‘Civic Society Anti-Corruption Response’, Croatia and Kosovo (2008)

The project implemented by SAR together with PSD Croatia and COHU Kosovo aimed to strengthen the ability of partner organizations to implement anti-corruption advocacy projects. The program monitored the entire process, from policy-making to research to advocacy.

Croatia

  • Report on conflicts of interest, distributed electronically to all stakeholders
  • Hold an international conference in May 2008, with the participation of all partners, to present the status quo on conflicts of interest, the mechanisms that can be used to disclose them and civil society involvement in projects that would increase civil servants’ responsibility
  • Advocacy activities regarding the campaing entitled “Yes for Parliament with Clean Hands”, implemented by BURA before the parliamentary elections. The campaign was shaped after the Coalition for a Clean Parliament
  • Activities for consolidating the BURA NGO network, coordinated by PSD – meetings, public events, discussions

Kosovo

  • Report regarding conflicts of interest, the efficiency of statal instruments against corruption (including research on two conflicts of interest programs  and assets statements), distributed electronically to all the stakeholders
  • International conference in April 2008. The participants list included SAR, COHU and MJAFT. The conference aimed to to present the status quo on conflicts of interest, the mechanisms that can be used to disclose them and civil society involvement in projects that would increase civil servants’ responsibility

Implemented from January 1, 2008 to December 15, 2008

 

Development of a sustainable system for civil monitoring of the effectiveness and transparency of the work of the public administration and for overcoming the existing deficiencies of the administrative services for the citizens and for the business

The project aimed at increasing the transparency and accountability of the public administration through the creation of a sustainable system for inclusion of the civil society structures in the formulation and implementation activities of the public administration. In short, the project included: 1. an analysis of the current deficiencies in the work of the public administration with the citizens and the business; 2. formulation and development of mechanisms for improvement through analyses of best practices; 3. implementation of a sustainable system for cooperation that guarantees the constant involvement of the civil society actors in the practical implementation of the policies of the public administration in four pilot municipalities; 4. realization of seminars for the target groups concerning the European best practices of good governance.

Transparent County Councils!?

The project aims to: 1. assess and improve the current state of affairs regarding performance reporting practices of Romanian county level political decision makers; 2. enhance policy-learning among local decision makers in performance reporting and the publishing of assessment results; 3. showcase best practice in performance reporting and directly target political decision makers with assessment results and recommendations on how to improve their performance reports; 4. raise public awareness on performance reporting practices of political decision makers.

Limitation of the corrupt practices in the fields of public health services and the educational system in Pernik municipality through enhancing the role of civil society

The project aimed to build a capacity for the existing public anti-corruption council in Pernik Municipality. The project supported the establishment of mechanisms for reporting corrupt cases by citizens in the sphere of public health services and education system. It also aimed to improve the legal culture of citizens through the realization of informational and educational campaigns.

Assessment of FOIA compliance (2002/2005)

In November 2005 a financing contract was signed for a new project funded by the European Union through Phare program. The project started to be implemented at the end of 2005 and during 2006 we have conducted an evaluation of the respect of transparency laws by public authorities. According to the law each public institution is required to publish an annual report (activity and financial) but the rate of compliance with these procedures reached a feeble 4% of all public bodies (as presented by a quantitative evaluation conducted by the Romanian Government). Following an in-depth research, the project aims to identify best-practice models and to train representatives of the public bodies in how to collect data and to put them together in an annual report which will provide relevant and accurate information to the public.
This project is a follow-up of the advocacy campaign run by SAR in 2000 for the adoption of FOIA. A first assessment of its implementation was carried in 2002 and indicating unsatisfactory compliance with legal provision. For the current project we use the same methodology and sample as in 2002 allowing comparisons.

Sofia University legal database

The project aimed to a transparent control and management system to oversee and update university regulations and departmental decisions concerning students, administrative and academic staff. By doing so, the project aimed to increase the transparency and accountability of the academic institution and to incorporate practices of good governance. The project was realized in the course of Coalition 2000 and USAID Open Government Initiative Project: “Civil Society Against Corruption”” – Small Grants Program.”

Local Civic Groups

From 2000 to 2005 the Batory Foundation carried out a program to develop a network of Local Civic Groups, which were to monitor the exercise of authority by local officials as well as to educate local communities on greater transparency of public life.

