Participation and integrity in local budgets 2004

 

The project aimed to increase transparency and integrity in public budget design and implementation, and to encourage participation of local civil society in community issues.

TI Romania delivered training to local civil society organizations, evaluated community priorities in regard to the local budget, evaluated the relationship between the local civilian and business communities and the administration, wrote the good practices guide and organized round tables with all stakeholders to debate on the negative and positive aspects of the situation and incorporated observations and suggestions for improving the way in which the administration-citizens relationship functions.

Outcomes

  • Training instruments for civil society organizations;
  • Guide to monitoring public budget implementation;
  • Evaluations of transparency and integrity focusing on public acquisitions and mechanisms to grant authorizations/licenses for business activities;
  • Good practices guide containing recommendations on how to address deficiencies noted during the project.
Budget:

            £ 73,944

Participation and integrity in local budgets 2006

The project aimed to increase transparency and integrity in public budget design and implementation and foster participation of local civil society in community issues. TI Romania implemented trainings for local civil society organizations, evaluated local community priorities regarding the local budget, evaluated the relationship between the civil society, the local businesspeople and the administration, and finally drew up the good practices guide and organized a round table with all stakeholders, to debate on positive and negative aspects and incorporate observations and recommendations for a better relationship between the local public administration and citizens.

Partnership between the citizens and the municipal administration – a guarantee for transparency and accountability

The project aimed at increasing the capacity of the structures of the civil society in four municipalities in the fight against corruption. The capacity building refers to the capabilities of the civil society organizations to implement models and methods for monitoring and control over the public services provided by the municipal administrations . The project main activities included: 1. development of a local civil society partnership network; 2. survey of best practices in Bulgaria with regard to services of general interest provided by the local authorities 3. development of a web site for the partnership network in order to facilitate the communication between the target groups as well as to ease the monitoring process; 4. analyses of the existing deficiencies in the provision of services of general interest in the selected four municipalities and development of action plans for improvement; 5. realization of round tables with representatives from the civil society sector and the administration in order to discuss and improve the action plans; 6. monitoring over the implementation of the provided recommendations in the action plans; 6. analysis of the results of the project and dissemination of the good practices achieved.

Monitoring and evaluation of the possibilities for improving the transparency of the municipal administration

The goal of the project was to increase the capacity of the civil society organizations for improving the transparency of the work of the local and municipal administrations. The project offered practical guidelines for representatives of the civil society for better cooperation with the municipal administration and created a local network for monitoring and evaluation. The initiative included: 1. a round table on the topic “Transparency in the administration and the involvement of the civil society””; 2. a survey among representatives of the target groups; 3. an analyses, followed by recommendations, on the legal framework and the internal procedures guiding the work of the municipal administrations in their cooperation with the civil society; 4. development of an web site for the ease of the civil society network.”

Civic initiative – anti-corruption

The project was realized in the course of Coalition 2000 and USAID Open Government Initiative Project: “Civil Society Against Corruption”” – Small Grants Program. The current initiative aimed to provide mechanisms for monitoring and support to the public administrations in the region of Sliven in order to improve the transparency and accountability in the provision of administrative services within the municipalities in the region. The activities of the project were designed to provide greater civic control and involvement of the local structures of the civil society in the formulation and implementation of local economic and social policies.”

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.

Policy Forum

The Anti-Corruption Policy Forum is a high profile public event for anti-corruption initiatives, supporting the efforts of the civil society and public institutions in the fight against corruption. The Policy Forum convenes once a year to review the results of the preceding period, and to provide guidelines for the work over the next year. Members of the Policy Forum are prominent public personalities with established integrity and reputation as well as representatives of public and private institutions. The main purpose of the Forum is to discuss the annual Corruption Assessment Report of the Center for the Study of Democracy.

Civic pressure on corruption and incompetence at local and state administration levels regarding illegal construction

The project was designed to fight against corruption in the municipal and state administration in the sphere of illegal construction. for the purpose an expert group monitoring the process of issuing construction licenses in the municipalities of Sofia was established during the actual project implementation. The project activities included: 1. analytical report on corrupt practices in cases of illegal building in Sofia Municipalities based on one-year survey; 2. development and dissemination of a brochure: “What Should We Know in Case of Illegal Building and Reconstruction””; 3. setting up of a citizens “”Complaints and Information Desk”” for legal assistance and lodgment of signals; 4. research and publicity on the municipal-level process of issuing construction licenses; 5. active public and media campaign to educate citizens about their rights in cases of illegal construction and to present the made disclosures of corruption in this field.”

