Albania End-of-Term Report 2016-2018
- Action Plan: Albania Third Action Plan 2016 – 2018
- Dates Under Review: 2016-2018
- Report Publication Year: 2019
- Researcher: Gjergji Vurmo
Implementation of Albania’s third action planAction plans are at the core of a government’s participation in OGP. They are the product of a co-creation process in which government and civil society jointly develop commitments to open governmen... was greatly affected by the dissolution of the Ministry of State for Innovation and Public Administration in September 2017, which served as the main coordinating institution for OGP. More than half of the 17 commitments did not lead to any notable improvement in opening government. To achieve success in the OGP process, the Albanian government needs to establish a genuine dialogue with civil society and build on the achievements of previous action plans.
The Open Government PartnershipThe Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving government transparency, ensuring opportunities for citizen participation in public matters, and strengthen... More (OGP) is a voluntary international initiative that aims to secure commitments from governments to their citizenry to promote transparencyAccording to OGP’s Articles of Governance, transparency occurs when “government-held information (including on activities and decisions) is open, comprehensive, timely, freely available to the pub... More, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM)The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is OGP’s accountability arm and the main means of tracking progress in participating countries. The IRM provides independent, evidence-based, and objective ... carries out a review of the activities of each OGP-participating country.
This report summarizes the results from July 2016 to June 2018 and includes relevant developments up to September 2018.
Initially, the Minister of State for Innovation and Public Administration (MSIPA) was the leading office responsible for Albania’s OGP commitments. MSIPA had neither legal power to enforce policy changes on other agencies within the government nor to compel any other state agency to assume and carry out commitments’ implementation. Civil society was actively involved during the development of the action plan in the first half of 2016, but it did not participate in the implementation. Following June 2017 general elections, a new cabinet took office (September 2017) which dissolved MSIPA, leaving OGP without a coordination authority until the end of the implementation period. The Government of Albania did not prepare a self-assessment report for the 2016-2018 action plan. The multi-stakeholder forumRegular dialogue between government and civil society is a core element of OGP participation. It builds trust, promotes joint problem-solving, and empowers civil society to influence the design, imple..., OpenAlb, an open platform which included at its highest point 15 organizations and facilitated civil society participation in the development of 2016-2018 action plan, has been inactive since December 2016.
Consultation with Civil Society during Implementation
Countries participating in OGP follow a process for consultation during development and implementation of their action plan. After September 2017, the OGP points of contact in the line ministries and other agencies in charge of this action plan’s commitments were no longer in place or had been assigned other portfolios. Thus, institutions responsible for implementation of commitments did not hold any follow-up meetings with civil society or provide any information on how commitments were dealt with. No OGP-related meetings took place during the second year of the action plan implementation (2017/2018). There has not been any other coordination activity of any state authority or of the multi-stakeholder forum OpenAlb.
Table 2: Consultation during Implementation
|Regular Multistakeholder Forum||Midterm||End of Term|
|1. Did a forum exist?||Yes||No|
|2. Did it meet regularly?||No||No|
The IRM has adapted the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) “Spectrum of Participation” to apply to OGP. This spectrum shows the potential level of public influence on the contents of the action plan. In the spirit of OGP, most countries should aspire for “collaborative.”
Table 3: Level of Public Influence during Implementation
|Level of Public Influence during Implementation of Action Plan||Midterm||End of Term|
|Empower||The government handed decision-making power to members of the public.|
|Collaborate||There was iterative dialogue AND the public helped set the agenda.|
|Involve||The government gave feedback on how public inputs were considered.|
|Consult||The public could give inputs.|
|Inform||The government provided the public with information on the action plan.||✔|
|No Consultation||No consultation||✔|
About the Assessment
The indicators and method used in the IRM research can be found in the IRM Procedures Manual. One measure, the “starred commitmentOGP commitments are promises for reform co-created by governments and civil society and submitted as part of an action plan. Commitments typically include a description of the problem, concrete action...” (✪), deserves further explanation due to its particular interest to readers and usefulness for encouraging a race to the top among OGP-participating countries. Starred commitments are considered exemplary OGP commitments. To receive a star, a commitment must meet several criteria:
- Starred commitments will have “medium” or “high” specificity. A commitment must lay out clearly defined activities and steps to make a judgment about its potential impact.
