Czech Republic End-of-Term Report 2016–2018
|Table 1: At a Glance|
|Mid-term||End of term|
|Number of Commitments||6|
|Level of Completion|
|Number of Commitments with…|
|Clear Relevance to OGP Values||5||5|
|Transformative Potential Impact||0||0|
|Substantial or Complete Implementation||2||4|
|All Three (✪)||0||0|
|Did It Open Government?|
|Number of Commitments Carried Over to Next Action Plan||1|
Implementation of the Czech Republic’s third action plan saw significant progress in open data, a long-term priority of the country. The next action plan could benefit from improved formulation of the commitments with focus on measurability of milestones and relevance to OGP values, as well as from a more efficient multistakeholder approach.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a voluntary international initiative that aims to secure commitments from governments to their citizenry to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) carries out a review of the activities of each OGP-participating country. This report summarizes the results of the period July 2016 to August 2018 and includes some important developments up to October 2018.
OGP in the Czech Republic has been closely intertwined with the government’s anti-corruption agenda but has not enjoyed the same level of publicity and political ownership. The Anti-Corruption Unit, which is located in the Regulatory Impact Assessment Department of the Office of Government and supports the Government Anti-Corruption Council, coordinates the OGP process overall, but various ministries have contributed to the OGP agenda and action plan design. The Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation was initially responsible for the OGP agenda.
The Minister of Justice took over coordination of the action plan following the October 2017 general elections. The Ministry of Interior implemented the majority of the commitments without direct involvement of other state bodies. Civil society was involved in the action plan development but to a lesser extent during implementation. The Government Anti-Corruption Council served as the multistakeholder forum. In the first half of 2018, the Working Committee on Transparency of Public Administration, a body of the Government Anti-Corruption Council, was enlarged by four civil society representatives and renamed the Working Committee on Open Government and Transparency of Public Administration. In spring 2018, this committee took over the role of running the OGP multistakeholder forum. OGP is explicitly mentioned as one of the tools for better engagement in international fora in the new 2018–2020 Anti-Corruption Strategy. This inclusion could serve to raise the profile of the initiative domestically.
On 3 September 2018, the government opened a two-week public consultation on the draft self-assessment report for 2016–2018. The government then organized a workshop on the comments received during the consultation period on 20 September 2018.
The government approved its fourth action plan for 2018–2020 on 31 July 2018. From the commitments in the third action plan, open data has been carried forward under “Open Education.” The aim is to facilitate publication of open data on education and the education system (including higher education and universities), on information regarding schools and school facilities from the InspIS information system, and on the aggregated findings of the Czech School Inspectorate’s activities. One commitment topic from the third action plan, Implementing the Civil Service Act, is not explicitly carried forward but there is a commitment on quality management in public administration, which focuses on the introduction of quality management principles in service authorities.
Consultation with Civil Society during Implementation
Countries participating in OGP follow a process for consultation during development and implementation of their action plan.
The Government Anti-Corruption Council, which served as the multistakeholder forum until the beginning of 2018, carried out the consultation process during implementation of the third action plan. The Council’s Working Committee on Transparency of Public Administration tracked the implementation progress of the action plan. According to the rules of procedure, the Council can establish a working committee and invite experts to participate on a permanent or ad hoc basis. Civil society, academia, and any interested member of the public may participate in each working committee meeting as guests after receiving an invitation.
In the first half of 2018, the working committee was enlarged by four civil society representatives and renamed the Working Committee on Open Government and Transparency of Public Administration. This committee is taking over the role of the OGP multistakeholder forum with evenly balanced representation from government and civil society. It is composed of 18 members, nine from government and nine from civil society, professional associations and academia.
At the working committee meeting on 27 March 2017, representatives of the lead implementing agencies presented progress on five of the six commitments. (The last commitment was presented by the coordination unit based on information provided by the lead implementing agency.) It is unclear from the minutes of the meeting whether there was any debate on the implementation progress, although the meeting minutes are not meant to be a full transcript. The preparation and adoption of the Midterm Self-Assessment Report was also mentioned during two meetings of the Conceptual Committee, on 8 September 2017 and 13 October 2017, but there was no debate or elaboration on the implementation progress. The online public consultations on the draft final self-assessment report were open for two weeks. During the in-person consultation meeting on 20 September 2018, civil society representatives remarked that the National Open Access to Scientific Information Strategy for 2017–2020 (Commitment 4) was not available online. Based on this comment, the full text of the strategy was published. The civil servant interviewed for this report noted that new steps should be taken to raise the level of interest and involvement of civil society in OGP.
Table 2: Consultation during Implementation
|Regular Multistakeholder Forum||Midterm||End-of-Term|
|1. Did a forum exist?||Yes||Yes|
|2. Did it meet regularly?||Yes||Yes|
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|
The indicators and method used in the IRM research can be found in the IRM Procedures Manual. One measure, the “starred commitment” (✪), 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 relevance to opening government. Specifically, it must relate to at least one of the OGP values of Access to Information, Civic Participation, or Public Accountability.
- 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 completion falls short of substantial or full completion at the end of the action plan implementation period.
At the end of term, the Czech Republic’s action plan did not contain any starred commitments.
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 Czech Republic, see the OGP Explorer at 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 Czech Republic IRM progress report (2016–2017).
The Czech Republic’s third action plan focused on implementing the adopted Civil Service Act to carry out the depoliticization, professionalization and stabilization of public administration; improving access to open data and information; and creating safer communities.
 The Office of Government of the Czech Republic, http://www.korupce.cz/assets/dokumenty/aktuality/Verejna-konzultace—Zaverecna-sebehodnotici-zprava-Akcniho-planu-Ceske-republiky-Partnerstvi-pro-otevrene-vladnuti-na-obdobi-let-2016-az-2018.pdf
 The Office of Government of the Czech Republic, http://www.korupce.cz/assets/dokumenty/aktuality/The-Czech-Republic_s-Open-Government-Partnership-Action-Plan-2018-2020.pdf
 The comment was made during the meeting on 24 September 2018 with the representatives of the Office of Government.
 More information on the IAP2 Spectrum, http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.iap2.org/resource/resmgr/foundations_course/IAP2_P2_Spectrum_FINAL.pdf
 IRM Procedures Manual, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/irm-procedures-manual.
 The International Experts Panel changed this criterion in 2015. For more information, visit http://www.opengovpartnership.org/node/5919.