Commitment to publish online central and local government legislation in open systems and for free (AL0050)
Action Plan: Albania Third Action Plan 2016 – 2018
Action Plan Cycle: 2016
Lead Institution: Minister of Local Affairs
Support Institution(s): INFOCIP
Policy AreasCapacity Building, E-Government, Legislation & Regulation, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery, Records Management, Subnational
Infocip considers that access to the central and local legislation is a public service that does not need improvement, despite more explicit legal requirements. The commitment to publish online in open systems free national and local legislation includes: - Regarding the central legislation, the government is committed to the publication of legislation in the official websites of the line Ministries, free of charge, in the section: Legislation. - Regarding local government legislation, Infocip offers vendime.al as online national platform, unique in its kind, which may be adopted as a reporting mechanism. Status quo or problem addressed by the commitment INFOCIP considers that access to the central and local government legislation is a public service, which is provided, for free in a bad quality and for many years, despite explicit legal requirements. INFOCIP proposed GoA to commit in publishing online in open systems and for free this kind of legislation. For central government legislation, a coherent system should be adopted (the oldest is lacking efficiencies and consistency). For local government, INFOCIP offers vendime.al as a national platform, unique in its kind, which is adopted, it is reported directly as a significant contribution of civil society within the new commitment, but also the reporting mechanism. Main Objective This commitment’s main objective is to publish online in open systems and for free, central and local government legislation.
IRM Midterm Status Summary
Title: Publish online central and local government legislation in open systems and for free
Infocip considers that access to the central and local legislation is a public service that does not need improvement, despite more explicit legal requirements.
The commitment to publish online in open systems free national and local legislation includes:
- Regarding the central legislation, the government is committed to the publication of legislation in the official websites of the line Ministries, free of charge, in the section: Legislation.
- Regarding local government legislation, Infocip offers vendime.al as online national platform, unique in its kind, which may be adopted as a reporting mechanism.
Responsible institution: Minister of state for Local Issues (MSLI)
Supporting institution: InfoCip
Start date: 2016 End date: 2018
Editorial note: For full commitment text, please refer to https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Albania_NAP3_ENG.pdf.
Context and Objectives
INFOCIP, a civil society organization based in Tirana, considers access to central and local government legislation a public service. While access to legislation is provided and is legally required, local government legislation is not publicly available in all 61 municipalities in Albania. A 2016 MJAFT! Movement monitoring report suggests that nearly 58 percent of central and local government institutions failed to respond to freedom of information requests submitted by the organization. For local government legislation, challenges are even more pressing given the fact that many municipalities, especially small and medium-sized municipalities, do not have official websites.[Note86: 'Challenges of local government units in the fight against corruption', IDM assessment report 2016, http://idmalbania.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/LGU-Anticorruption-English.pdf ]
The current system of providing government legislation is also fragmented and inefficient. According to the legislation in force, national legislation and bylaws adopted by the Government should be published in the Official Gazette. These acts are also published electronically on the portal http://www.qbz.gov.al. On the other hand, Article 18 point 3 of the Law 'On the local self-government in Albania' stipulates that legal acts adopted by municipal councils are published on websites or in other spaces accessible to the public, as well as through other means. But because many local governments do not have official websites, the practice of publishing local legislation is fragmented.
While developing the 2016-2018 action plan, INFOCIP proposed that the Government of Albania commit to publishing central and local government legislation online in open data for free, or open systems as referred to by the action plan. This commitment consists of two steps. First, for the central government, the commitment specifies that bylaws and other legal acts adopted by institutions will be published online in the websites of each ministry, under a separate heading (legislation). Second, for the local government, the commitment offers the portal vendime.al as a possible reporting mechanism. Vendime.al is an initiative of INFOCIP supported by various donors (e.g. US embassy in Tirana, National Endowment for Democracy, the European Union-funded project CIVILISC).
If fully implemented, this commitment will have moderate potential impact. For local government legislation, the vendime.al portal, combined with the websites of municipalities, fully address the need for online public access to municipal councils’ decisions. However, for central government legislation the commitment does not capture all central government agencies. The commitment is also vague in determining what type of legislation—laws, bylaws, decisions, regulations, orders, etc.— should be made publicly available. Additionally, the commitment text only refers to publication of central government legislation on Ministry websites, and not in the Official Gazette. It is unclear where ministries are committed to publishing their legislation.
