Implementation of measures from the Strategy for Development of Public Procurement System is not improving this area

The first Semi-annual Report on implementation of the Action Plan for 2016 showed that its measures are not defined in a way to measure real, but only imaginary improvement in public procurement system in Montenegro.

In July this year, the Government adopted the first Semi-annual Report on implementation of the Action Plan for 2016 for implementation of the Strategy for Development of Public Procurement System 2016-2020, which showed all the shortcomings of the adopted strategic framework.

As stated in the Report, 15 out of 31 measures for the first half of 2016 are implemented completely, another 15 are being implemented continuously while one measure has not been yet implemented.

The measure that refers to preparation of expert basis for the adoption of a new Public Procurement Law (PPL), while ensuring full transparency and participation on the occasion of adoption of the new PPL have not been implemented yet. Bearing in mind that the implementation of this activity is delayed, we can expect a delay in the preparation and adoption of the new Law, which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2017.

However, parts of the Report that refer to the implemented measures and those that are being implemented continuously are particularly interesting and point to the flaws in the preparation of the Strategy.

It is particularly problematic that a measure that refers to “punishments in case of violation of PPL” is marked as implemented, without specifying the number, authorities and the total value or the amount of penalties imposed.

We remind that 20% of contracting authorities – 134 of them, did not compile and submit to the Public Procurement Administration (PPA) Public Procurement Plan; almost 10% of contracting authorities did not submit at all their Reports on Public Procurement Procedures conducted during 2015, while nearly 50% of them did not do it within legal deadline.

The media wrote and it is familiar to the public that, for example, the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs did not compile and submit the report to PPA within the legal deadline. However, this Ministry is not on the list of authorities that did not submit a report, which was published by PPA in its Annual report. Additionally, the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs is also not on the list of entities controlled by the Administration for Inspection Affairs – Department for Inspection of Public Procurement, which is an integral part of the Semi-annual Report on Inspection Supervision in the Field of Public Procurement, adopted by the Government in late August. Inspection for Public Procurement has not taken any action within its jurisdiction to prosecute this authority for violating the Law.

Therefore, this measure could not be marked as implemented without specifying the above-mentioned types of violations, offenders and sentenced fines.

Furthermore, according to the Institute Alternative (IA)’s findings, 9 out of 23 municipalities exceeded during 2015 legally allowed percentage of use of direct agreement, as well as 10 out of 33 authorities whose reports we analysed. However, the PPL recognizes only the percentage limitation for the use of direct agreements annually – more than 10%, and exceptionally 20% of total annual completed budget for public procurement, but no misdemeanor liability and fines in case where that percentage is higher.

Within the reporting period were reportedly implemented also the measures that refer to establishing of a coordinated communication between the competent institutions for monitoring and control of public procurement procedures, strengthening their capacities and improvement of their cooperation, as well as establishing and maintaining regular communication with the public, bidders and contracting authorities.

Some of the implemented measures imply regular activities of the authorities or are derived from the Law, such as organization of annual Public Procurement Forum by the PPA, appointment of additional employees in State Commission for the Control of Public Procurement Procedures (SC), appointment of the President of SC and publishing of public procurement related documentation on the Public Procurement Portal.

For none of the abovementioned measures, the Report does not specify the achieved results, such as, for example, additional results achieved in prosecuting violators of the PPL by the Inspection for Public Procurement in relation to its increased capacities or the results achieved by the State Commission after the appointment of its President and hiring two more state officers, including the Secretary of the State Commission.

One of the performance indicators of State Commission’s work with strengthened capacities could be, for example, shorter period of processing complaints, or an increased number of processed cases in the reporting period, but the Report says nothing about it. Therefore, the very implementation of these and similar measures cannot point to real, but only the imaginary progress in the development of public procurement system.

Thus, the report says that nearly 50% of the measures whose implementation is planned for the first half of 2016 is fulfilled, and the implementation of another 50% is in progress. However, without specifying clear, concrete results of relevant institutions, arising from the implementation of measures from the Strategy, it cannot be said that the public procurement system in Montenegro in the past six months has been improved.

Be reminded that the Strategy for Development of Public Procurement System in Montenegro 2016-2020 was adopted in December 2015, without organizing public hearing, the Draft Strategy was not published on the website of the PPA nor the Ministry of Finance, which deprived interested parties of the possibility of submitting comments and improving the content of the document, which affected the quality of this strategic document.

Public policy researcher

Press release: Depoliticization and corruption – key priorities of police reform in the region

The priorities of police reform in the region are better management of human resources and cooperation with other institutions, as well as more efficient fight against corruption, it was stated at the panel discussion of Institute Alternative and POINTPULSE network

Panel discussion “Police reform in the context of EU integration of the Western Balkans” was organized within the project “Pulse for integrity and confidence in the police in the Western Balkans – POINTPULSE”, funded by the European Union.

