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Albania

Establishment of Electronic Registry for Public Notification and Consultation (AL0047)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Albania Third Action Plan 2016 – 2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: National Agency for Information Society (NAIS)

Support Institution(s): Minister of State for Innovation and Public Administration Line ministries; Great impact for CSOs and the public

Policy Areas

E-Government, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Albania End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Albania Progress Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Creating the registry for public notification and consultation belongs to the implementation of Law No. 146/2014 "On public notification and consultation". In this context, this system is designed as a section in the form of a unique interactive virtual forum of government services e-Albania.al. Any decision-making and legislative institution, through a user that will be act as coordinator of the institution, and the cast will publish for consultation with citizens and interest groups of every draft or draft prior to its adoption. The inclusion of this unique portal registry e-Albania.al government, and the inclusion of public consultation system within it will increase the exposure and access of citizens to the system. This investment is aimed at increasing transparency and increasing public engagement in governance to meet the needs for creating the system functional for public notification and consultation. Status quo or problem addressed by the commitment Creating Registry for public notification and consultation comes under Law no. 146/2014 "On public notification and consultation". The system is conceived as a section in the form of an interactive virtual forum on e-Albania portal. Any decision-making and legislative institution, through a user that will act as coordinator of the institution, and the cast will publish for consultation with citizens and interest groups of any decision or law prior to its adoption. The existence of unique portal e-government Albania, and the inclusion of public consultation system within the e-Albania will increase the exposure and access of citizens to the system. This investment is aimed at increasing transparency and increasing public engagement in governance to meet the needs of the system functional for creating Notification and Public Consultation. Main Objective Through this registry, access and opportunity of communication of all parties concerned will be provided. This form ensures and strengthens equality in terms of access to information and service, taking into consideration the specific needs to certain individuals or groups. This commitment also aimed at increasing transparency and increasing public engagement in governance.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

4. Public notification and consultation registry

Commitment Text:

Title: Establishment of electronic registry for public notification and consultation

Creating the registry for public notification and consultation belongs to the implementation of Law No. 146/2014 'On public notification and consultation'.

In this context, this system is designed as a section in the form of a unique interactive virtual forum of government services e-Albania.al. Any decision-making and legislative institution, through a user that will be act as coordinator of the institution, and the cast will publish for consultation with citizens and interest groups of every draft or draft prior to its adoption.

The inclusion of this unique portal registry e-Albania.al government, and the inclusion of public consultation system within it will increase the exposure and access of citizens to the system.

This investment is aimed at increasing transparency and increasing public engagement in governance to meet the needs for creating the system functional for public notification and consultation.

Through this registry, access and opportunity of communication of all parties concerned will be provided. This form ensures and strengthens equality in terms of access to information and service, taking into consideration the specific needs to certain individuals or groups. This commitment also aimed at increasing transparency and increasing public engagement in governance.

Responsible institution: National Agency for Information Society (NAIS)

Supporting institution(s): Minister of State for Innovation and Public Administration; Line ministries

Start date: 2016 End date: 2018

Context and Objectives

Citizens’ involvement in policy and decision making is an important challenge and opportunity for participatory democracy in Albania. In the past few years Albania has taken important steps to involve citizens in central and local level governance. The Law 'On public notification and consultation' asks all public authorities to consult citizens on draft legislation or strategic documents and appoint coordinators for public consultations. The adoption of the law establishing the National Council for Civil Society (November 2015) provided the framework for more structured consultations with civil society organizations (CSOs). However, at the time of writing, the National Council for Civil Society is yet to be a proactive forum.

The European Commission (EC) report on Albania, published in 2016, concluded that effective implementation of the laws on the right to information and public consultations remains a challenge, especially at local level.[Note72: EC report on Albania, https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_albania.pdf. ] In 2016, only 22 percent of Albanians reported that they have been part of public consultations at the local level.[Note73: 'Audit of political engagement in Albania' (IDM 2016) page 24, https://www.ndi.org/sites/default/files/IDM%20Audit%20of%20Political%20Engagement%20in%20Albania.pdf. ] Civil society representatives and the public at large remain skeptical about public consultations, which they consider to be formal processes carried out by state institutions and do not reflect their feedback at the final phase. A portal for public consultation was created in 2015, following the adoption of the Law 'On public notification and consultation.' This portal has been monitored by civil society actors who have pointed out a number of concerns. ResPublica, a non-governmental organization based in Tirana, reports that between November 2015 and May 2016 only 5 percent of monitored public authorities had appointed a Public Consultation Coordinator, and only 8 percent of monitored public authorities had prepared public registers on draft legislation or other acts that are subject to public consultations. On the portal http://www.konsultimipublik.gov.al/, ResPublica reported that the website was online, but no Register was functional.[Note74: 'Public consultations – Challenges of enforcing the law in the first year' (Res Publica June 2016), http://www.respublica.org.al/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/konsultimi-publik-sfidat-e-vitit-te-pare-te-zbatimit-te-ligjit.pdf. ]

The inclusion of a new public consultation portal in this context represents an important measure to increase public participation in decision making by using information and communication technology. If fully implemented, this commitment would significantly improve transparency of institutions and its processes by increasing public engagement, which the IRM researcher considers to be moderate potential impact. Additionally, the portal would enable public access to information on draft legislation at different stages before it reaches the Parliament and subsequently improve civic participation by providing the public with a consultation system. This interactive forum is relevant to the OGP values of access to information, civic participation, and technology and innovation.

The commitment clearly identifies its intention to establish a portal for public notification and consultation of draft legislation; however, it does not list measurable steps that would cumulatively lead to the establishment of this electronic registry. Therefore, the specificity of this commitment is low.

Completion

The registry for public notification and consultation was updated and integrated with the e-Albania portal, on time, in the first year of the action plan. The portal includes a section on consultations with citizens and a separate section for consultations with experts. The IRM researcher was not provided with any information on the number of users registered with the portal.

The interlink with e-Albania serves as a user registration and identification for the portal. No registration is required to access the acts under public consultation procedure at http://www.konsultimipublik.gov.al. However, registration is compulsory in order to comment on the acts under consultation.

Early Results

Although the implementation of this commitment was carried out on time, its results are disappointing. No feedback (comments) from citizens or experts was received through this portal on any of the 15 draft laws and draft strategies which were put out for public consultation during 2017. There are several reasons for the low level of feedback: many participants at the focus groups organized by the IRM researcher were not aware of the portal. The few who were informed (representatives of local CSOs) suggested that the main reasons for limited feedback were the condition to register with e-Albania and a lack of public awareness about the portal.

Next Steps

Despite the missing results and impact in the past year, the portal http://www.konsultimipublik.gov.al remains an important online public consultation opportunity. Nevertheless, some additional steps are still required in order to boost its use and usefulness.

· For the portal to be more successful, it needs to be more broadly promoted among citizens. CSOs have used social media to inform citizens about the portal. However, the IRM researcher recommends that the public campaign also use traditional media.

· To improve the public consultation framework, the government needs to undertake a bigger effort by developing statutory procedures governing public engagement in policymaking. When publishing draft legislation, the government needs to provide adequate timeframes for consultations, establish clear rules to guide consultation, and provide feedback on citizens’ input.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

4. Public notification and consultation registry

Commitment Text:

Title: Establishment of electronic registry for public notification and consultation

Creating the registry for public notification and consultation belongs to the implementation of Law No. 146/2014 "On public notification and consultation".

In this context, this system is designed as a section in the form of a unique interactive virtual forum of government services e-Albania.al. Any decision-making and legislative institution, through a user that will be act as coordinator of the institution, and the cast will publish for consultation with citizens and interest groups of every draft or draft prior to its adoption.

The inclusion of this unique portal registry e-Albania.al government, and the inclusion of public consultation system within it will increase the exposure and access of citizens to the system.

This investment is aimed at increasing transparency and increasing public engagement in governance to meet the needs for creating the system functional for public notification and consultation.

Through this registry, access and opportunity of communication of all parties concerned will be provided. This form ensures and strengthens equality in terms of access to information and service, taking into consideration the specific needs to certain individuals or groups. This commitment also aimed at increasing transparency and increasing public engagement in governance.

Responsible institution: National Agency for Information Society (NAIS)

Supporting institution(s): Minister of State for Innovation and Public Administration; Line ministries

Start date: 2016.................... End date: 2018

Commitment Aim:

Following the Law “On public notification and consultation” from 2014, a portal for public consultation on draft legislation (http://www.konsultimipublik.gov.al) was created in 2015, but was not fully functional before the adoption of this commitment. In this context, interlinking this public consultation tool with the e-Albania.al portal was seen as an opportunity to increase its exposure. This in turn would improve public access to information on draft legislation at different stages before it reaches Parliament and citizens’ follow-up of decision making.

