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Brazil

Access to Information Policy in the Federal Government – Promptness and Effectiveness to Information Requests (BR0086)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Brazil National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Transparency, Oversight and Comptroller General of Brazil

Support Institution(s): Ministry of Planning, Development and Management Joint Committee of Information Reassessment Ministry of Justice and Citizenship Chamber of Deputies Ministry of Transparency, Oversight and Comptroller General of Brazil, Article 19 Getúlio Vargas Foundation Transparency International Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism Mr. Francisco Leali

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Right to Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Brazil Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Lead government institution: Ministry of Transparency, Oversight and Comptroller General of Brazil; Civil servant in charge for implementing at lead government institution: Otávio Moreira de Castro Neves; Position - Department Director/Transparency and Control Department; E-mail: otavio.neves@cgu.gov.br; Telephone: 55 61 2020 6538; Other involved actors: Government: Ministry of Planning, Development and Management Joint Committee of Information Reassessment Ministry of Justice and Citizenship Chamber of Deputies Ministry of Transparency, Oversight and Comptroller General of Brazil Civil society, private sector, group of workers and multilateral actors Article 19 Getúlio Vargas Foundation Transparency International Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism Mr. Francisco Leali; Status quo or problem/issue to be addressed: Information request answer tardiness and unsuitable exposure of the classified documents list; Main objective: To promote the right to information access, as established by the Information Access Act, curbing the access barriers and improving its answer effectiveness; Commitment short description: The commitment aims to have the classified documents list, rated by the agencies, as transparent as possible, and also to provide methodological guidelines for qualitative evaluation of answers given by those bodies; OGP Challenge addressed by the Commitment: ImprovementofPublic Services; Commitment relevance: To enhance the access to information aspects rendered by the federal governmental bodies, contributing therefore to the advancement of a culture of transparency in the civil service. Goal: To improve the information request answer effectiveness, the proper use of exceptions, and a suitable subject exposure at the classified information list

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. Access to Information Policy in the Federal Government – Promptness and Effectiveness to Information Requests

Commitment Text:

Enhance mechanisms in order to assure more promptness and answer effectiveness to information requests, and the proper disclosure of the classified document list

The commitment intends to enhance the access to information aspects rendered by the federal governmental bodies, contributing therefore to the advancement of a culture of transparency in the civil service. The commitment aims to have the classified documents list, rated by the agencies, as transparent as possible, and also to provide methodological guidelines for qualitative evaluation of answers given by those bodies.

3.1 – Recommendation of subject inclusion at the classified information list

3.2 – Establishment of a deadline rule for additional clarifications

3.3 – Establishment of an evaluation methodology, essentially considering: training, information list, subject, time, answer effectiveness

3.4 – Evaluation carrying out

3.5 – Publishing of evaluation results

3.6 – Recommendations to organizations, considering guidelines, in order that the Information Access Act understanding binds the civil servant functional life.

3.7 – Publishing of the agency answer

3.8 – Referral and results

Responsible institution: Ministry of Transparency, Oversight and Comptroller General of Brazil

Supporting institutions: Ministry of Planning, Development and Management, Joint Committee of Information Reassessment, Ministry of Justice and Citizenship, Chamber of Deputies, Article 19, Getúlio Vargas Foundation, Transparency International, Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism, Mr. Francisco Leali

Start date: December 2016 . End date: November 2018

Context and Objectives

The commitment addresses issues of nonreplies to information requests and the misuse of denials (e.g., use of the 'classified information' argument). Thus, the commitment seeks to improve the effectiveness of information requests at the federal level and the proper use of exceptions. It also aims to reform the rules used to justify safeguarding classified information. To achieve these objectives, the government expects to make the list of current classified documents as transparent as possible. It will also provide methodological guidelines for a qualitative evaluation of responses to information requests. Ultimately, the government will evaluate agency practices, publish the results, and offer recommendations for improving practices.