A key conclusion of the discussion was that police reform refers to improving its functioning so it could be more citizen-friendly.

Despite the specifics reflected in uneven progress in negotiations with the European Union, the Western Balkan countries share a number of problems and challenges, where corruption and too much political influence on operational policing stand out.

Dina Bajramspahić, researcher at the Institute Alternative, while presenting the experience of Montenegro, pointed out that our country, after five years of negotiations and opening 24 chapters, is a good example of how the process of EU integration should not be underestimated, nor overestimated.

She added that the external actors find it difficult to follow the negotiations because the key reports remain out of reach to the public.

As she states, the key priorities of the reform of the police should be recruitment and promotion based on merit and not on political influence, as well as the rationalization of the police.

“In Montenegro, we have the paradox of police service being overabundant, and at the same time lacking personnel,” said Bajramspahić, adding that police have long been treated as a social service for the disposal, which left long-term effects on the professional service.

Andreja Bogdanovski, from Analytica, Skopje referred to problems in Macedonia, which are partly consequence of delays in the negotiations with the EU.

He stressed that the high expectations of the EU integration process is a myth that should be defeated.

“The European integration process is not comprehensive because some gray areas remain outside“, added Bogdanovski, referring to secret surveillance measures as an example.

Bojan Elek, from Belgrade Center for Security Policy, commented on the police reform in Serbia, which lasts for fifteen years: “The entire process of reform can be described as a handful of great announcements and ideas, which while being implemented turns into something opposite“. Elek had particularly emphasized the incident in Belgrade Savamala area, when the police did not intervene in the case of demolition, which showed that there is no independence of the police and the political impact on operational policing is great.

Sanjin Hamidičević, from the Centre for Security Studies, based in Sarajevo, stressed that the police reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been initiated mostly from outside, in the post-war period.

This country’ specificity is the complex structure of the administration, and therefore the police agency, which has a negative impact on attempts to reform in this area.

Besjana Kuči, from the Institute for Democracy and Mediation from Tirana, stressed the need for a more proactive approach to enforcing police integrity.

She believes that police reform cannot be implemented in isolation from other reforms, and as one of the good results of police reform in the Western Balkans she highlighted the strengthening of regional cooperation.

“A good example is the joint border crossing between Montenegro and Albania,” she added.

Plator Avdiu from the Kosovo Centre for Security Studies, based in Priština, stated that one of the key challenges of police reform is human resource management, particularly in the context of the recent budget cutbacks for these purposes.

He also pointed to the unfavorable age structure of the Kosovo Police, for which the Government has adopted a program of early retirement for a large number of officers.

Avdiu stressed the adverse social policy in respect of the police officers in Kosovo, which are not adequately insured.

During the discussion it was pointed out that most of mentioned problems and challenges is identified by strategic documents of the Montenegrin government, primarily by the Police Development Strategy for the period 2016-2020.

Aleksandar Saša Zeković, president of the Council for Civil Control of the Police, noted that despite the different progress in EU integration, all countries in the region share the same problems when it comes to the actions of the police in a crisis, which is confirmed by the incidents that followed the opposition protests in October 2015.

He stressed the need for strengthening the external and internal control of police work.

Michal Kopcik, Counsellor at the Embassy of the Slovak Republic, said that the social protection of police officers is one of the key elements of the police reform, which is unjustifiably absent from the discussion.

However, he believes that a strict framework of punishment should accompany the improvement of social policy towards police officers.

Radovan Ljumović, Head of Department for Analytics, improving the work and development of the police, agrees with the message of panel discussion – that police reform must be complementary with other reforms in society, as the lack of accountability is the shortcoming of the overall system.

The study, with a comprehensive assessment of the police integrity in Montenegro, as well as in other countries covered by POINTPULSE project, will be presented later this year.

At the link below you can see a video clip of Television Vijesti from today’s event:


Here you can check out the Radio television of Montenegro report on our event:

Press release: NGO representatives in the Council for Development of NGOs are boycotting the work of this institution

Although the President of the Council for Development of NGOs Marija Vučinović scheduled the session for 12 September, the members of the Council from the ranks of non-governmental organisations will not take part in its work.

Representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) informed the Council about their decision. As the reason behind it, they stated that none of their demands was met since July 22 when they submitted them in written format to the President of this body.

They demanded from the President of the Council “to provide written assurance that the official opinions of the Council will in future primarily be sent to the members of the Council for deliberation and verification and then in such, verified format delivered to the Government.” This decision of the Council’s NGO members is in accordance with the joint assessment that the President of the Council, together with the Office for Cooperation with NGOs, have modified the Opinion approved by the Council’s majority in relation to the Report on the procedure of issuing the Decision on the allocation of revenue from games of chance for 2016, added stands and opinions which the Council did not approve, and delivered it to the Government hereby rendering the Opinion previously adopted by the Council meaningless.