Public Policies Monitoring

The basic objective of the project was to reach the positive changes in quality of life in Sarajevo Canton by increased involvement of citizens, and by organized and articulated action of the civil society organizations in process of authorities monitoring, analyzing their previous work as well as advocacy actions for alternative measures in seven areas of public policy. These areas are: transparent spending of budget funds, health care, education, employment and professional retraining, care for old and ill, management of contributions and restricted funds and information services at local level. Particular importance of this project realization was the fact that not only monitoring and criticism of the authority were performed in Sarajevo Canton, but alternative measures for public policy have been offered and defined possible directions of future actions by governments that would led to positive changes in quality of life in Sarajevo Canton. The project was realized in cooperation with the Center for Policy Research and Development.

Capacity building in support of cooperative and participatory processes

The goal of this project was to support the establishment of basic preconditions for participatory cooperation between regional authorities, municipalities and civil society groups in the planning and implementation of the social and economic reform process in Marneuli and Gardabani districts. Target groups: Local councilors, NGO, the general public.

Secret client – development of mechanisms for better accessibility to information, transparency and accountability of the municipal administration

The major goal of the project was to develop mechanisms for better information accessibility, transparency and accountability of the municipal administration. The project foresee the incorporation of these mechanisms at targeted municipalities. Those mechanisms that work well were then multiplied and disseminated to other local administrations. In particular, the initiative included: 1. analyses of best practices with regard to transparency and accountability within different local administration in EU countries; 2. analyses of the current deficiencies in the targeted municipalities in the country; 3. development of specific recommendations and a “technical guideline for municipal transparency””. 4. dissemination of the results to other municipal administrations in the country.”

Transparent District (pilot)

The project was a pilot for the larger project Transparent Poland (’Przejrzysta Polska’). The goal of this first stage was to elaborate, in cooperation with 16 local governments, a model of tasks, which these governments were to implement in order to attain project objectives. The model was later to be scaled up in the following stage, i.e. the massive action. The project set forth six rules, which should be present in the functioning of public offices and officials at the local level. Those were: transparency, citizens participation, no toleration for corruption, professionalism, predictability and accountability. Within the program the participating governments had to fulfill certain solutions/tasks which were related to each of these six rules, e.g. elaboration an ethical code of conduct for public officials and members of local councils, creating a road map of local initiatives, elaborating materials that in an accessible way explain the role and creation of budgets and community’s strategy etc.

Transparent Poland I – Massive Action

The project ‘Przejrzysta Polska’ (PP) is the largest program of this kind in Poland. It is state-wide and has been running since 2003 until today (although initially planned to last only 2 years). It has been organized by a coalition of widely recognizable polish NGOs, one of the biggest polish daily papers, international donors and recognizable individuals, e.g. the former ombudsman.

Moreover it had a large coverage in the media; some printed media as well as main channels of public TV and public radio took a patronage over the project. Thanks to its large scope and the backing from popular and widely known organizations and individuals, the project obtained a large support from local self-governments across the country.

The actors involved as well as project organizers have been changing over time, but the Foundation in Support of Local Democracy was always main part of it (here I would like to thank Ms. Katarzyna Żelichowska, for her invaluable support and patience to my questions regarding this program as well as other undertakings carried out by the Foundation).

The project’s goal was to improve quality of public life and local governance as well as to invigorate civil society. The PP aimed at those districts (local-governments), which were willing to cooperate with NGOs and citizens to improve local governance and wipe out from public life corruption and other pathologies. It also envisaged activating not only public official, but also local NGOs and citizens. Realization of scheduled tasks was to on the one hand enhance local governments’ resistance to corruption and unethical behavior, and on the other hand to ease access to public information to regular citizens as well as to make it easier for citizens to get their things accomplished in local offices.

The project set forth six rules, which should be present in the functioning of public offices and officials at the local level. Those were: transparency, citizens participation, no toleration for corruption, professionalism, predictability and accountability. Within the program the participating governments had to fulfill certain solutions/tasks which were related to each of these six rules, e.g. elaboration an ethical code of conduct for public officials and members of local councils, creating a road map of local initiatives, elaborating materials that in an accessible way explain the role and creation of budgets and community’s strategy etc.