The commitment’s level of specificity is medium. Its intermediate steps include agencies delivering an improved document classification list, setting deadlines to provide requested information, and developing a methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of government agency responses to information requests. However, it is unclear how these deliverables will increase promptness and effectiveness in responses to information requests. The commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information, because it seeks to improve the information request process.

The commitment has a moderate potential impact, particularly if it can increase the reply rate of government agencies and address denied requests in key cases. In particular, the list of classified documents, even if it is not a form of active transparency, is closely related to the quality of government responses to access to information requests. More detailed classifications can reduce the response time and improve overall compliance by allowing citizens to more clearly contest the denials of requests.

Brazil’s transparency mechanisms have been increasingly used in the past five years, which is positive. However, analysis has shown a need to improve the service’s efficiency and transparency in several cases.[1] In this context, it is noteworthy that the government has proposed to both evaluate the current practices and promote an actual policy change by 2018. This policy change will allow for more transparency and efficiency in evaluating transparency mechanisms. It will also advance provisions for agencies to improve their practices, including publication of evaluation results, a response from each agency, and follow-up meetings. Identifying, evaluating, and, if necessary, correcting denied information requests based on the classified information exemption (in the case of misuse) would be an important step forward for access to information in Brazil.

Completion

The commitment’s level of completion is limited.

Milestone 3.1 is complete. The government drafted the policy proposal, submitted it to civil society for comment,[2] and published it.[3] The policy would include a required field in access-to-information requests to identify the type of classified information. This field has already been adopted by some websites, including that of the Ministry of Transparency, Oversight, and Comptroller-General (CGU), as verified by the IRM researcher. According to a government representative (interview with Marcelo de Brito Vidal), other government institutions requested more time to adopt the recommendation, citing the complexity of internal procedures.

Milestone 3.2, which deals with the legal requirements to enforce the commitment goal, has seen substantial progress, but it is not complete. The CGU’s original plan was to update Presidential Decree 7.7214/2012, which establishes the criteria for classified information. However, the agency is currently analyzing strategies that can provide the necessary policy changes within the CGU's existing legal capacity. The legal analysis has not yet been shared with civil society for comment, but the ministry did send it to the IRM researcher, who verified its existence.

The methodology to evaluate current practices (milestone 3.3) is substantially complete. The government drafted a proposal of the methodology and submitted it to civil society for consultation.[4] According to the government, when the process is complete, the methodology will be published on the website for the Freedom of Information Act (http://www.lai.gov.br).

Milestone 3.4 has begun. Because it depends on the completion of milestone 3.3, only preliminary work has started. The government reports that internal meetings between the CGU and the Ministry of Planning, Development, and Management are being held to define a capacity-building series. The information is internal, but evidence of email exchanges was sent to the IRM researcher, who verified the progress.

Milestones 3.5-3.8 have not been initiated, but are nonetheless still on schedule.

As mentioned in the action plan, milestones 3.1-3.3 were expected to be delivered by June 2017, which puts the commitment behind schedule.

Early Results (if any)

It is too early to analyze the results of this commitment. The government deployed a new policy regarding the classified information list. Some websites have received the new fields of information. However, there has not been broad adoption across government thus far. The Ministry of Transparency, Oversight, and Comptroller-General is the leading institution in adopting the new policy. Other branches of the government (including at the subnational level) have not adopted it yet. Also, training and evaluation should be implemented before analyzing the commitment’s contribution to government openness.

Next Steps

One of the key intended outcomes of this commitment is for civil society to be able to identify the main instances when government uses the classified information argument to deny information requests. To achieve this, however, the various institutions processing information requests must change their practices based on the results and recommendations of the evaluation described above. Thus, the implementation of the remaining milestones is only the first step. A plan for following up on the uptake of the proposed policy changes across the federal government will be essential for achieving the desired impact.