The Foundation organized on an annual basis a set of trainings and workshops (9 meetings each lasts 2 days and take place every 4-5 weeks). These leadership trainings intend to prepare local leaders to develop their leadership skills as well as to train them in hard skills, like knowledge of legal regulations and consequences of corruption.

Over the last four years, the programm trained 68 individuals who have established 20 local citizens groups in both small communities and in large urban centers such as Cracow and Warsaw.

The project also provided technical and financial assistance to the Local Civic Group Leaders Association.
A series of advice manuals, practical guides and brochures (e.g..  Notes on Democracy – Citizen’s Anti-Corruption Guide series and Notes for Local Civic Group leaders) have been also developed.

Accountability Program in the Western Balkans I

The TI Accountability Programme addresses the existing deficiencies in governments accountability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia by proposing remedies in two key areas of good governance, which are currently insufficiently regulated:
– Conflict of interest of public officials
– Free access to information
The programme also aims at involving civil society in actively promoting and monitoring the above mentioned laws.
These goals are be reached by:
– Raising public awareness;
– Strengthening civil society in the region;
– Enhancing higher level of media professionalism;
– Reducing opportunities for conflict of interest of public officials;
– Ensuring free access to information for citizens.
The three-year programme is being implemented by the TI National Chapters in the respective countries and coordinated by he TI International Secretariat.

The project includes the following activities:
– Assessment of the existing legislation
– Improvement of the Laws
– Public awareness raising
– Training of journalists and CSOs representatives
– Training of public officials
– Monitoring the implementation of the Laws

Accountability Program in the Western Balkans II

This regional programme for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia aims strenghting implementation Access to Information law. The programme also aims at involving civil society in actively promoting and monitoring law.
Project goals:
– To improve the quality of Access to Information laws;
– To monitor and encourage harmonization with European standards;
– To maintain popular and media support for anti-corruption initiatives;
– To generate a body of knowledge on Access to Information for use in the region and beyond.
The one-year project was implemented by the TI National Chapters in the respective countries and coordinated by he TI International Secretariat.

The project included the following activities:
– Improving legal standards;
– Testing effectiveness of laws/analysis of obstacles to implementation;
– Assisting users of the law;
– Improving government capacity to implement laws;
– Exploring development of legal cases (e.g. preparation of pilot cases to challenge implementation of FOIA laws, or provisions of information to those preparing cases).

Advocacy and Legal Advice Centers

Goals of the project:
Provide the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina with an effective instrument for combating corruption in their everyday lives;
Provides citizens with free legal advice for reporting complaints of suspected corruption of public officials, or where the citizen is a victim or has knowledge of corrupt practices;
Makes information on citizens’ rights easily available and accessible to the public;
Raises citizen’s awareness of their rights and possibilities to take actions against corruption;
Opens a dialogue with the national institutions to support the establishment of appropriate mechanisms for citizens’ complaints in order to systemize and organize fight against corruption;
Monitor the work of responsible public institutions during processing of cases of corruption.
PROJECT ACTIVITIES:
Case studies of citizen’s complaints against corruption, using statistics and qualitative examples (who complains about what, which agencies were involved, which authorities were most vigilant in pursuing corruption, etc.);
Monthly press releases and reports to the public;
“Should I complain?” an ethical brochure for citizens about why individual action is important for combating corruption;
Training manual for government agencies on dealing with citizen’s complaints and obligations under freedom of information and conflict of interest;
Cooperation with journalists and radio and TV broadcasters on small programs about corruption cases.