On the basis of a model elaborated during the first stage of the project (Transparent District), this massive action took place. During the second stage (Transparent Poland – Massive Action) invitations were sent out to all local governments in Poland, of which 800 took part in the undertaking in 2005. Over 400 finished it and they were granted with certificates of the project. All the local governments were to attain objectives in each of the six program areas in order to accomplish the project. They had 12 months to do so.

Young Lawyers for Improving the State and Civil Control Mechanisms in Georgia

Among the goals of the project:
1. To improve domestic monitoring mechanisms – analysis of relevant legislation in force and activities of the Chamber of Control; by organizing round-tables for relevant stakeholders; elaborating recommendations and drafts as to introduce them into relevant legislation;
2. To improve transparency and accountability during grant related relationships – analysis of relevant legislation “Law on the Grants””; by elaborating and lobbying recommendations and drafts as to introduce them into relevant legislation;
3. To contribute to effective CSOs monitoring of priority areas being identified within the framework of the Coalition – through the identification of relevant donors providing financial assistance; the perfectionining of legal system amd national monitoring mechanisms; assistance to IDPs; rehabilitation of national infrastructure.”

Promotion of the principles of good governance and increased citizens’ participation in the decision-making process in the Republic of Croatia

The project was primarily aimed at strengthening citizens, local civil society organizations (CSO), neighborhood councils, national minorities’ councils and local officials, at improving the communication between them through education on the principles of good governance and rule of law, as well as on the possibilities of involving in the decision-making processes on local level.

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.

Corruption in Bulgarian SMEs and measures to fight it

The project was realized in the course of Coalition 2000 and USAID Open Government Initiative Project: “Civil Society Against Corruption”” – Small Grants Program. It aimed to identify the structure of corrupt practices related to SMEs in the country and to provide assessment of the inflicted losses in the business sector i.e. еstimate the costs of corruption in the SME sector. The project activities include surveys and publication of a book: “”Do-it-yourself”” Manual of Tools Designed to Build Ethical and Transparent Corporate Culture For SMEs.”

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.”

Promoting Active Citizen Engagement (ACTION) in Combating Corruption in Ukraine

The Project supported non-governmental monitoring and advocacy on priority areas in the fight against corruption, focusing particularly on issues identified by the Government of Ukraine in its Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Threshold Country Plan. The ACTION Project carefully tracked corruption indicators in a consistent, detailed and regularized fashion using large national surveys, special sector surveys, citizen report cards, indicators that monitor procedural transactions and outcomes, and focus groups. The objectives of this tracking were to define a baseline for corruption levels in particular functions and sectors, to monitor progress (or backsliding) in advocacy or reform strategies, to mobilize civil society, business and the mass media to action, and to demonstrate to government the critical nature of corruption in an objective way that is hard to refute. The Three Key Components of the Promoting Active Citizen Engagement in Combating Corruption in Ukraine (ACTION) Project: 1) Measuring the Government of Ukraine’s (GOU) progress and long-term commitment in their fight against corruption; 2)Supporting for civil society advocacy and monitoring efforts; 3) Supporting investigative journalism and various other anti-corruption efforts concerning the media.

More active civil society – more trust in the work of the local administration

The project aimed to improve the cooperation between the structures of the civil society and the public administration in the Southwest region (NUTS II) in Bulgaria in order to: improve the civil control and monitoring; prevent the corruptive practices; and increase the accountability of the administration. The project included: 1. survey of the public opinion in the region regarding the work, transparency and accountability of the local and regional administrations; 2. realization of educational seminars for representatives of the civil society regarding mechanisms for monitoring, control and prevention of corruption in the administration; 3. realization of round tables with representatives from the civil society sector and the public administration; 5. development of a web site of the initiative.

Coalition “Transparent Foreign Aid to Georgia” (in-house project)

The project intended to support the forming of a Coalition of 7 NGOs focused on rising and improving monitoring, transparency and accountability. The goal of the TFAG Coalition is to analyze, evaluate and monitor projects funded within the foreign aid package allotted to Georgia after the August 2008 armed conflict; to provide wide coverage of monitoring reports and to advocate for the elaborated recommendations.

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.

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.

A Citizen within a Rule of Law

The project focused on watchdog activities of local anti-corruption activists; email conference for experience exchange was set up and workshops and seminars organized, focusing on real cases and practical know-how. An anti-corruption advice center for individual citizens was implemented, including the support of a lawyer.

‘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