Bosnia and Herzegovina falls behind the world trends in publication of information of public significance, which can be seen in the legal framework, as well as in the practices in this area, as has been pointed out today during the presentation of the results of research on application of the standards of proactive transparency in the institutions of BiH, held in the Statistics Agency of BiH.
Generally, the research results point to a relatively low degree of proactive transparency of the institutions covered by this research, and the least published information is on budget and the salaries of the employees. Also, a significant number of institutions do not publish annual work plans, work reports and information on public procurements. Nevertheless, that research noted, inter alia, certain good practices and positive trends in the domain of proactive transparency.
Presentation on transparency was organised by four BH institutions, which cooperate in the theme area Communication and Knowledge Management within the Programme of Strengthening of Public Institutions in BiH and the Centre for Social Research “Analitika”.
Within the Programme of Strengthening of Public Institutions in BiH, which by the commission of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany is implemented by the GIZ, four beneficiary institutions (the Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office, the Directorate for European Integration, the Statistics Agency of BiH and the Agency for Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance) initiated in mid-2015 the initiative for improvement of transparency in public administration.
In cooperation with the civil society organisations, they drafted the standards of proactive transparency in public administration in BiH, which defined 38 documents and specific types of information classified in six categories (budget, public procurement, strategic documents, operative, organisation, as well as information and documents stipulated by the Freedom of Information Act in BiH).
In May this year, the Centre for Social Research “Analitika” implemented a research on fulfilment of the standards of proactive transparency, and availability of the documents or information on the web sites of 68 institutions at the state level, and analysis of the web sites was done for the second time in September this year.
According to the research results, the average level of proactive transparency of public institutions at the level of BiH is 34.8 per cent, which means that observing as a whole, there is a relatively low level of proactive transparency of the institutions covered by the research having in mind that the differences between the institutions were quite large.
Observed by individual categories, the least published information are those concerning division and spending of public funds. Although the budgets for all institutions at the level of BiH are published as a part of the Law on the Budget if the Institutions and International Obligations of BiH, a good practice in this field would imply that institutions publish their budget on official web sites. However, almost 91 per cent of the institutions do not do that, and no institutions published their analytic budget.
In the domain of publication of information on public procurements, the results were somewhat better, which could probably be credited to the Law on Public Procurements of BiH, which mandates the institutions to publish a greater number of information in the domain of public procurements. However, a significant number of institutions does not publish their plans of public procurements (28 per cent) and basic elements of the contracts (50 per cent), although it is a legal obligation.
Regarding operation information, 62 per cent of the institutions do not have a published annual work plan, while almost 70 per cent of the institutions do not publish work reports. Also, no institutions publish the allocations for appointed officials, civil servants and employees.
Regarding achievement of the right to access to information, a great number of institutions failed to publish an index-register (44 per cent), a guide for free access to information (22 per cent), or a request for free access to information (34 per cent), in spite the fact that publication of these documents is stipulated by the Freedom of Information Act of BiH from 2000.
Deputy director of the Statistics Agency of BiH, Fadil Fatić, said on this occasion that their main principle of action was to publish all the documents proactively, on the web site, which is primarily related with their budget and strategic documents.
“In the document Development Strategy 2020, we clearly defined our role, vision and objectives that we always try to harmonise with the programmes and objectives from the Reform Agenda, and it is clear that in the coming period we have demanding objectives after we receive a questionnaire with several thousand questions, as the next step in accession of BiH to the European Union”, said Fatić.
For the Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office, it is significant to mention that they should be an example of good practice, considering that they provide certain instructions and guides how to implement that reform.
“That is the reason we decided to start very early the activities regarding the proactive transparency and at the beginning of the year, in the first research, together with the said four institutions, our result was around 63 per cent of standard fulfilment. In the second research, we achieved 87.7 per cent, and we are the highest ranking institution in BiH in proactive transparency and data publication, and in the meantime, we met all 38 standards of proactive transparency”, pointed out Dragan Ćuzulan, public administration reform coordinator.
The project coordinator of the Centre for Social Research “Analitika”, Nermina Voloder, presented the results of the research, as well as recommendations, do the BiH institutions would make a step forward in application of the standards and principles of proactive transparency. In that sense, as pointed out, it is necessary for the BiH institutions to work more intensively and systematically on promotion of standards and principles of proactive transparency. (Source: Klix.ba)
Document “Application of standards of proactive transparency in the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Several examples of good practice”, which noted that the Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office was the only institution that published by September 2016 the salaries of employees, statements on conducted consultations, as well as all the information from the category of organisation information and information on free access to information, can be downloaded here.