Proactive disclosure of public information is one of the most significant commitments Georgia took within the framework of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The goal of the commitment is to guarantee proactive accountability and transparency of public institutions.
With resolution N219 of the Government of Georgia of August 26, 2013, at the initial stage, a certain standard of proactive transparency was established in the country, which needed improvement in the future. Specifically, this resolution includes a list of minimum information pertaining to the activities and finances of administrative bodies that should be available to any interested person, although this minimal effort did not guarantee a high standard of proactive transparency. Since 2013, despite numerous recommendations from IDFI, the Georgian government has not taken significant steps for improvement. For years, the IDFI initiative that aims to improve the existing standard of proactive disclosure of information and implement the second wave of reform has remained unanswered by the Georgian authorities. The government also did not respond to IDFI’s initiative to approve a new list of information subject to proactive disclosure by public institutions during the COVID-19 crisis. IDFI developed the mentioned list while taking into account international practice and the challenges in the country, and presented it to the Georgian authorities in the form of a recommendation.
Moreover, in past years, IDFI's research projects made it clear that most public institutions were unable to ensure the proper fulfillment of the minimal obligations imposed by the government decree.
As mentioned, despite multiple efforts by IDFI, to this date no significant changes have been made to the existing standard for proactive disclosure of information. Therefore, within the scope of the following report, no changes have been made to the methodology uses to assess the state of proactive disclosure of information.
The report assesses the proactive access of public information in Georgia as of November-December 2022 and outlines the main trends and tendencies of proactive access to information compared to previous years. The report also includes proactive transparency ratings of public institutions.
- Since 2013, the Georgian government has not taken any significant steps to improve the standards of proactive disclosure of information.
- As of December 2022, 13 out of 128 monitored public institutions did not have websites; among these was the Ministry of Culture and Sport.
- 17 public institutions did not have a public information section on their website or did not publish any information in this section;
- In 2022, the average compliance rate of proactive accessibility of public information is 60%, 4% higher than in 2021 and it 11% lower compared to the same indicator from 2014;
- In 2022, only three public institutions (Financial-Analytical Service, National Statistics Service, and the National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement) had fully (100%) published information in compliance with the requirements of the relevant legal act;
- Among central public institutions, the lowest compliance was demonstrated by the Administration of the Government (34%), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (35%), and the Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Reconciliation and Civic Equality (30%).
- The majority of the information related to public procurement and finances available on the website of the Government comprises only the information as of the year 2014. Therefore, since 2014, the Administration of the Government has not actually fulfilled the obligations defined by the decree of the Government of Georgia.
- Among central public institutions, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (97%) and the Ministry of Defense (96%) have the highest assessment rating of the implementation of the government's decree;
- Compared to 2021, among the 14 central public institutions, 7 had a lower indicator for proactive disclosure of information;
- Compared to 2021, the indicator for proactive disclosure of information in the LEPLs subordinate to the ministries improved by 3%. Nevertheless, 43% of them had published less than 50% of the information subject to mandatory disclosure on their website;
- The publication of the information related to the management of finances remains the most problematic topic in this regard;
- None of the evaluated public institutions published information in the form of open data (e.g., CSV or XML). 38 public institutions published specific financial information in the Excel format;
- An archive of proactively published information of previous years was available on the websites of only 61 public institutions.
The monitoring results as of December 2022 demonstrate that most agencies still fail to provide a high standard of disclosure of public information and in a consistent manner.
It should be noted that public institutions fulfilled their obligations with a much higher degree of responsibility when the standard of proactive disclosure of information was first established. For example, according to the monitoring results in 2014, the overall rating of proactive disclosure in public institutions was at 71%, which is 11% higher than the result from 2021.
The attitude of public institutions towards the completely novel, proactive standard of transparency of state agencies introduced in Georgia in 2013 significantly hampers the prospects for further development of the reform. Of particular note in this regard is the approach of the Administration of the Government of Georgia, the main coordinating body of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), which since 2014 has not actually fulfilled the obligations set out in the government decree.
Nevertheless, in the light of the challenges faced with regard to proactive disclosure of public information, the steps taken by certain agencies with the purpose of improving proactive transparency in 2022 should be evaluated positively. For example, the Supreme Council of Ajara approved a significantly improved decree on proactive disclosure of information and began publishing corresponding public information on its website. In addition, during the current monitoring period, IDFI identified 7 public institutions that created a section for public information on their websites and published information there following the 2020 IDFI monitoring.
In the case of certain agencies, we encounter cases of detailed breakdowns of certain categories of data. For example, the website of the National Statistic Service presents detailed information on the real estate on its balance sheet and its grants. On the website of the Ministry of Education and Science, information on remuneration and business trip expenses is published with the names of the officials listed separately, while information pertaining to other employees is provided in summary form. Additionally, information on the vehicles on the balance sheet is presented with an indication of the vehicle model, production year, date of purchase, price, and residual value.
IDFI considers it a good practice is to publish the most detailed possible information on the following points:
In order to improve the quality of proactive disclosure of information, public institutions should take into account IDFI's core recommendations for improving the list of information subject to mandatory proactive publication. Additionally:
- Public institutions should provide access to any public information of public interest based. Moreover, it should be required to publish any information that was requested by at least 3 or more individuals within a year;
- Public institutions should not limit themselves to the minimum standard set by the government decree and should publish information in detailed form (for example: by indicating the names and surnames of officials to whom the data is related;
- The practice of publishing public information in an open data format and placing it on the data portal on data.gov.ge should be introduced.
After a long period of consultations, meetings, and negotiations with the civil society, with the active support of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) and other non-governmental organizations, on August 26, 2013, the Government of Georgia adopted Resolution No. 219 "On the request and proactive publication of public information in electronic form". The decree entered into force on September 1, 2013, and public institutions within the sphere of government administration were instructed to create "public information" websites and publish the information stipulated in the appendix to the government decree on their electronic resources by December 31, 2013.
This material has been financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida. Responsibility for the content rests entirely with the creator. Sida does not necessarily share the expressed views and interpretations.
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