This commitment addresses the OGP value of access to information. The commitment activities focus on adopting legislation, which will enable an increased amount of information and improved quality of information. However, because this commitment does not provide a mechanism for public consultation on central or local government legislation, it is not relevant to civic participation or public accountability.
It is important to note that the Minister of State for Local Issues (MSLI), the leading institution, was not aware of its responsibilities regarding this commitment. INFOCIP, the listed supporting institution, acted as the lead implementing organization. In addition, MSLI was unaware that they had committed to publish central legislation on the official websites of the line ministries and the Official Gazette. This misunderstanding made it difficult to gauge completion, but the poor coordination among institutions does not have a direct consequence on specificity coding.
The MSLI has not offered information on the progress of this commitment, and completion has been coded as not started for the first commitment activity. The progress of this commitment’s implementation is uneven for central and local government legislation. Even before this commitment was undertaken, most government ministries’ websites had a section titled 'legislation,' containing information about the basic legal and sub-legal acts regulating the sectors of their authority. Yet, not all ministries’ websites contained this information. Other ministries included partial information (e.g. laws but not updated information about adopted bylaws such as ministers’ orders, decisions or regulations).[Note87: The website of the Ministry of foreign affairs did not have a separate section about 'legislation'; the Ministry of Education and sport included 'legislation' heading about sports, date accessed June 2017.]
With regards to the local government legislation, a 2017 monitoring report by INFOCIP suggests that 41 out of the 61 local government units in Albania (nearly 67 percent) have published the decisions of municipal councils, compared to 12 LGUs (20 percent) in 2016. 17 municipalities publish local government legislation on both their website and vendime.al. Another 15 publish local legislation only at vendime.al. Seven municipalities infrequently publish online local legislation, while two municipalities only publish online the title of the decisions of municipal councils.
INFOCIP has reported that vendime.al has expanded the number of municipalities which publish their decisions in this portal. Furthermore, INFOCIP has also reported that the portal had approximately 2,500 to 3,000 unique visitors per month in the first half of 2017, and an overall average of 200,000 clicks per month.[Note88: Interview, reports and access to files provided by INFOCIP during July – September 2017.]
No information about the use of the 'legislation' section in line ministries’ websites has been offered to the IRM researcher. However, INFOCIP has provided useful and reliable data on the use of the vendime.al portal.
CSOs and local government experts are aware of and are using the vendime.al portal. However, no citizen participating in the focus groups conducted by the IRM researcher was aware of the commitment or the vendime.al portal.
While Albania is still on time to publish central government legislation by June 2018, realistically, there is not enough time for all 61 municipalities to publish local government legislation with all the legal acts in force.[Note89: The STAR 2 Project (Support to the Territorial and Administrative Reform) can be used in this regard. Between 2017 and March 2019 the STAR 2 project will support the online legislation (from 2015 onwards) for 31 municipalities which do not publish online legal acts in cooperation with the Commissioner on the Right to Information and Protection of Personal Data. Information obtained from STAR 2 officials (September 2017).] The IRM researcher recommends following up this commitment in the next action plan. In addition to this, the commitment also needs to be redesigned to include clearer definitions of actions and the institution(s) responsible for its implementation. Specifically, with the new government taking office in September 2017, the following steps need to be taken into account:
· Take measures to unify all ministries’ websites with a separate 'legislation' section. Additionally, the same should apply for other state agencies at the central government level.
· Have the responsible institution identify the type of legal acts to be published. At present, it remains unclear which government institutions is in charge of this commitments as the MSLI does not exist in the new government cabinet.
· Remind municipalities to coordinate with vendime.al and make use of the already rich resource of local government legislation. INFOCIP is taking action to coordinate with the government and donors (UNDP Albania) supporting the territorial and administrative reform’s implementation.
· Include mechanisms for public consultation when drafting bylaws.