Status

Midterm: Complete

The registry for public notification and consultation http://www.konsultimipublik.gov.al was updated and integrated with the e-Albania portal (both portals already existed prior to the commitment). The new, integrated portal includes a section on consultations with citizens and a separate section for consultations with experts. The IRM researcher was not provided with any information on the number of users registered.

The interlink with e-Albania serves as a user registration and identification for the consultation portal. No registration is required to access the acts under public consultation procedure at http://www.konsultimipublik.gov.al. However, registration is compulsory through e-Albania.al in order to comment on the acts under consultation. Please see the IRM 2017 midterm report for more details. [27]

This commitment was completed by midterm, with the establishment of an electronic registry for public notification and consultation through the integration of http://www.konsultimipublik.gov.al and e-Albania.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

Civic Participation: Did Not Change

Although implementation of this commitment was carried out on time, its results did not deliver significant changes in government practice on public consultations, with limited progress on access to information. In 2018, the government continued to update the portal with new draft acts for public consultations. Specifically, another 42 such acts were published between late 2017 and October 2018. This brings the number of draft legislations for consultations with citizens to 59, which is a major increase, compared to only 15 draft acts reported by IRM in 2017.

While publishing the draft laws on this integrated portal improves access to information to a certain extent, the parliament’s website (http://www.parlament.al/Projektligje/IndexList) offers a much more complete database of draft acts which are used by interest groups to familiarize themselves and prepare their position during consultations at parliamentary procedures. However, that database does not offer user-friendly features such as submitting and publishing online the comments, opinions and recommendations on the draft legislative acts, as is the case with konsultimipublik.gov.al portal. On the other hand, the portal establishes good practice of publishing draft laws and strategies in the preparatory phase and prior to parliamentary adoption procedures. However, the low engagement of the public, citizens and interest groups with the portal suggests that it has not significantly improved the quality or extent of information being disclosed. Hence the commitment has led to marginal improvements in access to information.

Regarding civic participation, no feedback (comments) from citizens or experts was received through the new portal on any of the draft laws or strategies which were put out for public consultation during 2017 and 2018. The few participants of focus groups (representatives of local CSOs) organized by the IRM researcher suggested that the main reasons for limited feedback on draft laws were the condition to register with e-Albania and a lack of public awareness of the portal. According to National Agency for Information Society (AKSHI), login via e-Albania was necessary to assure that all comments came from real people and not fake accounts. [28]

Although the portal created some opportunity for influencing lawmaking, the barriers (such as registering with E-Albania) limited the usability of such spaces. Therefore, the commitment’s implementation did not bring any changes to civic participation.

Carried Forward?

By the time of writing this report, Albania had not published a new action plan. This report echoes the recommendations of the 2017 progress report. The portal http://www.konsultimipublik.gov.al remains an important online public consultation opportunity, which would be useful if it were more broadly promoted through a public campaign with the use of traditional media. According to the AKSHI, the Agency has suggested the Prime Minister’s Office to ask the ministries to publish all legal consultative initiatives on the portal and require ministries to conduct notification campaigns for using the public consultation portal. It all suggested the PMOs to publish its own draft legislation on social media/websites and invite citizens during their public statements to comment on draft laws and decisions that it publishes. [29]

To improve the public consultation framework, the government should undertake a bigger effort by developing statutory procedures governing public engagement in policymaking. When publishing draft legislation, the government should provide adequate timeframes for consultations, establish clear rules to guide consultation, and provide feedback on citizens’ input.

[27] IRM Albania Progress Report 2016-2017, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Albania_Mid-Term_2016-2018_EN_for-pub-comm.pdf

[28] The IRM received this information from the National Agency for Information Society (AKSHI) in Albania during the pre-publication period of this report.

[29] Ibid


Albania's Commitments

  1. Transparency of Government Reporting

    AL0061, 2018, E-Government

  2. e-Government

    AL0062, 2018, E-Government

  3. Improved Business Regulation

    AL0063, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Safe Communities

    AL0064, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  5. Improvement of Database/Portal with Coordinators’ Data of the Right to Information and Transparency Programs

    AL0044, 2016, E-Government

  6. Budget Transparency

    AL0045, 2016, E-Government

  7. Integrated Registry of Citizens’ Housing

    AL0046, 2016, Citizenship and Immigration

  8. Establishment of Electronic Registry for Public Notification and Consultation

    AL0047, 2016, E-Government

  9. Digital Archive

    AL0048, 2016, E-Government

  10. Creating a Database for Archiving and Publication of Research Funds and Programs in Albania

    AL0049, 2016, E-Government

  11. Commitment to Publish Online Central and Local Government Legislation in Open Systems and for Free

    AL0050, 2016, Capacity Building

  12. Commitment to Open Standards for Contracting

    AL0051, 2016, E-Government

  13. Starred commitment Implementation of the Law "On Protection of Whistleblowers", Capacity Building, Amendments and Its Bylaws

