Openness Should Be the Policy of Every Government


Point 6.0 conference that is taking place in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina from 24 to 28 May, started with the ACTION SEE Advocacy Day and the presentation of the results and recommendations gathered through the monitoring done for the Regional Openness Index for 2016.

The Openness Index is a tool for measuring openness of public institutions, designed to cover broad issues, but always paying attention to their effect on citizens and their quality of life.

The project is conducted by the ACTION SEE Network (Accountability, Technology and Institutional Openness Network in the South East Europe region), a network of civil society organizations from the region: Metamorphosis Foundation from Macedonia, Center for Democratic Transition (CDT) from Montenegro, Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability (CRTA) from Serbia, CA Why not from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, Open Data Kosovo and Mjaft from Albania.

Regional Index of Openness measures the degree of openness of parliaments based on four principles.

Transparency is a principle that is fulfilled if organizational information, budget and public procurement procedures, are published and publicly available; accessibility is a principle which relates to providing and abiding the procedures related to freedom of information and strengthening interaction with the citizens; integrity includes mechanisms for prevention of corruption, carrying out the ethical code practices and regulation of lobbying; and awareness includes monitoring and evaluation of institutions’ policies.

The index is designed for citizens to examine the openness of public administration and other public bodies, but it can useful to managers and politicians, giving them the citizens’ point of view to evaluate their work and make progress towards more openness.

Through the research, the work of 8 parliaments in 6 countries was followed. In general, parliaments in the region fulfill approximately 63 percent of the openness criteria – results that cannot be called satisfactory.

The conclusion is also that parliaments are generally not transparent in terms of disclosure of information from committees’ sessions and fail to meet even the minimum of international standards of budget transparency. In order to improve this, the network recommends that the parliaments in the region should sign the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness and work towards its implementation.

The initial research was conducted in six countries of the region so far, and more than 25.000 indicators were used. The measurement covers the whole government, including local level, state levels, judiciary, executive and legislative branch of government.

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