Accountability Program in the Western Balkans I

The TI Accountability Programme addresses the existing deficiencies in governments accountability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia by proposing remedies in two key areas of good governance, which are currently insufficiently regulated:
– Conflict of interest of public officials
– Free access to information
The programme also aims at involving civil society in actively promoting and monitoring the above mentioned laws.
These goals are be reached by:
– Raising public awareness;
– Strengthening civil society in the region;
– Enhancing higher level of media professionalism;
– Reducing opportunities for conflict of interest of public officials;
– Ensuring free access to information for citizens.
The three-year programme is being implemented by the TI National Chapters in the respective countries and coordinated by he TI International Secretariat.

The project includes the following activities:
– Assessment of the existing legislation
– Improvement of the Laws
– Public awareness raising
– Training of journalists and CSOs representatives
– Training of public officials
– Monitoring the implementation of the Laws

Enhancing action against money-laundering and corruption in Romania: assisting the National Bureau for Preventing and Combating Money Laundering to improve the legal frame and administrative capacity

The project aimed at improving the legal frame regarding money laundering, by addressing current flaws of mechanisms in place to detect illegal gains obtained from high corruption, fiscal fraud and organized crime. Also, the project sought to improve law enforcement capacity in combating corruption and money laundering as a result of corruption. It was implemented in partnership with the National Bureau for Preventing and Combating Money Laundering, which offered technical and informational support.

Investigation & Watchdog Activities

The stated objective of the project was to contribute little by little to a more transparent government (long term approach). Crucial policy areas in need of change were identified by the project (e.g. EU Funds, party-financing, conflict of interest legislation, public procurement) and malpractice and misuse were disclosed. The gathered data was then entered into a publicly accessible database: data on public administration (government, elected positions, advisors, managements of institutions) and the flows of public resources to the private sector (results of public procurement, state subsidies, tax and customs etc).

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

Hypocrisy

The goal of the project was to exert pressure on parliamentary parties to arrive at a consensus on the need for and contours of reform in party- and campaign financing. It advocates for: (1) Introduction of a designated campaign account; (2) increased ceiling for campaign spending; (3) shortened campaign period; (4) strengthened oversight of campaigns.

Corruption Perception Study 2004

The goals of the project were to:
– Undertake a public opinion survey regarding the perception of corruption and compare the results of the survey with the baseline database developed in 2002;
– Publish the survey in both languages (local and English) and distribute to the BiH authorities at all levels including the Council of Ministers, Entity governments as well as the leading International Community representatives. The governments may opt to use the survey as an assessment base for their anti-corruption policies;
– Promote results trough mass media;
– Inform the citizens of BiH that currently have no access to information and understanding of the implications of corruption and lack of government transparency, particularly those that are relevant to them and their region;
– Stimulate broader public discussion on anti-corruption issues;
– Strengthen the rule of the law;
– Improve accountability and transparency of the public sector: public finance management, clearer budgets, prohibition of conflict of interest, depolarisation of administration;
– Involve citizens in corruption combating: associations for controlling and fighting corruption, partnership with governments, organizing political parties, influence on the leaders.

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.

INFO Act of the Year – Competition (formerly: The Biggest Friend and Enemy of Information)

The project was designed as a competition: individuals and organizations could nominate a public institution/government body as positive or negative example for providing information based on the Freedom of Access to Information Act (FOIA); at the end of each year the “winner”” was given an award (http://www.infocin.sk/).”

Media Campaign: Accountability and Transparency in Bosnia&Herzegovina

Among the goals of the project:
– Promotion of good governance (promotion of transparency and accountability of governments and their role to serve the citizens);
– Increasement of public awareness of the problem of corruption (pointing out the proportion of the problem and its negative influence on society and living standards);
– Encouragement and promotion of intolerance for corruption (promotion of intolerance towards corruption and presentation of corruption as global a problem that society needs to solve if it wants to develop);
– Promotion of anti-corruption measures (encouragement of different initiatives, which could influence a decrease in corruption);
Introduction of anti-corruption mechanism to the citizens (introduce to the citizens the ways of reporting corruption);
– Encouragement of active civic participation in the fight against corruption (including NGOs, citizens and other organisations in activities of fighting the corruption);
– Raising citizens’ awareness about the existence and possibilities that Conflict of Interrest and Freedom of Information laws offer;
– Dissemination of information about corruption to the public and other institutions (NGOs, international organisations and government agencies).

