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Latvia Implementation Report 2017-2019

Latvia’s third action plan saw significant improvements in open data, access to budget information, and beneficial ownership transparency. Other commitments effected incremental, positive steps in areas including whistleblower protection, lobbying regulations for public officials, and governance of state-owned enterprises. Latvia’s fourth action plan will cover several of the same areas from the third plan, like lobbying transparency, as well as several new areas, such as open government at the local level and anticorruption in the healthcare sector.

 

Table 1. At a glance

Participating since: 2011
Action plan under review: Third
Report type: Implementation
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: 0

Action plan implementation
Starred commitments: 0
Completed commitments: 9 (75%)
Commitments with Major DIOG*: 2 (17%)
Commitments with Outstanding DIOG*: 0
Level of public influence: Involve
Acted contrary to OGP process: No

*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, Latvia has implemented three action plans. This report evaluates the implementation of Latvia’s third action plan.

General overview of action plan

Most of the commitments in Latvia’s third action plan were fully or substantially completed. This was partly the result of the inclusion of small-scale but achievable activities for most commitments.

The plan resulted in noticeable improvements in the areas of open data, access to budget information, and beneficial ownership transparency. During its implementation, the number of datasets available on Latvia’s open data portal increased considerably (Commitment 3) and detailed budget information is now published in interactive and reusable formats (Commitment 5). Also, detailed information on Latvian enterprises is now available for free (Commitment 11).

Table 2. Noteworthy commitments

Commitment description Status at the end of implementation cycle.
3. Open data portal

Prioritize datasets for release in open data formats, increase the number of datasets on the open data portal, and expand the circle of institutions that release data.

This commitment significantly increased the number of datasets published on Latvia’s open data portal as well as the number of publishing public institutions. During implementation, data users and the government collaborated on choosing which datasets to open.
5. Interactive budget tool

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

The Ministry of Finance now publishes in reusable and interactive format detailed information on the proposed and approved budget as well as the expected results. This is a significant improvement, as previously, budget information was mostly published in PDF format. This information is now available in open format for analysis.
11. Transparency on Latvian enterprises and their beneficiary owners

Develop a new Enterprise Register (ER) with information on beneficial ownership of private enterprises and link its data to the EU Justice portal.

Starting in December 2019, detailed information on Latvian enterprises that previously required a fee for viewing is now available for free on the new Enterprise Register. These improvements are significant as previously, individual searches were needed for obtaining detailed information.

Five Key IRM Recommendations

The IRM key recommendations are prepared in the IRM Design Report. They aim to inform the development of the next action plan and guide implementation of the current action plan. In Latvia’s (2017−2019) Design Report, the IRM recommended the following:

Ensure greater involvement of the Council of Memorandum during the development of the next action plan and publish feedback during consultations.
Continue improving lobbying transparency with the involvement of Parliament.
Continue strengthening whistleblower protection by improving channels and mechanisms for reporting.
Include more ambitious commitments that address transparency in the financial sector, such as beneficial ownership, and making Enterprise Register information publicly accessible.
Continue improving systems for public consultations and promote open government locally.

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