Press Release: We Proposed Measures for the Open Government Action Plan

At the moment, there is ongoing work on the preparation of the second Action Plan of Montenegro within the global initiative Open Government Partnership. The working group in charge of preparation of this document is actively considering the large number of ideas submitted by members of the working group, consisted of the representatives of the Government and NGOs. Institute alternative is one of, currently, four NGOs which are part of this team. Three others are CCE (Center for Civic Education), CDT (Center for Democratic Transition) and MANS (Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector).

IA has submitted ten key recommendations with the aim of reforms in the field of increasing public integrity, efficient management of the public resources and responsible Government work.

When it comes to transparency of public finances, we have recommended the establishing of the public register containing all projects financed from the capital budget of Montenegro. It would contain the data on invested resources and current stage of the project. We have proposed that each project was presented with its full documentation and simplified description, the amount of resources invested for each year and the current stage of realization of the project. The register would be public, easy to use, search and retrieve data.

Bearing in mind that significant resources of citizens are being spent through public procurement procedures, we have proposed an urgent improvement of the situation on the Public Procurement website. In order to improve transparency, the amendments to the Law on Public Procurement are urgently needed:

  • obligation to publish reports on the public procurement portal and standardized form (in any of the formats that are machine-readable – CSV, XML, JSON and Excel) filled by the purchaser to disclose information on public procurement portal;
  • the obligation of uniformed way of naming the documents in order to have the automatic classification with the aim of giving access of data to the interested parties
  • introduce the visual classification of data by the type o documents and automatic data processing from the Public procurement reports – A, B and C forms
  • the obligation of publishing direct agreements

We have also suggested the improvement of the implementation of the Data Secrecy Law. We believe that it is necessary that the Directorate for Protection of Classified Information prepares a report on the implementation of the Data Secrecy Act in the last 3 years, which would include an analysis of the implementation of all the provisions, in particular the following information:

  • list of data whose secrecy has expired, within the legally prescribed time limit (with a brief description)
  • the list of the state bodies which established the commission to periodically review the confidentiality of the data with the number of data whose confidentiality is considered,
  • the number of information with reduced level of confidentiality
  • list of data (information or document with brief description), from which the designation of confidentiality is removed
  • information on the implementation of penal provisions, particularly the list of legal entities convicted on the basis of each point of Article 82 (individually).

It is also necessary that all state bodies have the special section on their websites publishing of data, information, documents, from which the designation of secrecy has been removed or has expired within the legally specified period, as well as the decision on the establishing of the commission to periodically review as well as short information about their work and results.

One of our proposals relates to the improvement of the work of the Ethics Committee to monitor the application of the Code of Ethics of state employees. It is necessary to introduce the amendments to the Code of Ethics to proscribe an obligation to publish a public call for all officers, employees and representatives of civil society organizations to apply for membership of the Ethics Committee. The procedures for the election of members of the Board should be made on the basis of consultations between the heads of state bodies, taking into account the professional and working quality of the applicants when talking about civil servants and employees, and with respect to the expertise of civil society organizations. It is also important to establish the site of the Ethics Committee which would publish all the relevant information about its work, and also provide the citizens with the opportunity to submit complaints online.

In order to improve the implementation of public policies in the field of public administration reform, it is necessary to include representatives of NGOs in working bodies for the public administration reform, as well in monitoring of implementation of the Public Sector Internal Reorganisation Plan and local government reform.

When it comes to improving the transparency of the Government’s work, our proposal is to provide a live stream broadcast sessions on the Government website. Also, it is needed amend the Decision on publishing materials from Government sessions in order to modify the practice of publishing drafts, not only the adopted version of documents. We have also suggested introducing the practice of publishing the minutes of the session of the Government, or at least parts related to expert discussions and decision making of systemic solutions; and reconsider the need for the adoption of the Law on the Government.

We have proposed measures for improving keeping track of statistics in the field of criminal law and judiciary: to form a working group which will consist of representatives of the Police, the State Prosecutor’s Office, Supreme Court, Ministry of Justice, etc., which will prepare the analysis of the current situation and differences in the statistical reports of the Police, the Prosecution Office and of the Courts, and to propose measures for the gradual harmonization of statistics, with a deadlines for the implementation of the conclusions and recommendations.

Finally, it is necessary to amend the Law on Public procurement in way that it will proscribe, apart from the obligation of the publishing the direct agreements:

  • publishing the amount of collected funds and financial repayment plans on a quarterly basis;
  • delivering the monitoring reports on the implementation of contracts of public-private partnerships and concessions on a quarterly basis to the competent authority for updating the register (with information on delays, termination of contract and other relevant information for the realization of the contract);
  • include the information from the previous register on concessions in the newly established one;
  • delivering all data in any of the formats that are machine-readable.

Dina Bajramspahić

Public policy researcher and representative of IA in the OGP Operational Team

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