Integrity in education: a study on corruption and ethical principles in high schools

  • Project aim and locale

The project aims to raise awareness regarding the benefits of ethical behavior in high schools, both on the part of teachers and administrative staff, as well as students and parents.

  • Project outcomes

• 8 focus groups with representatives of target groups;

• 4 training courses

• 1 final seminar to disseminate good practices and information on internal complaint mechanisms;

• 1 guide on applying ethical principles and fighting corruption in high schools.

Legislative proposal concerning municipal property

Via Iuris advocated for and helped to draft legislation introducing efficient and transparent criteria (e.g. public announcement, transparent decision-making) concerning the sale of municipal property to individuals. Via Iuris started its project with a complaint filed with the European Commission which then asked the Slovak Government to adopt the necessary legislation. Pressured by the EC, the Ministry of Finance cooperated with Via Iuris in drafting the law. Before the adoption of the law, mayors could sell land to their relatives at a very low price.

Local ombudsman in the Rhodope region municipalities – establishing a best practice model for monitoring, civil control and partnership

The project aimed to establish an efficient civic control on the services provided by local authorities and to guarantee the access of citizens to public services. Some of the project main activities were: 1. building premises for the establishment of local Ombudsman institution in the municipalities of Chepelare, Banite and Nedelino; 2. realization of three round tables with participants from the local authorities on the discussion on the Ombudsman institution; 3. radio broadcast on the topic: “100 answers about corruption””; 4. development of an anti-corruption web site; 5. realization of a closing regional conference regarding the prospects for an efficient work of the local Ombudsman institution.”

Public Policy Program “Strengthening of Civic Activism in Bosnia & Herzegovina in Electoral and Post-Electoral Processes”””

The basic goal of this project was to build and promote an efficient, transparent and participative process of creating and implementing public policy in BiH through organized action and citizens’ and CSOs advocacy, with the purpose of building a political responsible and consistent authority at all levels of BiH society. During three-years period, planned project activities were implemented in a total of 36 local communities in both of BiH entities. In 2008, project activities were implemented in 15 municipalities in cooperation with local organizations: Velika Kladuša, Donji Vakuf, Trebinje, Rudo, Vlasenica, Modriča, Kalinovik, Bihać, Livno, Bugojno, Goražde, Tuzla, Sarajevo and Doboj.

Implementation of Integrity Pacts in Three Large Construction Projects

The purpose of the grant was to improve transparency and increase efficiency in procuring and constructing three public projects – the National Library, the Acoustic Concert Hall and the Contemporary Arts Museum, all under the responsibility of the Latvian Ministry of Culture. This was to be accomplished through an “Integrity Pact” signed in September 2005 between the Ministry and DELNA.
The grant was expected to result in:
• More transparency in the procurement processes for the three projects resulting in lower project costs.
• An enhanced dialog between the public and private sectors and NGOs on transparency matters
• Anti-corruption policies and guidelines adopted by a number of private companies
• Based on the experiences of these projects improvements in the Latvian legislation and procurement practices.

Transparent District (pilot)

The project was a pilot for the larger project Transparent Poland (’Przejrzysta Polska’). The goal of this first stage was to elaborate, in cooperation with 16 local governments, a model of tasks, which these governments were to implement in order to attain project objectives. The model was later to be scaled up in the following stage, i.e. the massive action. The project set forth six rules, which should be present in the functioning of public offices and officials at the local level. Those were: transparency, citizens participation, no toleration for corruption, professionalism, predictability and accountability. Within the program the participating governments had to fulfill certain solutions/tasks which were related to each of these six rules, e.g. elaboration an ethical code of conduct for public officials and members of local councils, creating a road map of local initiatives, elaborating materials that in an accessible way explain the role and creation of budgets and community’s strategy etc.

Raising Awareness of the Essence of Corruption and Strengthening the Fight Against it in Estonian Society

The aim of the project was to increase the interest of the public in the essence of corruption and to call the relevant state structures for closer cooperation. The researches on the situation of legislation dealing with corruption in the Republic of Estonia were implemented resulting in written analysis. A seminar and conference “Corruption in Estonia”” also took place.”

The Coalition for Clean Government

The initiative continued the work of the successful Coalition for a Clean Parliament. The members of the CCP decided to continue the monitoring of the public arena creating a Coalition for a Clean Government bringing up new issues and new approaches:

  • Declarations of wealth and interests – In the spring of 2005, SAR together with other members of the coalition argued for the improvement of the declarations of wealth and interest especially for high-level civil servants and dignitaries. SAR participated in several discussions and got involved in a working group created for drafting of new forms for the declarations of wealth and interest that would enable the public scrutiny of the wealth and interests of politicians and public servants. The effects of the new legislation were visible. Journalists used these instruments as means to monitor, identify and signaled existing irregularities in the 2005-2006 declarations. Furthermore the Prosecutors Office has also started investigations on these issues. All these indicate a better fit of this format and transformed it into an effective instrument. However six members of Parliament have initiated a new law attempting to replace again the established format with a vague and less detailed one. Unfortunately the law received tacit approval in the Senat in mid February 2006 but due to the critical stance taken by SAR representatives in the media, the Social-Democratic Party expressed their opposition to the project and the initiators (members of SDP) have spoken about the withdrawal of their proposal.
  • Increase transparency in public acquisitions – the coalition has addressed the issues of transparentization of public contracts. In October 2005 sixteen organizations made a public appeal for the legal endorsement of the principle that any contract of public acquisition, public-private partnership, concession, privatization etc should become automatically public from the moment of its signature, excluding thus any confidentiality clauses. The Government was opened to NGOs proposal and formed a working group, inviting SAR and other NGOs to participate. The working group has already drafted changes of the legislation that not only complies with the European acquis, but set even higher standards and it might become a model of transparency in public acquisitions. The project is now on the table of the Government to decide on the most appropriate procedure for approval.
  • Support anti-corruption policies – the efficiency of the anti-corruption fight was one of the most critical issues for the European integration of Romania. In December 2004, the Brussels European Council decided the conclusion of the accession negotiations with Romania but included specific safeguard clauses that would allow the postponement of the date of accession with a year. anti-corruption fight was one of the red-flagged areas and significant improvement of its efficiency is needed in a very short time. Although significant steps had been taken in the right direction, the reforms were still on the edge as they were facing the (open or hidden) opposition from people in decision positions feeling threatened by recent developments. Therefore a close public scrutiny of the whole process was needed to early signal and to prevent any potential derailment from the right track as it had been seen in the rejection of the law approving the OUG 134/2005.

Promoting Transparency and Accountability

The Accountability Project was implemented as part of TI BiH’s overall programme activities within AC DC programme (Anti-corruption Delivery Change).
The AC DC programme includes components such as analysis and monitoring of public institutions (at the state and entity levels), advocacy and promotion of anti-corruption reforms on the basis of the problems identified through analysis and monitoring, and provision of expert support to institutions with the aim of implementing anti-corruption reforms.
The Accountability Project will focus particularly on strengthening the enforcement mechanisms for the conflict of interest law through monitoring and analysis of implementation of the law and functioning of the institutions responsible for implementing the law, on the basis of which priorities will be identified for advocating and promoting necessary reforms aimed at strengthening law enforcement mechanisms.

Partnership between the civil society and the administration – a guarantee for transparency, accountability and control

The project aimed at increasing the transparency and accountability of the regional and local administrations by providing mechanisms for control over their activities through the establishment of a strategic partnership with the civil society. Some of the activities that the project foresee are: 1. development of information channels between the administration and the civil society through information campaigns, TV channels (24 programs in total), brochures, publications in the media etc.; 2. selection and implementation of best practices with regard to transparency, accessibility and accountability in the selected municipal administrations; 3. realization of seminars, round tables, workshops as well as educational seminars for experts from the municipal administrations with representatives from the civil society sector; 4. realization of a “day of the open doors”” in the selected administrations; 5. development of a guidance document regarding the opportunities that a partnership between the civil society and the administration can offer.”

Youth against corruption

The main goal of this country-wide undertaking was to enhance social awareness about anti-corruption activities, i.e. promoting discussion about corruption and strengthening anti-corruption behavior among citizens.
• Within the project an e-course was organized targeted at pupils, students, teachers to inform them about anti-corruption and mechanisms of fighting corruption. The course lasted 5 months in 2008 (5 parts all together accomplished by 45 participants).
• 21 local projects have been carried out, which encompassed not only schools but also local communities and some labor groups (e.g. doctors)
• A mini-library of corruption related materials was organized and may be found at www.ceo.org.pl/portal/b_mpk_eplatforma_antykorupcyjna_ebiblioteka_antykorupcyjna or www.wsap.edu.pl/_e_biblioteka.html
• Ethical code of conduct for public officials and teachers was elaborated and discussed
• A conference on the ethical code of conduct of public administration officials was organized (103 participants)

Capacity building in support of cooperative and participatory processes

The goal of this project was to support the establishment of basic preconditions for participatory cooperation between regional authorities, municipalities and civil society groups in the planning and implementation of the social and economic reform process in Marneuli and Gardabani districts. Target groups: Local councilors, NGO, the general public.

Monitoring Government’s Initiatives to Address “State capture” Issues

The project was set up to help draft Anti-Corruption Legislation and to allow the grant receiver NGO to participate in three working groups set up by the Latvian Government to prepare legislation on political party finance, a new corruption law on public officials’ conflict of interest and a proposed new anti-corruption bureau to investigate corrupt officials. The objective was both to monitor the legislative process and to have an impact on the shape of this legislation. The main goal was to create a basis and a structure for closer cooperation and dialogue between the government and civil society. About half the funding was spent on expert services and the other half on support services, communications and distribution of reports.