[1] Gregory Michener and Irene Niskier, 'Law of Access to Information 5 Years Ago with Advances and Limitations,' Folha de S. Paulo, 30 September 2017, http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/poder/2017/09/1923133-lei-de-acesso-a-informacao-faz-5-anos-com-avancos-e-limitacoes.shtml.

[2] Open Government Partnership, Memoria de Reuniao—Compromissos 3 e 4, http://www.governoaberto.cgu.gov.br/central-de-conteudo/documentos/memoria_reuniao_02ago2017.pdf.

[3] Guia para Publicação do Rol de Informações Classificadas e Desclassificadas e de Relatórios Estatísticos sobre a Lei de Acesso a Informação, http://www.acessoainformacao.gov.br/lai-para-sic/sic-apoio-orientacoes/guias-e-orientacoes/guia-informacoes-classificadas-versao-3.pdf.

[4] A representative from Article 19 confirmed this to the IRM researcher.


Commitments

  1. Subnational Good Governance

    BR0100, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Open Data Policy

    BR0101, 2018, E-Government

  3. Scientific Data Governance

    BR0102, 2018, E-Government

  4. Capacity-Building and Oversight on Nutrition Policy

    BR0103, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. Transport Data

    BR0104, 2018, E-Government

  6. Transparency and Oversight in Infrastructure Repair Processes

    BR0105, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Increase Participation in Legislative Process

    BR0106, 2018, Capacity Building

  8. Urban and Rural Land Registers

    BR0107, 2018, E-Government

  9. Climate Change Policy Evaluation

    BR0108, 2018, E-Government

  10. Water Resource Management

    BR0109, 2018, Capacity Building

  11. National Electronic System/ATI implementation

    BR0110, 2018, E-Government

  12. Open Data on the Federal Government

    BR0084, 2016, Capacity Building

  13. Transparency of Public Funds

    BR0085, 2016, Capacity Building

  14. Access to Information Policy in the Federal Government – Promptness and Effectiveness to Information Requests

    BR0086, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Access to Information Policy in the Federal Government – Requesters’ Personal Information Safeguard

    BR0087, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  16. Effectiveness of National Policy for Social Participation Mechanisms

    BR0088, 2016, Capacity Building

  17. Starred commitment Digital Educational Resources

    BR0089, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Open Data and Information Governance in Health

    BR0090, 2016, E-Government

  19. Prevention to Torture and Mean, Inhuman, or Humiliating Treatments in the Penitentiary System

    BR0091, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Innovation Spaces for Management in Public Services

    BR0092, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Assessment and Streamline of Public Services

    BR0093, 2016, E-Government

  22. Open Innovation and Transparency in the Legislative

    BR0094, 2016, Capacity Building

  23. Fostering Open Government in States and Municipalities

    BR0095, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Transparency and Innovation in the Judiciary

    BR0096, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Social Participation in Federal Government’S Planning Cycle

    BR0097, 2016, E-Government

  26. Open Data and Active Transparency in Environment Issues

    BR0098, 2016, Environment and Climate

  27. Mapping and Participatory Management for Culture

    BR0099, 2016, Capacity Building

  28. Probity Defense and Asset Recovery

    BR0033, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  29. Development of a Methodology for Social Participation on the Monitoring of the Pluriannual Plan (PPA) and on the Formulation of the Federal Public Budget

    BR0034, 2013, Capacity Building

  30. Development of the Monitoring System for the Social Movements Demands

    BR0035, 2013, Capacity Building

  31. Capacity-Building of Educators, Political Agents, Public Managers, Councilors for Social Policies and Community Leaderships

    BR0036, 2013, Capacity Building

  32. Encourage States and Municipalities to Endorse the OGP Four Principles

    BR0037, 2013, Capacity Building

  33. Implementation of the ODP.Nano

    BR0038, 2013, Oversight of Budget/Fiscal Policies

  34. Strengthening of the Office of the Comptroller General (CGU)

    BR0039, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  35. Online Accountability of Resources for Education Within the National Fund for Education Development

    BR0040, 2013, E-Government

  36. Generation of Knowledge and Capacity-Building of Managers and Public Resources Operator’S Partners and of Councilors for Social Control

    BR0041, 2013, Capacity Building

  37. National Program for Strengthening School Councils

    BR0042, 2013, Capacity Building

  38. Development of a Unified and Interactive Information Panel on the Implementation of the Water for All Program, Which Can Be Publicly Accessed Through the Internet

    BR0043, 2013, Capacity Building

  39. Digital Inclusion of Health Councils

    BR0044, 2013, E-Government

  40. Starred commitment Development of Tools for Increasing Transparency and Enhancing Land Governance

    BR0045, 2013, E-Government

  41. Implementation of the Document Management Policy in the Federal Government

    BR0046, 2013, Capacity Building

  42. Development of the “Access to Information Library”

    BR0047, 2013, Capacity Building

  43. Disclosure of Data from the Execution of the Union Budget and from Government Purchases

    BR0048, 2013, Fiscal Transparency

  44. Dissemination of the Public Open Data Culture to the Local Governments

    BR0049, 2013, Capacity Building

  45. Development of Support Technologies and Licensing Models for the Disclosure of Open Data

    BR0050, 2013, E-Government

  46. Disclosure of Information from Government Systems in an Open Data Format

    BR0051, 2013, Open Data

  47. Corporative Information Management in Social Security (E-Governance)

    BR0052, 2013, E-Government

  48. Improvement of Active Transparency and of the Unique Health System’ Ombudsman Unit

    BR0053, 2013, Health

  49. Strengthening of the National Audit System of the Unique Health System (SUS)

    BR0054, 2013, Audits and Controls

  50. Increasing Public Transparency of the Labor Relations Secretariat of the Ministry of Labor and Employment

    BR0055, 2013, E-Government

  51. Disclosure of Recommendations to Carry Out Public Audiences to Serve as Reference for the Government

    BR0056, 2013, Capacity Building

  52. Development of a Database of the Federal Public Administration Purchases Prices

    BR0057, 2013, E-Government

  53. Participatory Audits on the Constructions of Brazilian Host Cities for the 2014 FIFA World Cup

    BR0058, 2013, Audits and Controls

  54. Development of an Indicators Model for Transparency of Brazilian Municipalities Institutional Development

    BR0059, 2013, Capacity Building

  55. Development of a Brazilian Portal for the Open Government Partnership (OGP)

    BR0060, 2013, E-Government

  56. Development of Monitoring Reports on the Electronic Citizen Information System (e-SIC)

    BR0061, 2013, E-Government

  57. Encouragement of Social Participation

    BR0062, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  58. Formulation and Implementation of the Ministry of Defense’S Information Management Policy

    BR0063, 2013, Records Management

  59. Development of a Database of Administrative Documents Produced by Brazil’S Navy

    BR0064, 2013, Public Participation

  60. Open Educational Data

    BR0065, 2013, Education

  61. Improvement of Data Transparency from the National Consumer Protection Information System (Sindec)

    BR0066, 2013, Legislation & Regulation

  62. Restructuring of the Brazilian Federal Government Transparency Portal

    BR0067, 2013, E-Government

  63. Electronic System for Public Consultations

    BR0068, 2013, E-Government

  64. Improvement of Health Services Through the Increased Use of the National Health Card

    BR0069, 2013, Health

  65. Participatory Development of the Federal Ombudsman System

    BR0070, 2013, Justice

  66. “Brazil Transparent” Program

    BR0071, 2013, Capacity Building

  67. Development of the Unique Health System Letter

    BR0072, 2013, Health

  68. Digital Cities Project

    BR0073, 2013, E-Government

  69. Development of the National System for the Promotion of Racial Equality (SINAPIR)

    BR0074, 2013, Human Rights

  70. Improvement of Mechanisms for Social Participation in the Formulation of Public Policies

    BR0075, 2013, Public Participation

  71. Brazilian Portal for Social Participation

    BR0076, 2013, E-Government

  72. Open Data in the Ministry of Justice

    BR0077, 2013, Justice

  73. Improvement of the Pro-Ethics Company Registry

    BR0078, 2013, Private Sector

  74. Expansion of the Database of the National Debarment List (CEIS):

    BR0079, 2013, Open Contracting and Procurement

  75. Monitoring of the National Plan for Food and Nutrition Security (PLANSAN)

    BR0080, 2013, Health

  76. Development of an Information System on the Maria Da Penha Law (Law No. 11,340/2006)

    BR0081, 2013, Gender

  77. Development of Processes for Prior Consultation Under the 169 Convention of the International Labour Organization’S (ILO)

    BR0082, 2013, Labor

  78. Redesign of the Current Protection Programs

    BR0083, 2013, Human Rights

  79. Capacity Building Programs

    BR0001, 2011, Capacity Building

  80. Distance Education Program

    BR0002, 2011, Capacity Building

  81. Guide for Public Officials on Access to Information

    BR0003, 2011, Capacity Building

  82. Information Services Model

    BR0004, 2011, E-Government

  83. Diagnostic Study on the Transparency Values of Executive Branch

    BR0005, 2011, Right to Information

  84. Diagnostic Study on Role of Federal Ombudsman Units (FOUs)

    BR0006, 2011, Justice

  85. Research Study to Identify the Demands of Society in Regard to Access to Information

    BR0007, 2011, Right to Information

  86. Preparation of a Catalogue of Public Data and Information

    BR0008, 2011, Capacity Building

  87. Organization of a Meeting of the Inter-Council Forum Multi-Year Plan 2012–15 (Phase 2)

    BR0009, 2011, Capacity Building

  88. Organization of the 1st National Conference on Transparency and Social Control (1St Consocial)

    BR0010, 2011, Capacity Building

  89. Organization of the 1st National Open Data Meeting

    BR0011, 2011, Capacity Building

  90. Organization of the National Seminar on Social Participation

    BR0012, 2011, Capacity Building

  91. Partnership with the Digital Culture Laboratory

    BR0013, 2011, Capacity Building

  92. Partnership with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Brazil

    BR0014, 2011, Capacity Building

  93. Development of the National Open Data Infrastructure (INDA)

    BR0015, 2011, E-Government

  94. INDA Capacity Building Plan

    BR0016, 2011, Capacity Building

  95. INDA Awareness- Raising Activities

    BR0017, 2011, Capacity Building

  96. Launch of the Brazil Open Data Portal

    BR0018, 2011, E-Government

  97. Resource Transfer Agreements and Contract System (SICONV)

    BR0019, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  98. Aquarius Platform

    BR0020, 2011, E-Government

  99. Data Warehouse

    BR0021, 2011, E-Government

  100. Restructuring the Transparency Portal

    BR0022, 2011, E-Government

  101. Facilitate Access to Specific Databases

    BR0023, 2011, E-Government

  102. Interactive School Development Plan

    BR0024, 2011, E-Government

  103. Control Panel for the Integrated Monitoring and Oversight System (Public Module)

    BR0025, 2011, E-Government

  104. United Suppliers Registry (SICAF)

    BR0026, 2011, E-Government

  105. Registry of National Education Prices

    BR0027, 2011, Education

  106. Contractual Management of IT Services

    BR0028, 2011, E-Government

  107. Implementation of Pro-Ethics Company Registry

    BR0029, 2011, Private Sector

  108. Systemic Integration of Ombudsman Units

    BR0030, 2011, E-Government

  109. Continued Training for Public Ombudsman Units

    BR0031, 2011, Capacity Building

  110. Public Services Portal

    BR0032, 2011, Open Data