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Czech Republic Transitional Results Report 2018-2020

The Open Government Partnership 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. Action plan commitments may build on existing efforts, identify new steps to complete ongoing reforms, or initiate an entirely new area. OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. Civil society and government leaders use the evaluations to reflect on their progress and determine if efforts have impacted people’s lives.

The IRM has partnered with Alexandra Dubova to carry out this evaluation. The IRM aims to inform ongoing dialogue around the development and implementation of future commitments. For a full description of the IRM’s methodology, please visit https://www.opengovpartnership.org/about/independent-reporting-mechanism.

This report covers the implementation of Czech Republic’s fourth action plan for 2018-2020. In 2021, the IRM will implement a new approach to its research process and the scope of its reporting on action plans, approved by the IRM Refresh.[1] The IRM adjusted its Implementation Reports for 2018-2020 action plans to fit the transition process to the new IRM products and enable the IRM to adjust its workflow in light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on OGP country processes.

Action Plan Implementation

The IRM transitional results report assesses the status of the action plan’s commitments and the results from their implementation at the end of the action plan cycle. This report does not re-visit assessments for “verifiability,” “relevance” or “potential impact.” The IRM assesses those three indicators in IRM design reports. For more details on each indicator, please see Annex I in this report.

General Highlights and Results

Czech Republic’s fourth action plan contained eight commitments. These included increasing judicial transparency, introducing whistleblower protections, better public management in the civil service, and commitments toward more openness and open data in the education system. Two (25%) of the commitments were fully completed, two (25%) were substantially completed, and four (50%) only achieved limited completion by the end of the implementation period. There were fewer fully completed commitments and more commitments with only limited completion than in the previous action plan.[2]

Commitments which saw complete or substantial implementation involved modifications or reforms to open existing systems, such as improving the detail of the annual statistical report of the judiciary (Commitment 2),[3] publishing data collected in the education sector (Commitments 6 and 7), and adjusting contracts to ensure open data licenses for publicly funded education research (Commitment 8). Authorities simplified implementation of Commitments 6 and 7 by using in-house capacity rather than through procuring external services.

In contrast, lengthy procurement process delayed the implementation of Commitment 5, which was incomplete at the end of the action plan. Other commitments which required cross-government action (e.g., Commitment 1 on introducing quality management principles in the civil service), or involved other branches of the state (e.g., Commitment 3 on publishing local court decisions, marked “noteworthy” in the design report) had limited completion by the end of the implementation period. A civil society representative also pointed to a lack of political support for the open government agenda as a reason for low willingness from state authorities to adopt the action plan measures.[4]

The design report noted Commitment 4 on whistleblower protection as noteworthy. However, the original commitment was tied to the expected adoption and transposition of the EU Directive on whistleblower protection, which was not passed until October 2019.[5] This did not leave enough time in the implementation period to finish the national legislative process.[6] The limited completion of this commitment and Commitment 3 means they did not produce early results for analysis and are therefore not included in Section 2.3, despite being “noteworthy.”

COVID-19 Pandemic impact on implementation

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on 12 March 2020 the Czech Government introduced a state of emergency nationwide for the first time in its modern history.[7] This was extended until 17 May 2020 although there was a gradual reopening of shops and businesses from 24 March onward. The lockdown included a general curfew (with some exceptions), restrictions to freedom of movement, and social distancing measures.[8]

There was a six-month gap after the start of the pandemic in March 2020, before the multistakeholder forum (called the Working Commission) started holding meetings again (in September 2020). However, a positive consequence of the pandemic was that the meetings of the Working Commission introduced the option of remote participation via video conferencing.[9]

More specifically for the action plan commitments, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected implementation of Commitment 5 (open data in education) because it delayed evaluation for procuring the necessary online system.[10] In Commitment 1 (quality management in the civil service) the Civil Service Section requested an extension beyond the implementation period because of COVID-19, for completing the methodological guideline on introducing quality management principles.[11]

[1] For more information, see: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/process/accountability/about-the-irm/irm-refresh/.

[2] There were three fully completed commitments, one substantially completed commitment, and two commitments with limited completion. Vera Rihackova Pachta, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Czech Republic End-of-Term Report 2016–2018 (OGP, 4 Sept. 2019), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/czech-republic-end-of-term-report-2016-2018/.

[3] This report has simplified the numbering of the commitments of the 2018–2020 Czech Republic action plan. For reference, in this report:

Commitment 4.1.1 is referred to as Commitment 1;              Commitment 4.3.1 is referred to as Commitment 5,

Commitment 4.2.1 is referred to as Commitment 2;              Commitment 4.3.2 is referred to as Commitment 6,

Commitment 4.2.2 is referred to as Commitment 3;              Commitment 4.3.3 is referred to as Commitment 7;  and

Commitment 4.2.3 is referred to as Commitment 4,              Commitment 4.3.4 is referred to as Commitment 8.

[4] Jan Dupak (Transparency International Czech Republic), email to IRM researcher, 14 Jun. 2021.

[5] European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, “Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law” (EUR-Lex, 23 Oct. 2019), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019L1937.

[6] Dalibor Fadrný (Ministry of Justice), interview by IRM researcher, 2 Mar. 2021.

[7] States of emergency at a regional level have been declared previously, for example during extreme flooding in 2002 and 2013.

[8] Ministry of Health, “The government has approved the rules for the easing up of the emergency measures from May 11, while the state of emergency is valid until 17 May” (30 Apr. 2020), https://koronavirus.mzcr.cz/en/the-government-has-approved-the-rules-for-the-easing-up-of-the-emergency-measures-from-may-11-while-the-state-of-emergency-is-valid-until-17-may/.

[9] Ministry of Justice, End-of-Term Self-Assessment Report for Action Plan of the Czech Republic Open Government Partnership for 2018 to 2020 (OGP, 15 Dec. 2020), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/czech-republic-end-of-term-self-assessment-2018-2020/.

[10] Id.

[11] Id.

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