Presentation on theme: "Access to Public Information in Georgia Presentation of research project results Tbilisi, 22 June 2010."— Presentation transcript:
Access to Public Information in Georgia Presentation of research project results Tbilisi, 22 June 2010
National Integrity System Assessment National Integrity System: Set of institutions that, when functioning properly, safeguard against corruption and contribute to the larger struggle against the abuse of power, malfeasance, and misappropriation in all its forms. Pillars of NIS: – Executive, Judiciary and Legislative – Law-enforcement – Civil Society – Business – Media
NIS Assessment methodology Evaluation of the legal framework for the functioning of institutions (pillars) and their actual performance – Transparency – Corruption prevention – Accountability – Role Research methodology: – Desk research – Interviews with key stakeholders – Fieldtests NIS Advisory Group – open consultations
Fieldtests – Access to Information Testing of state institutions’ responsiveness to Freedom of Information requests Will citizens succeed in obtaining information to which they are legally entitled?
Fieldtests methodology Types of requestors: 2 journalists 2 representatives of NGOs 2 representatives of ethnic minorities 2 unaffiliated citizens Type of requests: Difficult requests Standard requests Total: 52 requests 6-7 requests submitted by each requestor
Legislative pillar (16) Legal Issues Committee Procedural Issues and Rules Committee Budget and Finance Committee Chief of Staff Executive Pillar (20) Ministry of Defense Ministry of JusticeMinistry of Finance Ministry of Internal Affairs Office of the Public Prosecutor Judiciary pillar (4) Supreme Court Office of the Public Defender (4) Chamber of Control (4) Institutions tested Central Election Commission (4)
Simple requests - Examples Ministry of Justice: – What are the salaries of the minister, the deputy minister, the head of department and the lead specialists? – What are the bonuses of the minister, the deputy minister, the head of department and the lead specialists? Legal Issues Committee: – What is the procedure for attending a Committee session? How can I find out when the next Committee session will be held and what issues will be discussed? How can I submit my comments to the Committee session? Central Election Commission: – Request annual (2008) political party finance reports
Difficult requests - Examples Ministry of Finance: – MoF procurements breakdown (2008) according to single-source and open tenders Ministry of Defense: – List of vehicles purchased in 2007 and 2008 by MoD and the amount of money spent on these vehicles Office of the Public Prosecutor: – Breakdown of plea bargains in 2009 according to the number of people, amount of money paid by each and crimes committed Office of the Public Defender: – Copies of recommendations that the Ombudsman's office has sent to government bodies in 2008 and 2009
Data Categorization Information Received Transferred or Referred Incomplete Answer Oral Refusal Written Refusal Mute Refusal Unable to Submit Refusal to Accept Request
Results Analysis Satisfactory outcome Information Received Correct transfer Cases where the public institution wrote the requestors that due to absence of a relevant database, the public agency would be unable to provide the full requested information Unable to submit (due to problems in the postal system) Unsatisfactory outcome Mute Refusal Incorrect transfer Incomplete information Oral or written refusal without providing an acceptable reason for refusal
Bonuses – public information? The information existing on official papers pertaining to individual’s health, his/her finances orother private matters, shall not be accessible to any one without the consent of the individual in question except in the cases determined by law, when it is necessary for ensuring the state security or public safety, for the protection of health, rights and freedoms of others. Constitution of Georgia, Art. 41 (2) –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Personal data, except for those of an official, may not be accessible for anyone without the consent of the person concerned or reasoned decision of a court, as provided in Article 28 of this Code General Administrative Code of Georgia, art. 44 (1)
Explaining motives and reasons? General Administrative Code of Georgia, Art. 37 (2) The requestor is not obliged to provide the motives and reasons for requesting public information.
Refusal to grant public information General Administrative Code of Georgia, Art. 41 The decision on refusal to grant public information must be communicated to the requestor immediately. In case of refusal to grant public information, the institution is obliged, after 3 days of rendering the decision, to notify the requestor in written on his/her rights and procedures for appeal and to inform him/her about the department [hierarchy], which took the decision not to release the public information requested.
Problems identified - summary High rate of unsatisfactory outcomes (21%) Low responsiveness of most Ministries and the Office of the Public Prosecutor Absence of databases (in some cases) Violations of timeframes within which the information should be provided In cases of refusal to grant the public information, not notifying the requestor about his/her rights and the procedures for appeal One case of asking the requestor about the motives and the aims for requesting the public information Refusal to grant information on the bonuses of public officials
Recommendations Elaborating better mechanisms of control of the persons responsible for providing public information Elaborating better databases Providing the reasons for refusal to grant the public information Defining the rights of the requestors and the procedures for appeal, in cases when information is refused If the full 10 working days’ period is needed to release the public information, the requestor should be notified about this immediately