In 2013, Georgia successful launched the process of proactively disclosing public information. Now it is especially important that state agencies fulfill their obligations and raise existing standards in order to achieve an even higher degree of transparency.
IDFI periodically monitors public agency websites in order to evaluate their compliance with the obligations of proactive disclosure. Towards the end of 2014, we conducted a large scale monitoring of mandatory public information from 2013-2014 available on websites of 133 public agencies, and provided public agencies with specific recommendations for improvement.
The latest monitoring was conducted in May 1-15, 2016. This time, we monitored the websites of the Government Administration and 16mMinistries, and looked for public information from 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. The study examines the practice of proactive disclosure of mandatory public information and compares the results with those of the previous 2014 monitoring.
The monitoring found that, as of May 2016, four ministries disclosed 100% of mandatory public information. These were: the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Prisons and Ministry of Regional Development.
The following ministries also had high results: Ministry of Refugees - 98%, Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs - 93%, Ministry of Justice – 92% and Ministry of Finance - 89%.
The least amount of public information was disclosed by: the Government Administration - 47%, Ministry of Environment Protection - 50%, Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 52% and Ministry of Agriculture - 52%.
Compared to the results of the 2014 monitoring, the average result for the Government Administration and 16 ministries decreased by 3% down to 79,2%. Despite an insignificant change in the average performance, individual public agencies saw much more significant changes.
Compared to 2014, the Government Administration and the Ministry of Environment Protection saw the biggest decline of -53% and -40%, respectively.
The sharp decline for the Government Administration (from 100% to 47%) was due to the fact that since November 2014 the administration no longer updated its website with most of its financial and other information (for example: procurement information, privatization of state property, advertising expenses, budget plan and execution, salaries, travel expenditures, vehicle expenditures, telecommunication expenditures, received and issued grants and etc.).
The Ministries of Education and Energy are exemplary, since they proactively published a 100% of the mandatory public information since 2013.
The improvement of the Ministries of Agriculture, Culture and Internal Affairs was due to the fact that they had received a very low rate in the previous 2014 monitoring report, and publishing a relatively small amount of additional information since 2015 had a significant impact on their performance. Therefore, despite some progress, these ministries still have a long way to go in terms of proactive disclosure of public information.
Our monitoring revealed that after three years of launching proactive disclosure of public information in Georgia some public agencies are not sufficiently complying with their obligations. A foremost example of this is the Government Administration, which has not updated any financial information on its website in 2015-2016.
Such disregard of obligations by the Government Administration, which authored and implemented the project on proactive disclosure of public information, threatens the future success of this mechanism.
Despite repeated calls by IDFI, public agencies still limit themselves to publishing the bare minimum information that will satisfy legal requirements.
Monitoring results suggest that the Government Administration and the majority of ministries do not try to ensure their financial transparency and proactive public access to other types of information.
IDFI calls on the Government Administration and ministries to:
• Fulfill their obligations under the 2013 Government Resolution N219.
• Not limit themselves with publishing the bare minimum information required by law.
• Proactively publish any information of public interest using a high standard of transparency.
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