A project monitoring the praxis of enforcement of individual public officials´ liability for the damages made by their illegal decisions; the research monitored the two types of penalites – those vested by the Office for Protection of competition and expenses of court cases related to ill-formulated public contracts tenders. On the basis of research findings the draft law amendments are being prepapared in 2009.
A coalition of three non-governmental organisations was created to meet the purpose of the project: TIC, Iuridicum remedium and Otevřená společnost, o.p.s. The project carefully monitored and analysed the legislative process, lobbyied the Government Legislative Council, the government ministers and selected MPs. A workshop was organised in the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament, dedicated to suppression of information, legal analyses and information materials were published on the issue.
Roundtable discussions with political representation of individual regions took place and recommendation reports for the management of each regional government were prepared. TIC had also been actively involved in the proceedings of anti-corruption committee of Prague City Council. The project covered five selected regions of the Czech Republic and included also anti-corruption art exhibitions. A follow up project included series of trainings for regional government officials.
The database served also as a pre-elections tool focusing on political sponsorship and potential political corruption. The database proved to be demanding in terms of actualization (the original idea that citizens would contribute after being checked by the AWC did not work) and management. The project was effective at the level of top politicians (sponsorship of political parties, public officials at the Prague Town Hall, top politicians), at the regional and local level, there was a different millieu and different relations among the actors. The database is still online, covering the top politicans only due to limited capacities of the organisation.The journalists used the database as the entry point for finding new cases. The project template was copied by the city of Lanškroun that developed its own database of local representatives and public officials.
In order to reduce political corruption the project aimed at enactment of an effective law on the conflict of interest. TIC proposed a draft law and managed to build a coalition around it, advocate the draft successfuly and push it through; the law went into effect as of January 1, 2007. Media campaign was part of the project.
Within the project a study dedicated to a general definition of the term and historical context, description of the budgetary process – its creation and its shortcomings, and control and checks was elaborated. The study contains recommendations for increasing transparency of the budgetary process.
Project aiming at involvement of particular regional socio-economic conditions as a criterion within the public procurement and public contracting tenders when the companies from disadvatnaged regions would receive additional points within the tender evaluation. The project was implemented in cooperation with a businessman from one of the Czech disadvantaged regions (Jesenicko). The seminars on the method took place and an agreement with Ministry of Defence on including the new criterion was reached.
Two seminars were organized in the framework of the project, focusing on the issues of corruption risks related to public procurement and identification of anti-corruption tools. Both seminars were targeted on public officials responsible for public procurement processes and/or its supervision at ministries, in the regions or big cities, and at executive bodies of structural funds.
The project activities included discussion about the necessity of ethical business approach, starting cooperation of public, private and non-profit segments, promotion of legislative changes and contribution to cultivated and competitive business environment. Viva Etika also represented a coalition of companies that were with TIC and influencing business environment in order to increase transparency, credibility and responsibility.
The project provided support for the general watchdog and media related activities of the organization.
A slow process and the complexity of the legal conditions connected to entries into commercial register led to a high number of mistakes in the registration applications handed to the courts. Mistakes in the applications lead to the courts returning the applications for review or for supplementary information. There was no standardized procedure and application format. A database of standard applications for the commercial register was created within the project and consequently published on the website of the Justice Ministry. Business and non-business applicants could then receive authoritative information concerning the requirements of individual courts, which increased the legal quality of individual applications and as a result partially simplified the registration process in the Czech Republic and narrowed down the room for corruption.
A survey of over 500 volumes of town halls bulletins issued by over the 100 town halls in the Czech Republic was implemented; the aim of the survey was to identify important features such a bulletin should contain to fulfil the conditions of the free access to information, information on public funds spending and balanced reporting. It revealed only about 26% of the bulletins allowed for critical opinions to be published, the censorship was widespread and the political parties in the local governments used the bulletins for their own PR. The project outputs involved: detailed survey, analysis identifying rights and obligations related to publishing town hall bulletins and recommendations for improvements of legal regulations; codex of balanced town hall bulletin and ten basic rules for its publishing and a leaflet for the citizens “Apply your rights”.
The primary aim of was to propose an innovative methodology for measuring an institution’s tendency towards corrupt behaviour and then use this methodology to investigate the level of corruption in the public administrations of the capital cities of the Visegrad 4 countries (CZ, SK, HU, PL). A comparative survey Index 4 was carried out in the capitals focusing on public procurement, internal audits, ethical codexes,conflict of interest and access to information. The results of the survey can be downloaded at http://www.transparency.cz/index.php?lan=cz&id=2500. The research into the level of corruption in the public administrations of the capital cities of the V4 served as a tool for putting pressure on political representatives. The project was a continuation of the efforts made in the project “A Corruption-Free Town Hall””.”
In cooperation with other NGOs a handbook „Transparent Local Governments“ was prepared; the publication contained 40 anticorruption measures and methodology that can be introduced within the local public administrations. The publication was complemented by series of seminars and educational activities at the local level.
Specific objectives achieved during the first phase of the project were: strengthening the internal capacity of TIC in the area of fighting political corruption; drawing attention to individual systemic shortcomings from which the Czech politics suffer, especially in the areas of political parties financing; legislative process; politicisation of public administration (clear definition of roles of politicians and public officials); internal democracy within the parties (selection of candidates for elections); investigation of criminal offences of elected representatives. The project outputs include an opinion survey on the transparency of political parties financing, conference and a publication “Transparent processes in political decision-making””.”
Monitoring of the situation at the Prague City Hall, public procurement and public contracting controll, management of the companies established by the Prague City Hall.
The project activities (an analysis) aimed to initiate a debate on usefulness of the introduction of special anti-corruption institutions that were established in Slovakia to the Czech environment. A study “How effective are the Czech and Slovak law enforcement agencies”” was published and a conference on prosecution of corruption in the Czech Republic and Slovakia took place.”
The project consisted in the monitoring of transparency, public contracting and corruption potential within the Prague City Hall.
In the textbooks on democratic transition, Central and Eastern Europe provides the model of success. Yet in Brussels concern over the politics of the new EU members has been mounting. The day after accession, when conditionality has faded, the influence of the EU vanished like a short-term anesthetic. Political parties needed to behave during accession in order to reach this highly popular objective, but once freed from these constraints, they returned to their usual ways. Now we see Central and Eastern Europe as it really is—a region that has come far but still has a way to go.