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Brazil

Participatory Development of the Federal Ombudsman System (BR0070)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Brazil Second Action Plan

Action Plan Cycle: 2013

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Office of the Comptroller General

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Justice, Legislation & Regulation, Open Justice, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Brazil End-of-Term Report 2013-2016, Brazil Progress Report 2013-2014

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

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

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

to provide for the participatory formulation of a draft regulation, which shall establish principles and mechanisms for the functioning of the Federal Ombudsman System.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 3.2. Participatory development of the Federal Ombudsman System

Commitment Text: To provide for the participatory formulation of a draft regulation, which shall establish principles and mechanisms for the functioning of the Federal Ombudsman System.

Responsible institution: Office of the Comptroller General

Supporting institution: None

Start date: Not specified                          End date: 14 September 2014

Commitment aim

This commitment sought to produce a draft law to develop a Federal Ombudsman System. Such a system would strengthen the freedom of information law in Brazil, improve social control, and bolster the governance system of public institutions.

Status

Midterm: Completed

The commitment was completed. The draft decree was developed through a series of online and in-person consultations. At the end of the participatory process, the draft awaited analysis after being sent for final adjustments and signing. For additional details, please see the IRM Midterm Progress Report.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Did not change

Civic participation: Marginal

Public accountability: Did not change

In 2015, almost 90 percent of municipalities were ranked ‘low’ in terms of transparency.[Note 81: Época Negócios, “Quase 90% dos municípios do país não são transparentes,” 19 May 2015, http://glo.bo/2j8uygY.] At the federal level, standards were higher, but there was still a lack of standardised needs and practices. The commitment aimed to address this problem by strengthening multi-sectoral networks of ombudsmen systems in the country.

The commitment successfully produced a draft regulation creating a Federal Ombudsman System, it was not signed. This meant no change in government practices with regard to access to information or public accountability. Still, citizens actively participated in the consultation process leading to completion of the commitment. For example, citizens were given the opportunity to submit comments online through the main participation portal, Participa.br, as well as through the Ministry of Justice’s Pensando o Direito portal. This demonstrated evidence of the strong interaction between government and civil society. The General Ombudsman’s Office (OGU) also held discussions, and created a commission to systematise the results of those consultations.

Furthermore, the government carried out a project called Ombudsman Caravans: Towards a Participatory System, which disseminated information about social participation, exchanged experiences about the on-the-ground reality of ombudsmen, and discussed the creation of the federal system. The project consisted of several in-person events throughout Brazil that were viewed favorably by both ombudsmen and civil society representatives. For example, the president of a tenants’ association in Manaus said the event helped raise awareness of the services ombudsmen provide to citizens. Several ombudsmen praised the program for facilitating the exchange of experiences.[Note 82: Portal do Holanda, “Manaus sedia quinta etapa da Caravana das Ouvidorias,” 29 November 2013, http://bit.ly/2nH8L2y. ]

In addition, though the draft regulation was not signed, many of its proposals were included in the 2014 National Policy on Social Participation, including the definition and conceptualization of an ombudsman’s office. Ultimately, then, the government did engage citizens and improve the framework of participation as part of the commitment.

Carried forward?

The commitment is not part of Brazil’s third action plan. For the future, the IRM researcher suggests signing the draft bill to unify ombudsmen and consolidate their information, as well as replicating the collaborative drafting of laws in other areas.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership