The 2017-2020 Strategy and 2017-2018 Action Plan for Increasing Transparency and Integrity at the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure was adopted by Decree №69/o of the Minister. These policy documents were created by the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) within the framework of the project Developing a Transparency and Integrity Framework for the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia with active cooperation with the Ministry. The project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) project Democratic Governance Initiative (GGI) in Georgia.
The aim of the project was to develop institutional capacity of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure in areas of good governance. In particular, the project aimed to improve transparency, integrity and accountability mechanisms in the Ministry and its subordinate agencies.
Within the scope of the project, IDFI assessed existing practices and capacities of transparency, accountability and integrity. Throughout the assessment, IDFI relied on responses of the Ministry representatives, as well as issues identified during interviews with private companies, independent experts and civil society organizations.
IDFI was also actively involved in the process of developing the strategy and its supporting action plan. The strategic documents are based on the analysis of the existing situation, as well as on best practices that are established in areas of governance and accountability. Elaboration of such sectoral strategic documents also related to the recommendations of the Fourth Monitoring Report, published by the OECD Anti-Corruption Network (CAN) in October 2016. The first recommendation of the monitoring report underlines the importance of assessing the level of integrity and transparency on the sectoral level and planning relevant actions of for individual agencies.
The strategic document provides four main priority areas:
- Increasing Transparency and Public Participation;
- Improving Ethics and Integrity Mechanisms;
- Improving the System of Human Resource Management;
- Improving the System of Planning, Monitoring and Internal Financial Control.
The action plan of the strategy provides activities that are aimed at increasing access to public information, improving capacities related to open data, implementing e-participation tool, improving existing public participation mechanisms, improving mechanisms of public ethics and whistleblower protection, effective planning of human resources and increasing monitoring and evaluation capacities of the employees of the Ministry and its subordinate agencies. For instance, the action plan includes following activities aimed at improving transparency and integrity at the Ministry:
- Identifying individuals responsible for disclosing public information in state-owned enterprises managed by the Ministry and increasing their capacities;
- Proactively publishing information in state-owned enterprises managed by the Ministry;
- Updating internal regulations for the purpose of ensuring the protection of ethics and integrity norms;
- Developing a human resource management policy document that introduces transparent standards and regulations;
- Developing employee selection procedures and standards that ensure fair competition and transparency of procedures in state-owned enterprises managed by the Ministry;
- Improving the construction assessment mechanism for infrastructure projects implemented by entities subordinate to the Ministry.
The 2017-2018 action plan includes activities aimed at improving capacities of human resources, as well as activities related to refining internal regulations and elaborating guideline documents. The implementation of the strategy and action plan will also support improvement of good governance practices in those state-owned enterprises that are managed by the Ministry.
IDFI also supported the Ministry in the development of indicators and the monitoring methodology of the strategy and action plan, which will benefit the future sustainability of the process and will enable both the Ministry and the public to evaluate the achieved results.
Before the final adoption of the policy documents, IDFI has assisted the Ministry in organizing a public discussion of the strategy and action plan, which was held on March 21 at Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel. The participants of the public discussion included representatives of civil society and international organizations, as well as individual experts.
Creating a strategy and action plan for increasing transparency and integrity are obligations undertaken by the Ministry within the Open Government Partnership 2016-2017 National Action Plan. Joining OGP with the above-mentioned commitments was actively advocated by IDFI, since it closely related to the grand challenge of “increasing integrity in the public sector”, to which Georgia has committed as an active member of the OGP community.
IDFI considers elaboration of sectoral integrity and transparency policy documents highly important, since using an individually tailored approach is more practical for identifying the problem and elaborating ways how to resolve it.
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