Council’s NGO representatives have also requested written assurance that the press releases from the future sessions of the Council will be delivered to the Council’s members in a timely manner (before delivery to the media).

The letter with the demands is an expression of the culmination of relations between the President of the Council and the Head of the Office for Cooperation with NGOs on one side and representatives of non-governmental organisations in the Council on the other.

Council’s NGO representatives believe that the dialogue management and the decision-making process in the Council do not respect the views of non-governmental organisations.

The topic on the agenda of the scheduled session is deliberation on the Draft analysis of the effects of implementation of the 2014-2016 Strategy for Development of NGOs.

Stevo MUK
President of the Managing Board

Panel discussion announcement: Police reform in the context of EU integration of the Western Balkans

Venue: Hotel Podgorica, Svetlane Kane Radević 1, Podgorica

Time: Wednesday, 7 September from 10:00

Regional network of civil society organizations POINTPULSE is organizing a panel discussion “Police reform in the context of EU integration of the Western Balkans ” that will be held on Wednesday, 7 September from 10:00 in the Hotel Podgorica, (address: Svetlane Kane Radević Street, no 1, in Podgorica.

The discussion will be held in Montenegrin, Serbian, Bosnian and English language. Simultaneous translation will be provided.

These questions will be address at the event:

  • What are expected benefits for the citizens from the application of police reform in the context of EU integration process?
  • What are the good results in the police reform so far in the region?
  • What are main challenges in developing democratic and accountable police?
  • What should be the priorities of the police reform process in the region?


  • Andreja Bogdanovski from Analytica, Skopje;
  • Bojan Elek from Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP), Belgrade;
  • Sanjin Hamidičević from Centre for Security Studies (CSS), Sarajevo;
  • Dina Bajramspahić from Institute Alternative, Podgorica;
  • Besjana Kuci from Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM), Tirana;
  • Plator Avdiu from Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS), Pristine.

Moderator: Milena Milošević, public policy researcher, Institute Alternative.

This event is a part of the “Western Balkans Pulse for Police Integrity and Trust – POINTPULSE” project supported by the European Union through Civil Society Facility programme.

Public opinion survey results: Majority of citizens trust the Police, despite their perception that the corruption is present

Six out of ten citizens trust the Police. Nevertheless, majority of citizens considers that the corruption in this institution is relatively widespread, according to results of public opinion survey presented today.

Institute Alternative has presented the results of field research, conducted in April 2016 by IPSOS Strategic Marketing, on representative sample of 1000 adult citizens of Montenegro.

“In addition to the high level of public trust, views also showed that they generally have positive associations with the average policemen and policewomen,” Milena Milošević, researcher at IA said at the presentation.

However, she stressed that these positive results are in contrast to other research findings, giving a somewhat complex picture of the citizens’ views of the police.

Citizens also believe that corruption within this institution is relatively widespread, and that the police mostly serves to particular interests. According to the citizens, employment in the police is not merit-based.

Namely, 36% of citizens believe that corruption is widespread to some extent, while over 19% believe that it is widespread to the highest level. Only 13% of citizens believe that corruption in the police force does not exist.

The perception of corruption in the police is one of the most stable results of this year’s survey compared to a similar survey conducted last year. Citizens of Serbian nationality have less confidence in the police and they perceive it as alienated from citizens. Less than half of respondents (42%) who identified themselves as Serbs say they mostly or completely have confidence in the police.

The novelty of this year’s survey was the focus on citizens’ opinions about policewomen.

“Although policewomen are mainly attributed with positive attributes, this research confirms the existence of certain stereotypes about women. Beauty, looks and charm are among the most common first associations to policewoman, while less than 1% of the respondents have had the same first association when it comes to average policeman. Also, none of the respondents considered that the average man in the police was not up to his job, while 5% of respondents expressed that view when asked to describe women in the police, ” Milošević explained.

She also pointed out that the results do not match the comparing trust of the public and the perception of corruption in them, when it comes to other institutions as well.

“For example, confidence in healthcare system is high, although citizens believe that corruption in healthcare system is also relatively widespread,” she added, pointing to the underdeveloped political culture of doubting in state institutions’ performance as one of the possible explanations for these contradictory results.

Marko Sošić, IA Associate, noted that the public opinion survey, based solely on perceptions of citizens, will be complemented by in-depth qualitative research on the integrity of the police, which will be presented in a separate publication.

The research was conducted within the project “Western Balkans Pulse for Police Integrity and Trust”, which aims to contribute to building confidence in the police by promoting accountability and strengthening the integrity of the police.

POINTPULSE network, formed for this purpose, consists of seven CSOs from the region: Analytika from Skopje, Belgrade Center for Security Policy (BCSP) and Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) from Belgrade, Center for Security Studies (CSS) from Sarajevo, Institute alternative (IA) from Podgorica, Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) from Tirana, and Kosovo Centre for Security Studies (KCSS) in Pristina.

Below you can see the presentations of today’s event: