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Czech Republic Design Report 2018-2020

The Czech Republic’s fourth action plan was developed through an open and consultative process but did not gain sufficient visibility to reach a wide spectrum of actors. The commitments mainly derive from existing government programs and are focused on transparency of the justice system and opening up education data. Given the priorities of civil society, the next action plan could prioritize more transformative actions on civic participation, judicial transparency, and whistleblower protection.

Table 1. At a glance

Participating since:  2011
Action plan under review:  Fourth
Report type:  Design
Number of commitments:   8

Action plan development
Is there a Multistakeholder forum: Yes
Level of public influence:  Involve
Acted contrary to OGP process: No

Action plan design
Commitments relevant to OGP values    7 (88%)
Transformative commitments                 0 (0%)
Potentially starred:                                 0 (0%)

Action plan implementation
Starred commitments: N/A
Completed commitments: N/A
Commitments with Major DIOG*: N/A
Commitments with Outstanding DIOG*: N/A

*DIOG: Did it Open Government?

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a global partnership that brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive, and accountable. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. The Czech Republic joined OGP in 2011 and has since implemented three action plans. This report evaluates the design of the Czech Republic’s fourth action plan.

General overview of action plan

The Czech Republic’s multistakeholder forum was expanded in 2018 to comply with OGP’s Participation and Co-Creation Standards. It is now composed of 18 members, evenly balanced with representation from government and civil society. The development of the fourth action plan was an open and consultative process, but it lacked sufficient visibility to reach a wider spectrum of stakeholders.

Commitments in the fourth action plan largely derive from existing government strategies. Despite some awareness raising on whistleblower protection, the action plan does not commit to pass the whistleblower protection law. Overall, the action plan focuses on transparency measures and falls short of commitments that could foster civic participation and public accountability.

Two of the eight commitments focus on improving transparency of the judiciary, which partially responds to the public demand for greater transparency of the justice sector. Half of the commitments in the action plan concern publishing open data statistics and other information related to the functioning of the education system.

Table 2. Noteworthy commitments

Commitment description Moving forward Status at the end of implementation cycle.
Commitment 3: Publish the decisions of lower courts This commitment would publish online the texts of decisions by high, regional, and district courts. It is recommended to create a multi-stakeholder working group to advise the Ministry of Justice on the process. Other institutions in the justice system already run databases and could share lessons learnt. Note: this will be assessed at the end of action plan cycle.
Commitment 4: Raise awareness of the issue of whistleblowers on illegal activity The commitment aims to raise awareness on the importance of whistleblowers and to prepare a comparative analysis on whistleblower protections in Europe. While it touches upon an important topic there is no commitment to pass the law. Given the importance of the whistleblower protection legislation, the IRM recommends continuing focusing on this issue in the next action plan. Note: this will be assessed at the end of action plan cycle.
Commitment 7: Open data from the Czech Schools Inspectorate This commitment would publish, in open data format, the outcomes of school inspections. However, there are still ongoing discussions on which datasets will be published first and how will the data be updated in the system. Note: this will be assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Recommendations

The IRM recommendations aim to inform the development of the next action plan and guide implementation of the current action plan.

Table 3. Five KEY IRM Recommendations

1. Elaborate a long-term open government strategy. Discuss a strategy to identify new areas for commitments, to ensure that the OGP agenda matches the country priorities and can produce long-term results.
2. Continue efforts in opening the court system. Given demonstrated public concerns with the independence of the judiciary, the next action plan needs to continue efforts on judicial transparency and prioritize open justice reforms.
3. Commit to adopt the whistleblower protection law, creating protections for whistleblowers in line with the newly adopted EU Directive.
4. Facilitate the debate on the reform of access to information. The MSF could facilitate the debate on amendments to the access to information legislation, and the introduction of an oversight body.
5. Promote a further push for open data. Opening data in the areas of environment or transport could be an important next step.

 

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Filed under: IRM IRM Report

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