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.

Public control and effective governance

The general aim of the project was to develop an effective and functional partnership between the structures of the civil society and the municipal administrations through better transparency and accountability of the local administrations. In order to achieve its goals the project aimed at: improving the organizational structures at administrative level and improving the procedures for civil control over the municipal strategies for development. Some of the main activities of the project include: 1. analyses and evaluation of eight strategies for development in eight selected municipalities; 2. defining the role, which the civil society plays in the development and realization of the strategies by analyzing good practices in other countries in the EU; 3. educational seminars for the representatives of the civil society on how can they influence the strategies in order to increase the transparency and accountability of the process. 4. realization of a conference for the dissemination of the project results.

Social roots of the various types and forms for corruption practices in the higher education in Bulgaria (typological model of the most typical cases and strategies for counteraction)

The project aimed at providing analysis of the prerequisites and the conditions for corruption in the higher education, types of corruption in the universities and elaboration of a strategy for curbing corruption. The main project activities included qualitative studies – content and documentary analysis, expert assessments and evaluations.

European policies (2003-2005/2008-2010)

The project aimed at assessing the state of civil society in Bulgaria. It provided a Civil Society Index as an action-research initiative covering more than 60 countries with a view of creating knowledge base and an impetus for civil society initiatives. Bulgaria takes part in the global survey for the second time (first phase was implemented by Balkan Assist 2003-2005). The survey seeks the answers to key issues within the development of civil society in Bulgaria through quantitative and qualitative methods. The project implementation tools include: 1. set-up of a national implementation team; 2. set-up of a project Advisory Committees; 3. identifying key issues within the civil society in the national context; 4. mapping of secondary data on civil society in Bulgaria; 5. quantitative surveys; 6. regional focus groups; 7. public discussion on the main findings; 8. summing up the main findings and recommendations in analytical report and policy briefs; 9. drafting of specific recommendations targeting the main areas of concern.

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.

Raising transparency through advocacy: challenges in fighting corruption

The basic goal of the project was to assist in raising the respectability of the Bulgarian democratic process and the transparency in the work of public institutions in three spheres: healthcare, the judiciary and public procurement. The implementation of the project took place in three main stages: In the first stage, the bulk of activities was concentrated on conducting a series of analyses and research identifying the basic deficits in the legislation and its application in the three spheres. The second stage focused on creating and maintaining a network of NGOs and media partners for the purpose of information exchange. In short, the results were: conducted surveys and analyses; established cooperation with NGOs and public institutions; two national round tables for information dissemination and exchange.

The civil society and the regional administration in the South-West region – a model for partnership

The project aimed to facilitate the mechanisms for partnership between the structures of the civil society and the local and regional administrations in the South-west region of Bulgaria. The main project goal was: better transparency, more accountability and control over the work of the administration. Some of the project activities included: 1. analyses, development of recommendations and educational seminars; 2. development and maintenance of an information web site; 3. activities for capacity building for monitoring the activities of the local and regional administration; 4. development of recommendations for improvement of the legal framework, strategic documents or public services provided by the targeted administrations; 5. activities for information and publicity.

Corruption monitoring system of Coalition 2000

Corruption Monitoring System (CMS) of Coalition 2000 was a system of empirical studies and analytical reports and represents one of the three main components of the activities of the anti-corruption initiative Coalition 2000, realized in the period 1998-2004. The main objective of CMS was to periodically present information, which would enable conclusions about the scope of corruption in the country, as well about the related public attitudes, assessments and expectations. The other functions of the CMS were to provide reliable feedback about the effectiveness of the anti-corruption initiatives of the Bulgarian society, as well as assessment of the effectiveness of the anti-corruption activities of Coalition 2000 itself.

Countering corruption at the municipal level – anti-corruption measures in the Pernik region municipalities

The project was realized in the course of Coalition 2000 and USAID Open Government Initiative Project: “Civil Society Against Corruption”” – Small Grants Program. The goal of the current project was the improvement of the interaction between administration, civil society and business at local and regional levels.”

Introduction of the methods for organizational excellence for raising the capacity of municipal governance

The project objective was the development and pilot check-up of an approach to introducing governance through organizational excellence (“Commitment to Excellence””) in the context of two Bulgarian municipalities. Its activities included: 1. establishing organization within the municipality for implementation of the project; 2. ensuring the active and informed participation in the training of all persons, related to the project implementation; 3. selection of a competent project manager and team members; 4. communication and, if needed, clarification of the ideas and concepts of Organizational Excellence among the organization’s employees; 5. self-evaluation, identification of strengths and fields to be improved, as well as the priority of individual tasks; 6. development, deployment and communication of an action plan; 7. commitment to the realization of constant improvements.”

Civil control over the work of court experts

The aim of the project was the elaboration of comprehensive analyses on the deficiencies in exercising control over the work of court experts. Another goal was the development, on the basis of the conducted analyses, of a set of ethical standards for the work of court experts as well as a model for their successful implementation within the practice of the courts. The implementation of the project included the elaboration of a legal analysis, aiming at identifying and investigating the gaps and loopholes in the Bulgarian legislation, regulating the work of court experts, as well as assessing the effectiveness of the existing mechanisms for control and liability of court experts. Furthermore, the project conducted a sociological survey, aiming at analyzing the tendencies in the existing public opinion, concerning the level of transparency in the work of court experts as well as the problems concerning their selection and control. Direct result of the implementation of the project was the elaboration and dissemination of the publication “Court Experts in Bulgaria – ethical standards and mechanisms for control over their activity”.

Reform of the Prosecution Office of the Republic of Bulgaria

The aim of the project was to increase the effectiveness of the institutional cooperation in the fight against corruption, to ease the transfer of know-how in the field as well as to increase the institutional capacity and authority of the National Prosecution Office. The outputs of the project are: 1. realization of several conferences and educational workshops for the National Prosecution Office experts with the participation of experts from the civil society sector as well as representatives of the prosecution offices of different EU countries; 2. realization of a sociological survey regarding the public perception over the work of the prosecution office as well as a training seminars for the PR department of the institution; 3. publications of the results and recommendations of the project.