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Latvia Design Report 2017-2019

Latvia’s third action plan includes commitments on open data, whistleblower protection, beneficial ownership transparency, and governance of state-owned enterprises. Commitments continue from the previous action plans but contain mostly incremental steps in important policy areas. Moving forward, Latvia could pursue more ambitious reforms in OGP, focusing on transparency in the financial sector and lobbying activities.

Table 1. At a glance

Participating since: 2011
Action plan under review: 3
Report type: Design
Number of commitments: 12

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: 11 (92%)
Transformative commitments: 0
Potentially starred commitments: 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. Latvia joined OGP in 2011. Since then, it has implemented two action plans. This report evaluates the design of Latvia’s third action plan.

General overview of action plan

Latvia has continued to perform well on key OGP eligibility criteria, including public access to information and an overall environment for civic participation. Latvia’s previous action plans led to major improvements in open data, online participation, and the governance of state-owned enterprises. The current action plan continues initiatives from previous plans, covering a wide range of topics. Topics include transparency in the budget process, lobby regulations, whistleblower protection, and reducing bureaucracy. Several commitments involve developing or using new technologies.

The State Chancellery and the public policy center, Providus, jointly organized the development of the third action plan. Nongovernmental stakeholders from the Council of Memorandum actively participated in the initial stages of developing the plan and received feedback from the State Chancellery if their proposals were not included in the final draft.

Notable commitments in Latvia’s fourth action plan include expanding the use of e-participation tools (2), developing an interactive budget tool (5), and improving transparency of state-owned enterprises (10). Other commitments include increasing the amount of data available on Latvia’s open data portal (3) and increasing transparency in public procurement (9).

 

Table 2. Noteworthy commitments

Commitment description Moving forward Status at the end of implementation cycle.
2. Portal for law drafting and public hearings

Develop a portal that allows the public to provide feedback on draft legislation

Moving forward, the government could link the new portal to the databases of the Cabinet of Ministers and Parliament to further enable civil society’s participation during legislation drafting. Note: this will be assessed at the end of action plan cycle.
5. Interactive budget tool

Develop an interactive tool to improve navigation of budget information and data

Future action plans could increase public comprehension of the budget through interactive formats that explain public expenditures during the preparation stages of the budget process. Note: this will be assessed at the end of action plan cycle.
10. Transparency in public-owned companies

Ensure that state-owned enterprises make more information publicly available through the monitoring of the Cross-Sectoral Coordination Centre (CSCC).

Future action plans could include commitments that enhance the monitoring and transparency of the environmental and social impact of state-owned enterprises. 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. Ensure greater involvement of the Council of Memorandum during the development of the next action plan and publish feedback during consultations.
2. Continue improving lobbying transparency with the involvement of Parliament.
3. Continue strengthening whistleblower protection by improving channels and mechanisms for reporting.
4. Include more ambitious commitments that address transparency in the financial sector, such as beneficial ownership, and making Enterprise Register information publicly accessible.
5. Continue improving systems for public consultation and promote open government locally.

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Filed under: IRM Report

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