Improving Bulgarian local government integrity

The project builds on a similar project being implemented in Romania and is designed to address the issue of local government integrity in ten Bulgarian big and mid-size municipalities. The overriding goal of the project was to formulate and implement local integrity policies designed to institutionalize civic participation in drafting and instituting procedural and administrative safeguards against misuse of position and institutional corruption in the local administration; ensure that both society and local government are stakeholders of the policies. The overall aim of the project was to develop transparency and integrity of local government in Bulgaria, as a pre-requisite for the development of a truly democratic society, which is able to face and solve problems that might otherwise endanger justice, communication and transparent management of local administration.

Pedagogical model for anti-corruption education in secondary schools

The project aimed at introducing anti-corruption education in the secondary schools trough the elaboration of an applied pedagogical model with the participation of teachers, pupils and parents. Some of its expected results were:

  • Analysis of corruption in the secondary education, review of the international experience in civil education;
  • Teaching syllabus and programs;
  • Methodological manual for teachers;
  • Training seminar with teachers;
  • Pilot model approbation;
  • Information and media campaign

Results

 

January 2004

The project was launched  as the project team consisting of experts and an administrative assistant was made up and they took to performing the scheduled activities.

February-March 2004

An empirical sociological survey was conducted among secondary school students, teachers and parents from Sofia. Its findings were crucial for the project’s goal since the particular corruption practices, attitudes and perceptions could be incorporated into civil and anti-corruption curricula. The sample covered 193 students, 128 parents and 129 teachers.The surveyed units were defined through a two-stage cluster sample. This sample was representative for the groups surveyed (secondary school students, parents and teachers) from the city of Sofia.

On 27 February, 2004 a press conference informing about the launch of the project was delivered at the press club of the Sofia Press Agency. It was attended by representatives of partner organizations and reporters from over ten media.

March-April 2004

A series of working meetings were held with the managing staff and boards of trustees of the two schools where the core part of the project was to be carried out: 135th Secondary General School Jan Amos Komenski and the National Secondary School of Trade and Banking. The meetings served to negotiate the project activity schedule, the responsibilities of the parties, and the manner of communication in the course of the project. Teachers that were to take part in the project were also selected.

May 2004

The sociological survey findings were processed. The statistics received was rather valuable in terms of the implications it had for the education process in the following project stages. The data drawn from the interviews complemented the information gathered in the two focus groups from the first trimester which featured 17 randomly selected secondary school teachers. The main causes of secondary school corruption as defined with the help of these two tools were:

• the general crisis of values in society;

• the crisis of family relations and family upbringing;

• the lack of basic material comfort and education facilities at schools;

• teacher underpayment;

• the sense of impunity;

• the lack of effective anti-corruption actions on the part of the public authorities (especially the judiciary);

• the public schools funding system which lags far behind modern requirements;

• the fuzzy rules on private tutoring by public school teachers;

• violations in the entrance competitions at top-rating secondary schools.

June-August 2004

Anti-corruption syllabi and curricula were developed consisting of separate modules fairly independent in contents. These modules were roughly based on the Anti-Corruption Manual previously developed by Coalition 2000. Model lesson plans were prepared for teachers to use during the try-out phase of the curricula. These included elements such as projects, role plays, group work, and a number of extracurricular and out-of-school activities. They involved an interdisciplinary approach with the possibility of using the plans in various academic subjects as well in special lessons in the weekly class-focused sessions.

November 2004

One of the project’s main lines of activity was teacher training aimed at enhancing teachers’ skills in civic education and anti-corruption. Their first training seminar was held on 12 -13 November 2004 at the Secondary School of Trade and Banking. It was attended by 30 teachers from the two target schools including their principals. The seminar was devoted to Methodology of Anti-Corruption Education Instruction.

On 26 November, 2004 the sequel of the on-site teacher training was held at the other participating school 135th School Jan Amos Komenski at which fourteen more teachers were trained. Among the training’s main topics were:

• civic education in EU countries;
• planning the education process;
• the essay as a testing tool.

January 2005

On 29-30 January 2005, at its closing conference the project team announced its secondary school corruption survey findings from the study it conducted in the two Sofia-based schools in 2004. The organizers also presented an electronic manual containing methodological hints, model curricula and teaching aids for possible anti-corruption courses at secondary schools. Its main highlights are:

• details about the Elisaveta Klark and Penka Kasabova Association;
• review of the project’s theoretical background;
• teacher training within the project;
• presentation of survey findings;
• foreign experience in civil education;
• modern approaches to education planning (model syllabi, lesson plans, etc.);
• innovative teaching methods;
• contemporary methods for student evaluation.

Source: http://www.anticorruption.bg/acartShow.php?id=6005

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.

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).

Promoting transparency in election campaign financing in Bulgaria

The primary goal of the project was to promote integrity in political financing and to increase the level of integrity of the democratic process in general. By implementing the project objectives TI-Bulgaria aimed to propose a comprehensive approach, including new forms of promoting transparency in political life through the implementation of a new mechanism for monitoring political financing – the Integrity Pact concept. Other specific objectives included the promotion of an effective dialogue between civil society and political actors for the mechanisms and standards of a transparent political financing process.

