Slovakia Design Report 2017–2019
|Table 1. At a glance|
|Action plan under review:||3 (2017–2019)|
|Number of commitments:||68|
|Action plan development|
|Is there a Multistakeholder forum:||Yes|
|Level of public influence:||Collaborate|
|Acted contrary to OGP process:||No|
|Action plan design|
|Commitments relevant to OGP values||62 (91%)|
|Transformative commitments||1 (1%)|
|Action plan implementation|
|Commitments with Major DIOG*:||N/A|
|Commitments with Outstanding DIOG*:||N/A|
|*DIOG: Did it Open Government|
Slovakia’s third action plan focuses on open data agenda in several policy areas. The consultation process for developing the action plan was open and inclusive with opportunities for various civil society groups to provide input. Establishing a formalized multi-stakeholder forum could benefit the future action plan design and implementation. The next plan could contain a smaller number but more ambitious commitments with clear links to tackling systemic corruption.
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. Slovakia joined OGP in 2011 and has implemented two action plans. This report evaluates the design of Slovakia’s third action plan.
General overview of action plan
The design and creation of Slovakia’s 2017–2019 action plan preceded a period of significant political transition involving the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico and his cabinet in March 2018. Prior to the political crisis, Slovakia had made significant strides in areas of open government. The Slovak Parliament adopted the Law on the Register of Public Sector Partners in October 2016, which replaced the country’s Register of Beneficial Ownership with an expanded scope beyond public procurement. Additionally, access to information has improved with increasing availability of government datasets. The murder of a journalist investigating political corruption, which precipitated the resignations, brought the country’s current anti-corruption measures, as well as diminishing press freedom, to the forefront of civil society activism.
The action plan design process was open and inclusive, with opportunities for participation by civil society representatives and public servants. The multi-stakeholder consultations were done through three thematic working groups that had various compositions and frequencies of meeting. Each group had a different thematic focus: open education and science, participatory policy making, and judiciary and prosecutors. A fourth thematic group focused on open data, but participation was not as open as the other three. Additionally, public servants have a separate, specialized forum (the OGP working group) for coordination. Despite the discrete mechanisms, public servants and civil society representatives view collaboration with the Office of the Plenipotentiary, which is the lead agency in charge of OGP commitments, as excellent.
The Office of the Plenipotentiary created new information channels and opportunities for wider engagement with the public with regular updates to its official website as well as updates on social media sites. Physical workshops were held in in three different regions that contributed to a broader consultation process. Feedback from these workshops resulted in the incorporation of multiple commitments in the final action plan (e.g., commitments 60 and 61 to analyze the disciplinary and selection procedures for prosecutors). Despite the open and transparent process in Slovakia, a formalized multi-stakeholder forum is lacking that could better facilitate dialogue between government and civil society.
Similar to the previous action plan, Slovakia’s third action plan focused on four main themes: open data, API, and software; open education and research; participatory policy making; and, open judiciary and prosecutors. Although comprising 68 commitments, the action plan contains only one transformative commitment, and many are technical in nature and represent only a minor improvement in the respective policy area. The next action plan could benefit from a smaller number of commitments that are more ambitious and seek a more transformative impact.
Table 2. Noteworthy commitments
|Commitment description||Moving forward||Status at the end of implementation cycle.|
|15. Publish demanded publicly available API||This potentially transformative commitment builds on prioritizing application programming interfaces (APIs) based on results of a survey gauging public demand. This could provide improved access to high value information such as land and property ownership.||Note: this will be assessed at the end of action-plan cycle.|
|52. Develop recommendations to embed participatory processes||This commitment could bring a more consistent approach to participatory processes across government agencies and make consultation procedures more predictable. Training of public servants and collection of best practices could help to institutionalize the recommendations.||Note: this will be assessed at the end of action-plan cycle.|
|57. Draft legislation to make selection of judges and judicial staff transparent||This commitment can potentially increase public scrutiny of the selection and application of disciplinary responsibility of judges.||Note: this will be assessed at the end of action-plan cycle.|
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
|Establish the formal multi-stakeholder forum with participation of both public servants and civil society.|
|Include more targeted and ambitious commitments in the next action plan.|
|Ensure the proposed commitments are co-created with public agencies in charge of their implementation.|
|Concentrate efforts on existing platforms and initiatives, avoid duplication.|
|Focus on improvement of key transparency tools, including improving the Freedom of Information Act but mainly its application practice.|