    AL0052, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  14. Provision of Electronic Services

    AL0053, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Establishment of Multifunctional Centralized System for Building Permits

    AL0054, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. Establishment and Distribution of Digital Counters

    AL0055, 2016, E-Government

  17. Service Passport Standardization

    AL0056, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Citizen Card

    AL0057, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Electronic System of Registration of e-Prescription in the Republic of Albania

    AL0058, 2016, E-Government

  20. Electronic Monitoring System of Forests

    AL0059, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  21. Integrated Electronic System for Professional Licensing of Individuals and Legal Entities That Will Operate in the Field of Study Design and Supervision of Commissioning of Construction Works

    AL0060, 2016, E-Government

  22. Standardization of Corruption Complaints

    AL0031, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  23. Electronic Registry of Energy and Industry Permits

    AL0032, 2014, E-Government

  24. Implementation of Public Expenses Module in "Open Data" Format

    AL0033, 2014, E-Government

  25. Promoting OGP Values Among Local Authorities

    AL0034, 2014, OGP

  26. Database on Economic Assitance Beneficiaries

    AL0035, 2014, E-Government

  27. Electronic Portal on Water Resources Administration and Management

    AL0036, 2014, E-Government

  28. Single Window

    AL0037, 2014, E-Government

  29. Electronic Access to Protected Areas

    AL0038, 2014, E-Government

  30. National Geoportal

    AL0039, 2014, E-Government

  31. e-Albania

    AL0040, 2014, E-Government

  32. e-Document

    AL0041, 2014, E-Government

  33. Starred commitment Law on Whistleblowers Protection

    AL0042, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  34. Police Service Offices

    AL0043, 2014, E-Government

  35. Open Data Portal

    AL0001, 2012, Open Data

  36. e-Acts

    AL0002, 2012, E-Government

  37. e-Parliament

    AL0003, 2012, E-Government

  38. Extension of the Governmental Network, GOVNET

    AL0004, 2012, E-Government

  39. e-Government Interoperability Framework, e-GIF

    AL0005, 2012, E-Government

  40. Government Datacenter

    AL0006, 2012, E-Government

  41. Excise System

    AL0007, 2012, E-Government

  42. Starting of the e-Tax System

    AL0008, 2012, E-Government

  43. Starred commitment Online State Matura

    AL0009, 2012, E-Government

  44. The Regulation on Ethics in Research and Publishing

    AL0010, 2012, Education

  45. Digitalization of Higher Education Accreditation Process

    AL0011, 2012, E-Government

  46. U-Gov System

    AL0012, 2012, E-Government

  47. Online Inspections of Courts and Judicial Hearings

    AL0013, 2012, E-Government

  48. Digitalization of the File Transfer Process

    AL0014, 2012, Judiciary

  49. e-Employment Project

    AL0015, 2012, E-Government

  50. e-Concessions Procedures

    AL0016, 2012, E-Government

  51. Amendment of the Law “On the Right to Information for Official Documents”

    AL0017, 2012, Justice

  52. Drafting a New Law on "Notice and Consultation"

    AL0018, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  53. Tracking Project

    AL0019, 2012, E-Government

  54. Digitalization of the Notary Register

    AL0020, 2012, E-Government

  55. Online Citizens’ Claims in the Judiciary System

    AL0021, 2012, E-Government

  56. Work Inspection, Online Complaint

    AL0022, 2012, E-Government

  57. Financial Module of All Educational Institutions

    AL0023, 2012, Education

  58. Starred commitment Audio and Video Recording of Judicial Hearings

    AL0024, 2012, E-Government

  59. Starred commitment e-Albania Portal

    AL0025, 2012, E-Government

  60. e-Inspection Portal

    AL0026, 2012, E-Government

  61. Starred commitment Portal Www.Gjykata.Gov.Al

    AL0027, 2012, E-Government

  62. Disclosure of the List of Payments Made Daily by the Government Units

    AL0028, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  63. e-Procurement System for All Small Purchases of Public Procurement

    AL0029, 2012, E-Government

  64. Implementation of the EITI Recommendations

    AL0030, 2012, Extractive Industries