Openness represents a key condition for democracy – since it allows citizens to receive information and knowledge, necessary for an equal participation in political life, effective decision-making and holding institutions accountable for policies which they conduct.
Around the world institutions undertake specific activities with the aim to increasing their transparency and accountability to citizens.
Open government is based on four organizational principles: transparency, accessibility, integrity and awareness.
These principles apply to all branches and levels of government, from the central executive to local self-government, parliament and the judicial system.
The Index of Openness is a composite indicator that measures the degree to which governments in the Western Balkan countries are open to citizens and society and is designed in order to define to which degree citizens of the Western Balkans receive opportune and understandable information from their institutions.
In order to measure the degree of institutional openness, ACTION SEE partners following international standards, recommendations as well as examples of good practice, assessed institutions through special quantitative and qualitative indicators, which evaluate institutions on the basis of: accessibility of information on the official websites of institutions, quality of a legal framework for individual issues, other sources of public informing and questionnaires delivered to institutions.
The responsiveness of institutions to the questionnaires was an additional indicator for their openness.
A lot of institutions got negative scores on indicators due to their nonresponsiveness, which is also important to mention for two reasons: first, that institutional responsiveness is an indicator for openness itself, and second that institutionâ€™s non responsiveness has affected their index scores negatively, because they were automatically graded as 0.
Additionally, some of the indicators couldâ€™ve been graded positively if only the existing laws were implemented.
ACTION SEE â€“ Accountability, Technology and Institutional Openness Network in SEE project, is implemented by Metamorphosis Foundation in partnership withÂ Westminster FoundationÂ for DemocracyÂ from Great Britain,Â CRTAÂ â€“Â Center for Research, Transparency and AccountabilityÂ from Serbia,Â Citizens Association Why not?Â from Bosnia and Herzegovina,Â Center for Democratic TransitionÂ from Montenegro,Â Open Data Kosovo â€“ ODKÂ andÂ Levizja Mjaft!Â from Albania, with financial support of the European Union.