Governmental transparency in the regulation process

• Project aim and locale:

The project amended the government’s project aimed at obtaining higher transparency in the process of public regulation and decision making at the level of local and central administration. Also, the project offered citizens and the administration a Guide to the Implementation of Law 52/2003 regulating Decisional Transparency in Public Administration. → An analysis of consultation practices;

• Project outcomes:

o A Guide to the Implementation of Law 52/2003 regulating Decisional Transparency in Public Administration;

o An advocacy campaign to amend the governmental legislative project regarding decisional transparency;

o A public awareness campaign regarding the opportunities for participation offered by the new legal framework.

The campaign was carried out in partnership with the National Radio Company and it consisted of the airing of the “Absentees are never right” jingle as well as a series of 20 interviews with public officials and representatives of NGO’s interested in Law 52/2003.

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.

Coalition for a Clean Parliament 2004

Alegeri locale şi generale

On the occasion of the legislative and presidential elections in November and December 2004, Romanian civil society organized itself for the first time into a broad coalition for integrity in politics: the Coalition for a Clean Parliament (CCP). Frustrated by the government’s lack of effectiveness in fighting large-scale corruption, civil society took matters into its own hands.

The CCP first determined the criteria that would make a candidate unfit for a clean parliament. These criteria were: 1) having repeatedly shifted from one political party to another in search of personal profit; 2) having been accused of corruption on the basis of published and verifiable evidence; 3) having been exposed as an agent of the Securitate (Ceauşescu’s former secret service); 4) being the owner of a private firm with important tax arrears to the state budget; 5) being unable to account for the discrepancy between one’s officially stated assets and one’s income; 6) turning a profit from conflicts of interest involving one’s public position. The second step was to discuss these criteria with the leadership of the political parties represented in the Parliament. The most important ones—the Social Democratic Party/Humanist Party of Romania coalition (PSD/PUR), the Justice and Truth Alliance (DA), and the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR)—agreed with the criteria and the process that we had designed, and they publicly announced their support for the CCP’s campaign.

Our third step was to gather information about the candidates of these parties. We collected material published in the press over the years and researched the websites of various public authorities in charge of financial and commercial matters. Then we double-checked our information. Our fourth step was to draw up lists of those candidates who met one or more of the agreed-upon criteria for being unfit to hold a seat in the future Parliament. The resulting “black lists”” were then sent to the political parties, with the request that they re-examine each case and decide whether to withdraw the candidate in question.

The CCP also offered to analyze any cases where individual candidates contested its findings. Step five consisted of the withdrawal by the political parties of significant numbers of their initial candidates. Some of the candidates appealed to the CCP, which approved or rejected their appeals and adjusted its lists accordingly. Our last step was to release the final CCP black lists in the form of nearly two million flyers, distributed in most of the 41 counties of Romania.

Coalition partners:

  • Agentia de Monitorizare a Presei – Academia Catavencu
  • Fundatia Freedom House
  • Centrul pentru Jurnalism Independent
  • Fundatia Dialog Social
  • Asociatia Pro Democratia
  • Alianta Civica
  • Asociatia pentru Apararea Drepturilor Omului in Romania – Comitetul Helsinki
  • Asociatia Revolutionarilor fara Privilegii
  • Liga Romana de Presa
  • Asociatia Studentilor la Facultatea de Stiinte Politice”

Monitoring county councils on conflicts of interests and incompatibilities (2008)

This project proposal aimed at addressing the issue of the fight against corruption by the civil society after accession, with a particular focus on conflicts of interests and incompatibilities.

Conflicts of interest and incompatibilities lie at the heart of corruption as the latter is based on the infringement of the public interests and of the requirements of public office for goals regarding private interests and private positions.

Members of 9 local county councils and 32 presidents of local county councils were scrutinized for conflicts of interests and incompatibilities. At the end of the project, a report was created underlining the local administration corruption cases. The project had an advocacy component aimed at correcting the loopholes in the legislation or in the enforcement of the law.

The purpose of the project  was to monitor officials from a number of county councils and the presidents of all county councils in relation to incompatibilities and conflicts of interests. A total of 315 county council members from 9 counties were monitored on the two aspects, out of which 31 did not meet the integrity criteria. The situation of county council presidents was also assessed, and in 15 out of the 42 cases the integrity criteria were not met.
This project was continued before the first direct election of county council presidents, when 150 candidates were verified using the criteria designed for the Coalition for Clean Government project (namely, on corruption, conflicts of interests, political migration and collaboration with the secret police before 1989). Out of these, 54 were included on a “black list” for not meeting the integrity requirements imposed. In 9 of the counties, candidates appearing on the list of the Coalition lost the elections, even though they were considered favorites in the polls made public during the campaign. These 9 counties were Bihor, Bistrita-Nasaud, Botosani, Cluj, Galati, Giurgiu, Mehedinti, Timis si Tulcea.

Building a Political Integrity Network in Southeastern Europe (SEEIN)

The overarching goal of the project was to promote transparency in the electoral process in Southeastern Europe and the accountability of elected officials. The specific objective was to assist civil society in Southeastern Europe in building effective anti-corruption coalitions based on the models, skills, and experience of the Romanian Coalition for a Clean Parliament (RCCP). The main activities of the project were to organize a regional conference to share experience on and discuss the effective solutions to fight political corruption, to set up a regional network of NGOs willing to engage in developing activities to fight political corruption, and to assist partner organizations in developing their own clean parliament coalitions.
SAR organized the regional conference on the creation of the East European Integrity Network (EEIN) during October 12-15, 2006. The conference attracted the participation of NGO representatives from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine, as well as representatives of the World Bank, Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), European Parliament, Stability Pact.

