Citizens’ complaints on judicial inspection: increasing transparency and accountability of the judiciary toward the public

The project aimed at promoting the accountability and transparency of the judiciary through establishing effective ways of handling citizens’ complaints and increasing the involvement of the public in judicial inspections. The project sought to influence improvement of legislation with regard to the access of individuals to the judicial inspection process. In addition, the project was expected to increase information of the public regarding the procedures and ways of following up complaints regarding judges and courts, and in particular the public participation and cooperation during the inspection of judicial cases.

Civil Transparency Center

Anti-corruptive Patrol: The direction aimed to monitor the activities which were carried out by the Rustavi Branch of the Civil Registry Agency, by providing newsletters regarding their work. Finally the monitoring process was successfully accomplished, followed by recommendations which were delivered to the Civil Registery Agency Chairman at the Rustavi Branch. The monitoring was attended by the lawyer of Rustavi Council, NGO representatives, journalists and students. In the year of 2006, the monitoring aimed to perform the quarterly analysis of budget programs in the city of Rustavi and Gardabani district. After research completion, the Civil Development Agency (CiDA) issued the brochures which were delivered to governmental/non-governmental structures. The obtained information was also available via newspapers published by CiDA.

Detection of Corruption in the Czech Public Administration

The project consisted in watchdog activities; monitoring and mapping the corruption space in different public authorities and institutions; evaluation of the systemic risks. The staff members of the organization worked under cover in different institutions, only the director of the NGO was known.

Reducing Political Corruption

An advocacy project, this addressed the need of establishing a transparent system of political parties’ financing and an initiative, which would support the citizens’ rights to familiarize themselves with financial transactions and data regarding the political parties’ finances and management of their respective incomes and expenditures.

Anti-corruption measures at the Naturalisation Board of Latvia in the process of acquisition of citizenship

The project consisted in training seminars and an analysis report. Its goals were to: identify specific corruption risks within the process of acquisition of citizenship, evaluate their occurring probability and their level of harmful effect; develop probable solutions and propose short and long term recommendations; sensitize and train the staff of the Naturalisation Board on the issues of corruption risks and their minimization.

Transparency and Civil Participation in Budget Policy of the Self-Governed City of Rustavi

The project was designed to raise public awareness on 2008’s budget of Rustavi in publicly comprehensive language; also to assist interest groups in knowing how to involve into decision-making (media, civil society and youth) and then how to take action with decision-making itself (local government). Program goal: the project aims to encourage transparency, civil participation and enlarged governmental accountability in budget policy. Program objectives:
• Informing interest groups on 2008’s budget of Rustavi;
• Providing platform to 2008’s budget-financed programs for interest groups;
• Improving the civil service agencies of Rustavi self-government;
• Providing skills and knowledge for interest groups and local government on the issues of participation in budget formation process;
• Providing skills and knowledge for local government related with public opinion research and the designs of PR campaign.

Millennium Challenge Grant Program Monitoring

The Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) has played a leading role in promoting the civic oversight and transparent implementation of the Millennium Challenge Georgia (MCG) Compact – a seminal and innovative assistance programme for Georgia from the Government of USA, which entered into force on 7 April 2006 with duration of five years.
EPRC has been monitoring the Millennium Challenge Georgia (MCG) Program since January 2006. Supported by Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF), the monitoring of this key foreign assistance program in Georgia has been implemented in cooperation with other NGOs that are members of the Transparent Foreign Aid to Georgia Coalition.
Over the period between 2006 and 2010, the EPRC published five monitoring reports, corresponding to the five stages of MCG implementation. These reports have been recognized as important tools for achieving transparency of the program and promoting the accountability in its implementation. EPRC has identified serious flaws in the management of the project, revealed lack of competence in several contractors, facilitated the development of transparency strategy, analyzed the impact of the program on the economic and monetary parameters in the country, and reviewed the conformity of results achieved through the implementation of projects with the goals declared in the Compact.
source: EPRC

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.

Coalition for a Clean Parliament

Evaluating candidate MPs on the following criteria: Education; Political Contribution; Public Contribution; Penal Precedents; Consistency within a Political Camp and Parliamentary Performance (only for the existing MPs); and, Involvement in Controversial Activities, which was to be effectuated only in the case when an official verdict was issued by the authorities. The goal of the project was instating dignity in the parliament, by clearing it from MPs with bad record.