Ethic promotion and fight against corruption

Project aims :
To develop anti-corruption programme and methodical recommendations for the universities students from six Bosnia and Herzegovina universities;
To introduce developed programme and methodical recommendations to the Ministries of Education at all the BiH governance levels;
To test anti-corruption education strategies and methods at the universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
To support the programmes and standards of education by promoting democratic values and attitudes;
To demonstrate possibilities of fight against corruption;
To raise awareness among youth about the character, spread, and impact of corruption;
To establish networks facilitating the creation of a permanent international youth forum that ensures sustainability in the global fight against corruption by creatingm the next generation of corruption fighters;
To add new momentum to the existing anti-corruption movement.
Project objectives :
To train student’s and profesor’s further responsible for the dissemination activities;
To educate student’s about National Integrity System, and give the best input for political science, civic education, history, ethics, psychology and informations;
To introduce the concept of corruption, its causes and effects (knowledge);
To motivate student’s for the fight against corruption;
To lay the foundation for the recruitment of the next generation of corruption fighters by informing youth about the dangers of an omnipresent and unconstraint corruption for their future and showing them a way to contribute to initiatives that try to change this situation;
To endorse the creation of a youth-run global network against corruption that adds new impetus to existing anti-corruption initiatives through fresh and original perspectives and enthusiasm of the next generation;
To train them in possible counter measures through the participation in key workshops, online discussions and networks with civil society;
To design an action plan together with student participants that steers follow-up initiatives and creates sustainable networks among youth, TI, universities, local and regional organizations.

Training on Investigative Journalism in Corruption Issues

This project successfully determined the trouble spots in BiH investigative journalism related to corruption issues. The impact was to raise awareness and locate the areas where corruption is most widespread. That is of direct benefit for the journalist as well as the general efforts to combat corruption in BIH. A pool of experts (Eva Vajda, Igor Gajic, Claudio Weber Abramo and other lectureres) provided a very effective training, which helped BiH journalists to more effectively deal with problems such as: identifying corruption, locating the information (official and alternative sources), source investigation and source protection, legal corridors for investigative journalists and prosecution of journalist. Positive aspects were establishing of country-wide co-operation among journalist and between journalist and TI BiH, almost as an informal network.

Transparency Training

The project intended to support of the Global Impact Initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina through trainings given to business sector with topic of anti-corruption. The project methodology helped the businesses to create a climate of no tolerance for corruption. Ideally, after the training each company should be able to create and implement its own Business Principles for Countering Bribery, with the content tailored to its organization and scope of activities.
Neither trainings in Sarajevo and Banja Luka exceeded more than thirty participants in order to maintain active participation and discussion.
The content of the trainings covers the following topics:
– Definitions, forms and consequences of corruption;
– Law on free access to information;
– Conflict of interest Law;
– Law on public procurement and TI Integrity Pact.
During each session participants had the opportunity to ask questions and openly discuss about their own experiences. This approach was strongly stimulated.
For each session TI BiH delivered appropriate training materials consist of laws, summary presentations, model Code of Conduct for business sector, model TI Integrity Pact, etc. Also, TI BiH will be at disposal to continue cooperation and provide concrete assistance in companies’ future work on business principles that promote transparency, accountability and anti-corruption.

Assessing the effect of the introduction of anti-corruption policies and practices in the context of the Bulgarian judicial reform

The project was provoked by the need to facilitate the creation of an effectively functioning independent and transparent judicial system in Bulgaria and was concentrated on two main activity lines. The first included assessment of the effects and challenges of procedural reorganization provoked by the introduction of newly implemented anti-corruption policies for raising the effectiveness of court administration (implemented by a social survey in four district courts, a legal analysis and a national on-line survey). The second activity line envisaged the provision of an auspicious ground for discussing the results of the conducted surveys, including the located trends in public opinion, and creating concrete proposals for new policies and practices that are able to further facilitate the ongoing process of modernization in the work of courts (implemented by a national round table).

Building capacity of the National Prosecution Office in the context of curbing corruption

The project aimed to support the National Prosecution Office when identifying the actual problems in the fight against corruption in view of improving the existing procedural rules, and identifying an effective model for increasing the transparency and efficiency in the investigation of cases of corruption. The main project objectives were: 1. to identify the actual problems of the Prosecution office which hinder it from successful counteraction of corruption; 2. to provide analytical (legal and sociological) research on the matter; 3. to initiate an on-going debate in order to make the prosecutors speak about their actual problems; 4. to suggest working mechanisms for effective implementation of the anti-corruption legislation when prosecuting crimes of bribery, trading in influence, bribery in the private sector or bribing of foreign officials; 5. to introduce foreign experience in achieving transparency in the Prosecution Office’s work and to increase the level of efficiency in investigating corruption; 6. to encourage the cooperation between the National Prosecution Office, on the one hand, and civil society and the media on the other.