Civil control – a guarantee for transparent and accessible local authority

The project seeks to improve the role of the structures of the civil society in the city of Gabrovo in the formulation of policies and programs at municipal level. Some of the main project activities were: 1. realization of surveys aimed to define the main problems and deficiencies in communication between the local administration and the civil society at large; 2. monitoring activities regarding the work of the administration and development of precise recommendations for improvement; 3. organization and realization of round tables with representatives from the civil society and experts from the municipal administration aimed to encourage the dialogue and partnership between the two target groups; 4. realization of educational seminars regarding the civil control over the work of the administration; 5. realization of a regional information campaign “Civil society organizations – factor for increasing the transparency and accountability of the municipal administration””.; 6. development of precise recommendations for the public administration on how to incorporate good practices and procedures, which will ease the access to information for the citizens and the business and engage the civil society into the decision making process regarding the provision of services of general public interest.”

Improving the policy making capacity of the Bulgarian Judicial system

The goal of the project was to examine the practices of data-collection, reporting, and analysis of performance data in the Bulgarian judicial system. Since by that moment there was no systemic analysis of the operation of the judiciary as a whole, the idea behind the project was to introduce a list of key indicators which will track its performance, and will both make its functioning more transparent to the public, and provide a more precise policy-making instrument to the Supreme Judicial Council.

Developing conditions for better transparency and control of the governance through open and transparent procedures of public procurement

The aim of the project was to improve the transparency and accountability of the local administration, transforming it into a reliable business partner, through the application of procedures of good governance in the public procurement processes. The project activities included: 1. focus-groups with representatives of the local administration and business in order to define the major deficiencies in the public procurement process; 2. formation of a work group charged with the task to develop a report regarding the major problems and relevant policies for improvement of the public procurement procedures; 3. development of a “technical guidance document”” for the private sector aimed to help the business in the public procurement tenders; 4. development of an e-learning program for the target groups regarding the governance principles of the public procurement procedures.”

Efficiency evaluation of the state budgetary process and its economic consequences

The project main objective is to make an evaluation of the procedures, related to the drawing up and spending the state budget and budget surplus, and to work out recommendations for enhanced transparency and efficiency of the budgetary process. Project implementation tools include: 1. expert studying of the budgetary process; 2. legal framework analysis; 3. of the practices for the last three years; 4. identification of strengths and weaknesses, threats and opportunities (SWOT analysis); 5. focus group, consisting of representatives of the executive power (Ministry of Finance, a Ministry, Agency for Economic Analysis and Forecasting, National Audit Office, a member of parliament); 6. drawing up recommendations for: legislative changes; improvement of the institutional coordination within the process; 7. conference presenting the results of the study and the recommendations on the budgetary process to interested persons and institutions.

Promoting transparency in the financing of political parties in Bulgaria I

The aim of the project is to increase the public awareness regarding the transparency of the political parties’ financing in the country through: 1. Realization of educational seminars and workshops; 2. Development of practical guidelines aimed at increasing the transparency in the financing of the political parties in the country; 3. Development and publication of a special TI index on the matter.

Typology of the corruption practices in higher education in Bulgaria and a strategy for counteraction

The project aimed to develop a typology of the various forms of corrupt activities in the higher education, to analyze reasons and systems proposals for institutional change. Some of its main activities include: 1. national representative polls of the universities and focus group discussions with the stakeholders in the educational system; 2. Work groups on the social roots of the various types and forms for corruption practices in the higher education; 3. preparation of a final report and recommendations for increasing the transparency in the higher education and combating the corruptive practices.

Institutional reaction to cases of corruption in Bulgaria

The main purpose of the project was to study the reaction of different institutions and players, who have an attitude to the problem with the corruption, such as media, the political actors, the government, the judicial system, the no- government sector, and the public at large. The project involved the creation of the task-force of experts, investigative journalists, and politicians which monitored and discussed institutional reaction to a number of cases of corruption during a period of ten months in Bulgaria. The “task-force”” organized four round tables discussion with the participation of legislators, heads of administrative agencies, NGOs and journalists.”

Local initiative for transparency of the administration and governance on the territory of Yambol municipality

The project aimed to increase the transparency of the local administration of Yambol’s municipality by improving the access to information for the citizens and the business regarding the governance priorities in the region.

The project activities included:

1. needs assessment of the civil society structures with regard to the governance priorities in the region;

2. development of mechanisms for better information dissemination regarding the work of the regional and local authorities.

Encouraging the effectiveness, efficient functioning and independence of the prosecutor’s office

The project objectives are: Identifying and formulating international standards and norms in regard to the prosecutor’s office. This includes the following: 1. operative standards by which the effectiveness of the prosecutor’s office can be judged; 2. standards regarding ethics and human rights by which the activities of the prosecutor’s office can be judged; 3. employing the existing mechanisms for ensuring the independence, efficient functioning and effectiveness of the prosecutor’s office, as well as finding out the best practices; 4. promoting debates about the need to reform the prosecutor’s office in Bulgaria and seeking methods for its better organization, effectiveness and efficient functioning; 5. turning the research into a reliable tool for making reforms. The tool itself should serve before the institutions which have tendencies towards reform and thus promote the debate concerning the prosecutor’s office in the countries which urgently need such changes.

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.

Promoting transparency in the financing of political parties in Bulgaria II

The aim of the project was to increase the public awareness regarding the transparency of the political parties’ financing in the country as well as to offer mechanisms for improvement. The outputs of the project were: 1. the identification of legal deficiencies with regard to the financing of political parties; 2. development of mechanisms for monitoring of the financing processes; 3. activities for involvement of the civil society in the monitoring process as well as the enchantment of the dialogue between the state institutions and the civil society organizations.