management and control, associated with a growing knowledge of the law by the offenders leding to an increased number of defences, had result in some failures:

  • Significant delays in the course of the process, resulting in a big time gap between the moment the infrigement was commited and its legal resolution. This situation would reduce the consistence of the penalty.
  • A high number of prescribed process, caused by time limits or incorrect process procedures, encourages a sense of impunity in the offenders.

In this context, GIC was developed to help solving those problems. GIC is an integrated system that supports the automation of all the procedures for the "against the order" process. It is a web based tool and supports internally an entire organizational unit. The most relevant  characteristic of this system is that all the legislations, all the infractions and all the fines are embedded, so that GIC can elaborate automatically all main process documents and trace the procedures and process steps to follow up.

In this sense, GIC accelerates all the internal procedures and consistently reduce the paper work.

Policy Context

This system is aligned to the national e-Government Action Plan objectives, aiming to deliver integrated, customer-focused services, with higher quality and efficiency.

The improvement on the management and control of the "against the order" process allows a reduction of the time for the process follow up and promotes uniform procedures. Before the system implementation, there used to be the feeling that the Porto Municipal Council was unable to enforce its regulations. GCI induces therefore changes in behaviour and attitude, fighting the feeling of impunity among municipality and citizens.

Description of target users and groups

GIC main target is the internal organizational unit who handles the "against the order" legal processes. As citizens are directly involved in this kind of processes, they are also target users of the system.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The first step was to gather all the legal procedures in order to identify relevant weaknesses and better evaluate the project approach. The goal was not only to implement an integrated system, but also to optimize the process itself. Once defined the project implementation approach, it was necessary to define the technical architecture structure, taking into account different future needs and evolutions; the options available were either standard or open source architectures. The entire  workflow of the  process roll out had to be evaluated under this new approach, in order to reduce and optimize the bureaucratic and administrative paperwork.

Once the project and the application specifications had been defined, the application development could start. After the development of the first software version, we started an iteration process in order to review the application specifications. This was a very complex procedure, some lacks of specification were detected and it was necessary to redefine them to achieve a fully functional and operational product.

Technology solution

Once defined that the main objective was to implement a web-based solution, technical decisions were taken according to two main needs: a solid database platform for the support of a large amount of information and flawless operation, and the use of standard, or de-facto standard technologies.

The tecnhical plataform and tools used were:

  • Data Base Management System Oracle 10g R2.
  • Web Application supported by a framework based on Oracle PL-SQL
  • Reports and other features were supported by "Open Source" Tools.

    Technology choice: Standards-based technology, Open source software

    Main results, benefits and impacts

    The main goal achieved by this project is a higher sense of satisfaction for the citizens. In order to reach that benefit, a more efficient process workflow was necessary as much as the reduction of  the time to complete the process, the possibility of mistakes and the lack of communication among organizational units.

    The main impacts and benefits registered are:

    • Faster document routing among different departments in the organizational units.
    • Reduction of classification errors.
    • Better documents quality and organization among the different fine process information types.
    • Consistent document standardization.
    • Complete digital process, enabling cost-reduction, better process handling, easy archive access to the expeditions procedures.
    • Full process control and management, due to an accurate data process control of the different phases: participation, instruction, decision, judicial/court and archiving. GIC enables the control and monitoring of all the performed tasks, of the pending processes, legal deadlines, process steps timings, etc.
    • New payment options, like the ATM system and online registration.
    • Increased payment security and better receipt control.
    • Process security globally increased.

    The GIC is a tool that ensures greater flexibility, speed and safety for all stakeholders, bringing enormous benefits to the Porto City Council and to the citizens.

    Return on investment

    Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

    Track record of sharing

    GIC is an integrated system supporting generic and traffic related "against the order" processes, so it can be useful to similar organizations both by local and central administrations.

    Considering the technical approach implemented, the complete fine process integration and the legislation inclusion, GIC could be used as a model by those organizations.

    Lessons learnt

    • Every task and its expected evolution need to be clearly planned from the beginning. Being GIC a totally new procedural approach to the legal field it was very difficult to define complete and accurate specifications outlines. Due to this lack of accuracy, it was necessary to perform all the relevant adjustments, both in it re-engineering components and in software development. Some other adjustments where needed within the project group.
    • In a first moment the users did not realize all the potentials and the features the system could provide, but on other hand, the developers did not have an overall vision of all the issues arising in a process. It was therefore necessary to perform a complex interactive simulation process to adjust the application specifications accordingly. Those adjustments demanded more time and more work than expected. A better planning and team management would have brough to better and faster results.
    • We needed to the choose good technologies and technological standards and defined a standard based model approach as a technical solution for this project; this is one of the main goals achieved.

    The project has already evolved and continues evolving without any technological restrictions.

    Scope: Local (city or municipality)