Corruption in environment protection

The project consisted of the cooperation of various ecological and environment protection NGOs aiming at researching and revealing of areas, which are most prone for corruptive activities within the environment protection area. The project membership was widely open and was not aimed at particular organizations. The leading organization, ‘Towarszystwo na rzecz Ziemi’ (Association for the Earth) sent out an invitation to both NGOs and governmental agencies informing them of the project. In result 7 partners contributes to the program (in total 8 organizations), most being NGOs and one a state agency, the Polish Chamber of Commerce.
The project gathered data about the aforementioned phenomena by application of different methods:
– monitoring of daily press and internet news portals to sift information about corruption in environmental
– 6 personal in depth interviews (companies from different sectors and various locations in Poland, although three located in Wrocław)
– ordering a public opinion poll on corruption in the environment protection area
– 302 phone interviews with companies around Poland
– Analysis of reports and accessible literature
Within the framework of the project different legal analyses were ordered related to environment protection issues.

Act on Free Access to Information

A law on free access to information that is a powerful tool for corruption control and watchdog activities has been absent in the Czech legal framework for quite a long time; this project contributed to the successful culmination of the efforts to bring it into life. The seminar was widely inclusive, convening the representatives of the civil society, deputies, journalists and civil servants. The printed outcome of the seminar was distributed to the members of Chamber of Deputies before the vote. The advocacy part and media campaign implemented by TIC targeted three main groups – deputies and senators, journalist and young people. The message was simple – allow for free access to information. Tools like free postcards with a motto “Get informed by your deputy or senator when they allow you to access the information” were used. TIC issued around 10.000 postcards and sent them to all legislators and important journalists; the postcards were also distributed freely by a chain of cinemas, cafes and restaurants. The main message of the campaign was modified and extended for each of the target groups (via press releases, letters or info brochures). The campaign managed to get the deputies and senators under pressure and made some of them to make a public commitment to support the law (43 out of the 200 deputies made the public commitment they would vote for the law). An individual approach to each and every deputy and senator proved efficient; it allowed for expression of their personal opinions and for media coverage. There was also an important role of journalist who were not only transmitting the message but took active part in the campaign. TIC supplied media actively with additional info on how the law works in different European countries or delivered the statements of the involved Czech deputies. The law was adopted in spring 1999 and went into effect as of January 2000.

The Majoritarian Project: Informed Citizens and Accountable Government

TI Georgia’s project “Informed Citizens and Accountable Government”” strove to foster communication between majoritarian parliamentarians and their constituencies and promote public awareness of and input into the legislative process. To achieve these goals, TI Georgia, in cooperation with majoritarian MPs and their district office (bureau) representatives, conducted public meetings in three-month cycles in 57 districts in Georgia. At these meetings citizens received information about parliamentary developments over the last three months and its future plans. They also had the opportunity to inform their majoritarian MPs about their main concerns at the local level and share with him/her their opinions about Parliament’s work. As part of the project, TI Georgia also assessed majoritarian bureaus and administrative barriers to their work and conducted trainings for bureau staff to increase their competence.”

Positive motivation (Open Politics)

As part of the project, politicians were encouraged to publish their assets on a website (access with own password, accuracy of information cannot be verified but the public can check). Politicians could constantly update the information. The campaign targeted individual politicians, not parties, because voters can vote for individual candidates on the party lists (personalized vote).

Corruption in the Process of Issuing Building Permits

The project represents a policy analysis of the process of issuing building permits. Formal standards, laws, and rules which regulate the receipt of building permits are unclear, contradictory, and at times even impossible to fulfill. At the same time, hardly any conflicts between the issuer and the recipient of a building permit are taken to court. Official arguments and differences of opinion are a very rare occurrence, and the question is why. The study offers an explanation – practice is regulated not so much by official rules, standards and legislation as by habit and a variety of corrupt practices to resolve or avoid disputes. The study is based on data compiled from surveys, observations, analysis of documents, interviews with experts, and focus-group discussions. The study maps the construction approval process.