Eurofunds Watchdog – Decreasing the risk of corruption through monitoring of projects financed from EU funds

The project was designed to monitor the use of EU funds by the Slovak Government: it consisted of an analysis of information published by Slovak ministries with regards to distribution of EU money e.g. requesting CVs of evaluators of proposals, evaluation sheets for projects; it was based on the Freedom of Information Act.

Efficiency evaluation of the state budgetary process and its economic consequences

The project main objective is to make an evaluation of the procedures, related to the drawing up and spending the state budget and budget surplus, and to work out recommendations for enhanced transparency and efficiency of the budgetary process. Project implementation tools include: 1. expert studying of the budgetary process; 2. legal framework analysis; 3. of the practices for the last three years; 4. identification of strengths and weaknesses, threats and opportunities (SWOT analysis); 5. focus group, consisting of representatives of the executive power (Ministry of Finance, a Ministry, Agency for Economic Analysis and Forecasting, National Audit Office, a member of parliament); 6. drawing up recommendations for: legislative changes; improvement of the institutional coordination within the process; 7. conference presenting the results of the study and the recommendations on the budgetary process to interested persons and institutions.

National Integrity System 2004

The project sought to:
– Undertake a survey regarding the basic state pillars and bring recommendations how to reduce corruption in this institutions;
– Publish the survey in National Integrity System Study in English language;
– Promote results of National Integrity System Study through mass media;
– Stimulate broader public discussion on anti-corruption issues;
– Strength the rule of the law;
– Improve accountability and transparency of the public sector.
Activites of the project included:
– Investigation of the corruption phenomenon on the ground i.e. in 11 basic state pillars (Government, Parliament, Judiciary, Prosecutors, Police,);
– Printing of the National Integrity System Study;
– Media presentation;
– Distribution of the Study.

Support and assistance in out-of-court resolution of conflict in the sphere of secondary education through the establishment of school mediators

The project was realized under the Coalition 2000 and USAID initiative: “Civil Society Against Corruption”” Small Grants Program. Its primary goal was the legitimization of the school mediator as a possibility for resolution of conflicts in the sphere of secondary education.”

Support to good governance: Project against corruption in Ukraine (UPAC)

The UPAC Project aimed at strengthening Ukrainian institutions’ capacities in their anti-corruption efforts. It comprised three components: 1. Support to the creation of the strategic and institutional framework against corruption; 2. Strengthening of capacities for the prevention of corruption. 3. Strengthening of the legal framework and the enforcement of anti-corruption legislation. Although this was a project implemented by the Council of Europe office in Kyiv, it did involve NGOs into their activities.

The Price of the State

The overall goal of the project, The Price of the State, is to improve general public and especially young generation’s general knowledge of the basic mechanisms and proportions of public finance. We consider it as an important step in increasing the public awareness and pressure on the transparency and fiscal responsibility of the government. Since the knowledge of public finance issues is very poor not only among general public, but also among graduates from high schools and even universities, the voter lacks information necessary for rational decisions and effective civic engagement. The Price of the State concentrates detailed data on revenues and expenditures for public administration. With the help of our portal it’s possible to get a comprehensive overview of how much the state takes in and spends and how these quantities are changing over time. In order to visualize the dimensions of individual state expenditures we use indicators which convert individual items into per-capita or per-working person costs. We go over some of the numbers in more detail, briefly commenting on them under the heading Number of the Day. The Universe of Public Expenditures offers a graphical image of the dimensions of public finance. Those hunting bargains in the public sphere are invited to Buy Your Own State.

Public budgets monitoring

The project aims at consolidating a systematic approach to the civil monitoring and control over budgetary process. Its activities include: drawing up reports on the implementation of budget 2006; comments and evaluations, provoked by specific information occasions, related to budget proposals for 2007; drawing up a report on the status of health insurance system; drawing up a report on the readiness for absorption of European Structural funds; making of sector analysis of the expenses in the field of education; analysis of the efficiency of the existing system for education funding and the opportunities for its enhancement.