It is mentioned in Georgia’s Anti-Corruption Strategy that involvement of local governments in the work of Anti-Corruption Council and supporting anti-corruption activities at the local governments is vital for an effective implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy.
Despite the goal of the Strategy, it is obvious that corruption remains a structural problem in the local governments. Anti-Corruption action plan does not assess the preventive methods for the risks of corruption, neither are the local governments involved in the work of the Anti-Corruption Council.
Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) researched the local government’s involvement in anti-corruption activities. The research attached below overviews an international practice, analyzes what political documents are elaborated in order to prevent corruption in local governments. IDFI believes it is important to implement principles of openness, transparency, accountability, integrity in local governments and boost citizen engagement - all of which requires a robust anti-corruption policy and effective preventive mechanisms.
Research findings can be summed up in following statements:
In the countries where corruption is very low (Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, etc) there are no anti-corruption strategies or action plans. However, in countries with rampant corruption (e.g. Kenya) anti-corruption strategy is an official policy document and comprises various initiatives for the local governments.
Anti-Corruption Commission or an entity with similar authority operates basically in every country of the world. The Commissions conduct anti-corruption activities national-wide, assembling data on the facts of corruption and observation.
Based on levels of corruption anti-corruption initiatives for local governments also differ worldwide. However, certain initiatives emerge as the most prominent anti-corruption measures in various countries and are found in 90% of the Anti-Corruption Strategies and Action Plans, these are the mechanisms, which aim at preventing conflict of interest at the public sector, adopting code of conduct, raising awareness of civil servants and civil society on the anti-corruption topics, increasing the role of civil society in anti-corruption activities and spreading appropriate literature for the above-mentioned reason, conducting information meetings, trainings, presentations; and declaring assets by public officials.
Many countries use technologies for innovative approach, for instance, anti-corruption hotline is a widely used practice (the Netherlands, Moldova, Singapore, Jordan); calling on a hotline the citizens can provide information on the facts of corruption or receive information about corruption. There are also tests for any interested individual, which check their knowledge related to corruption, the tests also raise awareness of the citizens (Singapore, Moldova), interactive games for adults (Singapore) is another innovative approach which ensures formation of civil awareness among the youngsters.
Therefore, IDFI believes that ensuring openness and transparency in local governments is very important for an effective functioning of the local governments and prevention of corruption. Raising awareness on the threats, effects of corruption among citizens as well as civil servants, and establishing preventive mechanisms is vital. In order to achieve above-mentioned goals there must be basic methods to prevent corruption e.g.: eradication of conflict of interest, implementing the code of ethics, raising awareness of the civil society and ensuring their engagement in anti-corruption activities, conducting trainings for the civil servants, using the tests, implementing the practice of hotlines, proactively publishing information about the facts of corruption, development of professional skills of the people employed at the municipalities.
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