Transparent Poland I – Massive Action

The project ‘Przejrzysta Polska’ (PP) is the largest program of this kind in Poland. It is state-wide and has been running since 2003 until today (although initially planned to last only 2 years). It has been organized by a coalition of widely recognizable polish NGOs, one of the biggest polish daily papers, international donors and recognizable individuals, e.g. the former ombudsman.

Moreover it had a large coverage in the media; some printed media as well as main channels of public TV and public radio took a patronage over the project. Thanks to its large scope and the backing from popular and widely known organizations and individuals, the project obtained a large support from local self-governments across the country.

The actors involved as well as project organizers have been changing over time, but the Foundation in Support of Local Democracy was always main part of it (here I would like to thank Ms. Katarzyna Żelichowska, for her invaluable support and patience to my questions regarding this program as well as other undertakings carried out by the Foundation).

The project’s goal was to improve quality of public life and local governance as well as to invigorate civil society. The PP aimed at those districts (local-governments), which were willing to cooperate with NGOs and citizens to improve local governance and wipe out from public life corruption and other pathologies. It also envisaged activating not only public official, but also local NGOs and citizens. Realization of scheduled tasks was to on the one hand enhance local governments’ resistance to corruption and unethical behavior, and on the other hand to ease access to public information to regular citizens as well as to make it easier for citizens to get their things accomplished in local offices.

The project set forth six rules, which should be present in the functioning of public offices and officials at the local level. Those were: transparency, citizens participation, no toleration for corruption, professionalism, predictability and accountability. Within the program the participating governments had to fulfill certain solutions/tasks which were related to each of these six rules, e.g. elaboration an ethical code of conduct for public officials and members of local councils, creating a road map of local initiatives, elaborating materials that in an accessible way explain the role and creation of budgets and community’s strategy etc.

On the basis of a model elaborated during the first stage of the project (Transparent District), this massive action took place. During the second stage (Transparent Poland – Massive Action) invitations were sent out to all local governments in Poland, of which 800 took part in the undertaking in 2005. Over 400 finished it and they were granted with certificates of the project. All the local governments were to attain objectives in each of the six program areas in order to accomplish the project. They had 12 months to do so.

kysiai.lt

The goal of the project is to play part in fighting corruption in Lithuania by encouraging people to openly discuss about corruption and the ways to fight it, talk about known cases of corruption. The website includes a possibility to inform about giving/taking of bribes. People are using this opportunity, they are anonymously telling about the cases of corruption. These letters are then given to the Special Investigation Services.

Access to justice: Introduction of the model “Legal assistance bureau”””

The project aimed to bring about a change in the regulation and grant people the right to receive legal assistance. Its main activities included: 1. data collection and analysis of the system for providing legal assistance by the officially appointed defense lawyers and attorneys; 2.qualitative and quantitative data accumulation and processing concerning the process of providing legal assistance in cases of defense provided by the state; 3. alternative model testing for providing legal assistance by the so-called Legal Assistance Bureau; 4. analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative methods for improving the quality of legal assistance and formulating a public policy by means of which an alternative can be applied.

Coalition for FOIA

In 2001, a coalition of Romanian NGOs led by SAR successfully acted as a catalyst in building consensus for the adoption of a Law on Access to Public Information (also known as FOIA). In a context where legislative initiatives from the Government and the Opposition had been submitted to the Parliament, and a Law on Classified Information was also envisaged, in March 2001 a civil society coalition was forged, which effectively facilitated consultations between the Government (Ministry of Public Information) and the Opposition (National Liberal Party). The result of this process was a common agreement by all parties to a draft law that was subsequently adopted by the Parliament in September 2001. The final version of the FOIA incorporated articles and concepts developed by the Romanian civil society organizations based on the Slovak and Bulgarian experience.

Participation and integrity in local budgets 2004

 

The project aimed to increase transparency and integrity in public budget design and implementation, and to encourage participation of local civil society in community issues.

TI Romania delivered training to local civil society organizations, evaluated community priorities in regard to the local budget, evaluated the relationship between the local civilian and business communities and the administration, wrote the good practices guide and organized round tables with all stakeholders to debate on the negative and positive aspects of the situation and incorporated observations and suggestions for improving the way in which the administration-citizens relationship functions.

Outcomes

  • Training instruments for civil society organizations;
  • Guide to monitoring public budget implementation;
  • Evaluations of transparency and integrity focusing on public acquisitions and mechanisms to grant authorizations/licenses for business activities;
  • Good practices guide containing recommendations on how to address deficiencies noted during the project.
Budget:

            £ 73,944

Cooperation for Development

The goal of this project was to support the establishment of transparent and efficient procedures in everyday work of local government units, strengthen human capacities and support citizen involvement in public decision making. Target group: Local councilors, district administration office, the general public.