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.

Integrated strategies for natural resource exploitation

The project aimed at:
– creating a virtual information center for monitoring the exploitation of natural resources in Romania;
– developing local civil society representatives’ capacity to actively participate in the development of regional strategies for the exploitation of natural resources;
– raising awareness among local and central authorities in resource rich areas about the necessity to design local sustainable development strategies for the exploitation of natural resources;
– advocating for transparency and accountability of central authorities’ management of natural resources.

True accountability in National & European Parliament(s): Civil Society Accesses the MPs’ nominal votes on laws

The project aimed to:
– support the development of accountable MPs in the national and European Parliaments through systematic monitoring of the concrete activity in these bodies and through exposing this activity to the citizens of Romania;
– strengthen civil society capacity of monitoring and tracking MPs activity, by stimulating the creation of a civic platform in the region.

They (should) work for you – Learn how to evaluate your local councilors

The project aims at creating a set of efficient monitoring tools for measuring local elected officials’ mandate performance in – between elections, during electoral periods and six months after elections – with the direct scope of empowering civil society to accurately scrutinize the local governance act and hold elected representatives accountable for their work.

Free access to information of public interest is a right, not a privilege

The project aims at contributing, through watchdog and advocacy activities, to a better and a more uniform implementation of transparency and accountability principles in Romania. Specific objectives: • Building local capacity of civil society in using proper advocacy tools for holding public authorities accountable for granting free access to information. • Raising awareness of public authorities on the duty to provide unrestricted, non-discriminatory access to information for all categories of solicitors, regardless the subject matter of the request or the type of institution.

The Initiative for Clean Justice

The Clean Justice Initiative represents a work group that will periodically inform public opinion in a correct and consistent manner in respect to the quality of the activity of the judicial branch activity, by monitoring the process of reform and by evaluating governmental decisions and actions in the field.
The Clean Justice Initiative aims to : monitor the legislative process and the approval of draft law by the Government, especially in the case of emergency ordinances; monitor and evaluate the management of human, material and informational resources in the judicial and penitentiary system; to evaluate the quality of internal procedures and management from the Ministry of Justice and National Administration of Penitentiaries; to evalute judicial practice in cases of corruption; to evaluate the legislative process concerning the structures involved in fighting corruption and organised crime; to issue reports, recommendations and alternative policies on the above mentioned subjects.
Member organizations: The Academy for Advocacy, Civic Alliance, “Society for Justice -SoJust”” Association, Freedom House Rom”

Nu Da Spaga! – DON’T ASK FOR BRIBE II

The project sought to:
– inform and raise the awareness of young adults, especially those that (will) activate in fields frequently associated with small corruption;
– involve the professional associations from justice, public administration fields in promoting the legal stipulations and the deontological codes, and in promoting their self-regulation role, in order to increase their responsibility;
– strengthen TIR image as an organization with expertise in providing applicable models for reducing the small corruption phenomenon and to strengthen the role of the professional associations as promoters of an ethic and responsible attitude towards beneficiaries.
This campaig is the follow-up of a similar one developed in 2003-2004.

The Transparency of European Funds in Romania

The project aims to:
– Make the EU funding process more transparent;
– Make the management institution responsible for the funding process more accountable;
– Raise the level of citizens’ involvement in the EU funding process.
Partners in the Group are: Media Monitoring Agency, Romanian Training Institute, Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism, Partners for Local Development Foundation, the Association for the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Speech, OSI, Pro Democracy Association

Say NO to Corruption

The project developed a guide is intended to help young people with a batch of information about corruption and serious consequences of this fact.

The publication is divided into two chapters.

The first chapter contains general information about what is corruption, what is not corruption, influence traffic, serious consequences of this fact, methods to prevent it, national and international anti-corruption documents etc.

The second chapter contains results, ideas and opinions of young people resulted from developing various activities in the project “Youth against Corruption”, local and final debates on ethics in education and public administration, the findings of a research study on the effects of corruption in education and the results of a survey on the perception of young people about corruption.

This guide has been published in the project “Youth against Corruption”, coordinated by the Pro Democracy Association in partnership with the Romanian Association for Debate, Oratory and Rhetoric, funded by the European Union, through the Transition Facility 2007/19343.01.11 – Strengthening support of civil society in the fight against corruption.

Whistleblowers protection program

The project aims to accomplish protection of whistleblowers, and to monitor the enforcement of Law 571/2004 in the institutions where the whistleblowers work. Whistleblowers are people who in good faith notify the authorities of violations of the law, deontological codes or other juridical norms in the public institutions where they work or worked.

Advocacy and Legal Advice Center I

The project aimed to enhance citizens’ participation in anti-corruption by:
– facilitating public access to information related to their rights;
– offering legal guidance regarding complaint procedures in case of fraudulent use of public funds or when citizens are victims of corruption or learn about cases of corruption;
– offering citizens the opportunity to take action against corruption by implementing information campaigns. These campaigns will include brochures and citizens’ guides and will provide practical advice and information related to concrete questions, such as “How to fight against corruption in fiscal administration.”
– promoting open dialogue with public institutions for the setting up of mechanisms capable to deal with citizens’ complaints effectively.”