· Take actions to make the commitment more relevant for interest groups (e.g. businesses, CSOs, media) through greater clarity on the type of bylaws to be published under the ministries’ websites; and
· Coordinate with donors supporting the publication of local legislation, an element of territorial and administrative reform (in force since 2015) and take into account the need for more targeted use of vendime.al.
Transparency of government reporting
AL0061, 2018, E-Government
AL0062, 2018, E-Government
Improved business regulation
AL0063, 2018, Capacity Building
AL0064, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions
Improvement of database/portal with coordinators’ data of the right to information and transparency programs
AL0044, 2016, E-Government
AL0045, 2016, E-Government
Integrated Registry of Citizens’ Housing
AL0046, 2016, Citizenship and Immigration
Establishment of electronic Registry for public notification and consultation
AL0047, 2016, E-Government
AL0048, 2016, E-Government
Creating a database for archiving and publication of research funds and programs in Albania
AL0049, 2016, E-Government
Commitment to publish online central and local government legislation in open systems and for free
AL0050, 2016, Capacity Building
Commitment to Open Standards for Contracting
AL0051, 2016, E-Government
Implementation of the Law "On protection of whistleblowers", capacity building, amendments and its bylaws
AL0052, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions
Provision of electronic services
AL0053, 2016, Capacity Building
Establishment of multifunctional centralized system for building permits
AL0054, 2016, Capacity Building
Establishment and distribution of digital counters
AL0055, 2016, E-Government
Service passport standardization
AL0056, 2016, Capacity Building
AL0057, 2016, Capacity Building
Electronic system of registration of e-prescription in the Republic of Albania
AL0058, 2016, E-Government
Electronic Monitoring System of Forests
AL0059, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions
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
Standardization of corruption complaints
AL0031, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions
Electronic registry of energy and industry permits
AL0032, 2014, E-Government
Implementation of public expenses module in "open data" format
AL0033, 2014, E-Government
Promoting OGP values among local authorities
AL0034, 2014, OGP
Database on Economic Assitance Beneficiaries
AL0035, 2014, E-Government
Electronic portal on water resources administration and management
AL0036, 2014, E-Government
AL0037, 2014, E-Government
Electronic access to protected areas
AL0038, 2014, E-Government
AL0039, 2014, E-Government
AL0040, 2014, E-Government
AL0041, 2014, E-Government
Law on whistleblowers protection
AL0042, 2014, Legislation & Regulation
Police Service Offices
AL0043, 2014, E-Government
Open data portal
AL0001, 2012, Open Data
AL0002, 2012, E-Government
AL0003, 2012, E-Government
Extension of the governmental network, GOVNET
AL0004, 2012, E-Government
e-government interoperability framework, e-GIF
AL0005, 2012, E-Government
AL0006, 2012, E-Government
AL0007, 2012, E-Government
Starting of the e-Tax system
AL0008, 2012, E-Government
Online state matura
AL0009, 2012, E-Government
The regulation on ethics in research and publishing
AL0010, 2012, Education
Digitalization of higher education accreditation process
AL0011, 2012, E-Government
AL0012, 2012, E-Government
Online inspections of courts and judicial hearings
AL0013, 2012, E-Government
Digitalization of the file transfer process
AL0014, 2012, Judiciary
AL0015, 2012, E-Government
AL0016, 2012, E-Government
Amendment of the law “on the right to information for official documents”
AL0017, 2012, Justice
Drafting a new law on "notice and consultation"
AL0018, 2012, Legislation & Regulation
AL0019, 2012, E-Government
Digitalization of the notary register
AL0020, 2012, E-Government
Online citizens’ claims in the judiciary system
AL0021, 2012, E-Government
Work inspection, online complaint
AL0022, 2012, E-Government
Financial module of all educational institutions
AL0023, 2012, Education
Audio and video recording of judicial hearings
AL0024, 2012, E-Government
AL0025, 2012, E-Government
AL0026, 2012, E-Government
AL0027, 2012, E-Government
Disclosure of the list of payments made daily by the government units
AL0028, 2012, Fiscal Transparency
e-Procurement system for all small purchases of public procurement
AL0029, 2012, E-Government
Implementation of the EITI recommendations
AL0030, 2012, Extractive Industries