Center for legal advice for victims of corruption

The creation of the Center for Advocacy and Legal Advice addressed the need to raise the public awareness of the challenges confronting the Bulgarian society in fighting corruption and to provoke public interest in the ways and mechanisms of fighting the phenomenon. The purpose of the Center was and still is to allow citizens to play an active role in fighting corruption by providing them with free legal assistance in their efforts to deal with corruption-related crimes by public institutions and civil servants. The Center also aims to raise the capacity and readiness of state institutions to work with citizens regarding corruption complaints.

Determining actual and potential hypothesis of conflict of interests in the state administration in Bulgaria

The project aimed at limiting the manifestations of conflict of interests hypothesis in the work of the Bulgarian public administration bodies, and a research methodology for analyzing such manifestations was elaborated. Furthermore the EU and other relevant international legislation was analyzed and a sociological survey on the public perception for the effectiveness of the conflict of interests regulation. As a result a Catalogue of Effective Legal Mechanisms for limiting the possibilities of conflict of interests manifestation in the work of the state administration was elaborated. A training course with administration officials for recognition and counteraction of the conflict of interests problem was realized.

Effective Investigation of European Union Funds Abuse in Bulgaria

The basic goal of the initiative was to raise the competencies of the Bulgarian investigative agencies and to harmonize the practices in the investigation of crimes concerning the financial interests of the European Communities. The imminent objective was to provide practical expert support to state investigators and prosecutors handling abuse of EU funds in Bulgaria.The outputs of the project are: 1. development of a methodology for the investigation of EU funds abuse; 2. publishing a manual, “Effective Investigation of European Union Funds Abuse in Bulgaria.” The manual is a practical guide to be used in the daily work of state investigators and prosecutors; 3. organizing a training seminar on the subject for state investigators and prosecutors handling EU funds abuse.

From good practices towards effective anti-corruption policies: Partnership between civil society structures and the public administration as a guarantor for enhancing transparency and accountability on national and local level

The project aimed to raise the capacity and create conditions for active involvement of civil society structures and public officials at local and regional level in the fight against corruption, as part of the general efforts to reform the public institutions in order to achieve higher efficiency, transparency and accountability. The basic goals of the project were: 1. to enhance the competencies and practical skills of civil society organizations and local and regional administrations in counteracting and preventing corruption by devising and applying concrete policies and practices of civil control and monitoring; 2. to raise the capacity of civil society structures and local and regional administrations for drafting of concrete strategies and project proposals for good governance; 3. to improve partnership skills between civil society organizations and Bulgaria’s public administration.

Increasing transparency in the work of the Bulgarian public administration by elaboration and implementation of conflict of interest management policy

The objective of the project was to increase the capacity of the public administration in Bulgaria for implementing the institutional and legislative measures for reducing corruption in its work (administrative services delivery, organization of competitions for allocations of grants, etc.) and by this to increase the public trust in the administration.

Monitoring of corruptive practices in the area of municipal property management and public procurement in Bulgarian municipalities

Among the major project issues were deficiencies in the existing secondary legislation, high level of unawareness of the tools for citizen control and allegations of corruption in the municipal property management and public procurement. The project activities resulted in the development and provision of specialized know-how for monitoring corruptive practices and for the identification of the main types of corruptive practices in the area of municipal property management and public procurement at municipal level.

Strengthening the public confidence in the judiciary by means of promoting an ethics code of the judicial administration officials

The project aimed at introducing mechanisms for internal control over the dissemination of corrupt practices and increasing the authority of the Judiciary. A content-analysis of the publications in the local press was made, focus-groups discussions were organized and civil reception-rooms were opened. The Project experts analyzed the national as well as the international legal system and recommended amendments in the Bulgarian legislation in tune with the international standards. As a final outcome a project for a Code of Conduct for the Judicial Administration Officials was developed and tested along with a training methodology for its popularization and practical introduction.

Towards establishing effective partnership: Improving citizen participation in anti-corruption initiatives at the local level

The project aimed at encouraging the establishment of a network of civil society organizations, offering an institutional support to NGOs in the city of Blagoevgrad for improvement of the anti-corruption climate at the local level. The major activity lines include thematic training seminars; developing an Index for measuring the Transparency of the local anti-corruption environment and designing a strategy for its improvement.