- The commitment’s language should make clear its relevanceAccording to the OGP Articles of Governance, OGP commitments should include a clear open government lens. Specifically, they should advance at least one of the OGP values: transparency, citizen partic... to opening government. Specifically, it must relate to at least one of the OGP values of Access to Information, Civic Participation, or Public AccountabilityAccording to OGP’s Articles of Governance, public accountability occurs when ”rules, regulations, and mechanisms in place call upon government actors to justify their actions, act upon criticisms ... More.
- The commitment would have a “transformative” potential impact if completely implemented.
- The government must make significant progress on this commitment during the action plan implementation period, receiving an assessment of “substantial” or “complete” implementation.
Starred commitments can lose their starred status if their completionImplementers must follow through on their commitments for them to achieve impact. For each commitment, OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) evaluates the degree to which the activities outlin... falls short of substantial or full completion at the end of the action plan implementation period.
In the midterm report, Albania’s action plan contained one starred commitment. At the end of term, based on the changes in the level of completion, Albania’s action plan still contained one starred commitment:
- Commitment 9: Implement Whistleblower Protection Law.
Finally, the tables in this section present an excerpt of the wealth of data the IRM collects during its reporting process. For the full dataset for Albania, see the OGP Explorer at http://www.opengovpartnership.org/explorer.
About “Did It Open Government?”
To capture changes in government practice, the IRM introduced a new variable “Did It Open Government?” in end-of-term reports. This variable attempts to move beyond measuring outputs and deliverables to looking at how the government practice has changed as a result of the commitment’s implementation.
As written, some OGP commitments are vague and/or not clearly relevant to OGP values but achieve significant policy reforms. In other cases, commitments as written appear relevant and ambitious, but fail to open government as implemented. The “Did It Open Government” variable attempts to captures these subtleties.
The “Did It Open Government?” variable assesses changes in government practice using the following spectrum:
- Worsened: Government openness worsens as a result of the commitment.
- Did not change: No changes in government practice.
- Marginal: Some change, but minor in terms of its effect on level of openness.
- Major: A step forward for government openness in the relevant policy area but remains limited in scope or scale.
- Outstanding: A reform that has transformed “business as usual” in the relevant policy area by opening government.
To assess this variable, researchers establish the status quo at the outset of the action plan. They then assess outcomes as implemented for changes in government openness.
Readers should keep in mind limitations. IRM end-of-term reports are prepared only a few months after the implementation cycle is completed. The variable focuses on outcomes that can be observed in government openness practices at the end of the two-year implementation period. The report and the variable do not intend to assess impact because of the complex methodological implications and the timeframe of the report.
General Overview of Commitments
As part of OGP, countries are required to make commitments in a two-year action plan. The tables below summarize the completion level at the end of term and progress on the “Did It Open Government?” metric. For commitments that were complete at the midterm, the report will provide a summary of the progress report findings but focus on analysis of the ‘Did It Open Government?’ variable. For further details on these commitments, please see the Albania IRM progress report 2017.
Albania’s third OGP action plan includes 17 commitments organized around four main themes: 1 open government to increase access to information; 2 open government for creating safer communities; 3 open government for public service modernization; and 4 open government to protect the environment. The IRM has not changed the organization of the commitments but has renumbered them for clarity. For example, Improvement of database/portal with coordinators’ data of the right to informationThe legal right to request information from the government allows the public to follow government decision-making, participate in ensuring better decisions, and hold the government accountable. Techni... and transparency programs is numbered ‘1’ rather than ‘1.1’.
 See http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.iap2.org/resource/resmgr/foundations_course/IAP2_P2_Spectrum_FINAL.pdf
 IRM Procedures Manual, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/about/about-irm.
 The International Experts Panel changed this criterion in 2015. For more information, visit http://www.opengovpartnership.org/node/5919.
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