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Croatia

Improving the Implementation of the Right of Access to Information Act (HR0011)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Croatia Action Plan 2012-2013

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Information Commissioner

Support Institution(s): Ministry of Administration; Digital Information Documentation Office; State Public Administration School; Office for Societies of the Government of Croatia

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Right to Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Croatia End-of-Term Report 2014-2016, Croatia IRM Progress Report 2014-2015

Starred: No

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Public Accountability

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Develop a publically accessible database on public authorities that are subject to apply the Act on the Right of Access to Information Implementation indicators: Drafted and publically accessible database on public authorities in excel format. Conduct education in the area of the right of access to information: Education of officials and civil servants on the right of access to information Implementation indicators: 8 training sessions held (4 workshops per year), 200 attendees per year at education sessions, developing and implementing train-the-trainer programmes for the implementation of the Act on the Right of Access to Information o Necessary resources: HRK 70,000 Implementation indicators: train-the-trainer programme developed and implemented, 20 educated trainers, online educational programs regarding achieving the right to access of information via the portal of the Digital Information Documentation Office for attendees from public authorities and the interested public, Implementation indicators: execution of a webinar and other online programs, number of programs held, number of attendees. Conceive and implement a citizens' campaign on the right of access to information Necessary resources: HRK 300,000 Implementation indicators: promotional materials developed (publications, audio, video), their dissemination and publication in the media. Execute a competition and grant awards for transparency and openness of public administration bodies at the local and regional level Implementation indicators: drafted methodology of the competition, competition conducted, granting of awards to public administration bodies at the local level – local and regional selfgovernment units, companies under ownership of the local and regional self-government and public institutions and other legal persons founded by the local and regional self-government units. Lead institutions: Information Commissioner Supporting institutions: Ministry of Administration; Digital Information Documentation Office; State Public Administration School; Office for Societies of the Government of Croatia Start date: Not specified, End date: 31 December 2016

IRM End of Term Status Summary

2. Improving the Implementation of the Right of Access to Information Act

Commitment Text:

2.1. Develop a publically accessible database on public authorities that are subject to apply the Act on the Right of Access to Information

Implementation indicators: Drafted and publically accessible database on public authorities in excel format.

Lead institutions:    Information Commissioner

Supporting institutions: Ministry of Administration; Digital Information Documentation Office

Start date: Not specified   End date: December 2014

2.2. Conduct education in the area of the right of access to information:

a) Education of officials and civil servants on the right of access to information.............................

Implementation indicators:

  • 8 training sessions held (4 workshops per year)
  • 200 attendees per year at education sessions

Lead institutions:    Information Commissioner

Supporting institutions: Digital Information Documentation Office; State Public Administration School

Start date: Not specified   End date: continuous

b) Developing and implementing train-the-trainer programmes for the implementation of the Act on the Right of Access to Information  

Necessary resources: HRK 70,000  

Implementation indicators:

  • train-the-trainer programme developed and implemented
  • 20 educated trainers

Lead institutions:    Information Commissioner

Supporting institutions: Digital Information Documentation Office; State Public Administration School

Start date: Not specified   End date: December 2015

c) online educational programs regarding achieving the right to access of information via the portal of the Digital Information Documentation Office for attendees from public authorities and the interested public

Implementation indicators:

  • execution of a webinar and other online programs
  • number of programs held
  • number of attendees

Lead institutions:    Information Commissioner

Supporting institutions: Digital Information Documentation Office

Start date: Not specified   End date: continuous

2.3. Conceive and implement a citizens' campaign on the right of access to information

Necessary resources: HRK 300,000   

Implementation indicators:

  • promotional materials developed (publications, audio, video)
  • their dissemination and publication in the media

Lead institutions:    Information Commissioner

Supporting institutions: None specified

Start date: Not specified   End date: December 2016

2.4. Execute a competition and grant awards for transparency and openness of public administration bodies at the local and regional level ...............................................

Implementation indicators:

  • drafted methodology of the competition
  • competition conducted
  • granting of awards to public administration bodies at the local level—local and regional self-government units, companies under ownership of the local and regional self-government, and public institutions and other legal persons founded by the local and regional self-government units.

Lead institutions: Information Commissioner

Supporting institutions: Ministry of Administration; Office for Societies of the Government of Croatia*

Start date: Not specified...........    End date: March 2016

*Editorial note: The correct translation for the agency is the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs

Commitment Aim:

This commitment was aimed at improving the implementation of the right of access to information legislation by increasing the public awareness about available information (milestones 2.1 and 2.3) and the public authorities’ knowledge and proactive use of that legislation (milestones 2.2 and 2.4).

 Status

Midterm: Limited

 2.1. Develop a publically accessible database on public authorities that are subject to apply the Act on the Right of Access to Information (completed)

2.2. Conduct education in the area of the right of access to information (substantial)

This milestone has been substantially implemented. In the first year of implementation, a total of 33 training courses were conducted throughout Croatia for almost 1,800 participants. In this regard, the activity (activity a) surpassed its implementation indicators, which required 200 attendees trained in a year. Online educational programmes (activity b) on access to information were ongoing—with 15 webinars conducted, including a total of 319 participants from public administration and other interested participants. The development of the train-the-trainer programme (activity c) is the only activity that was not started. This activity required significant financial resources that it did not receive (particularly from the Information Commissioner’s Office), which caused the delay. A project financed through EU funds, “Strengthening Capacities of the Public Bodies for Effective Implementation of Act on the Right to Access to Information,” which includes a training-for-trainers activity, is to be implemented between 2016 and 2018. For more information see the midterm report.

2.3. Conceive and implement a citizens' campaign on the right of access to information (not started)

The implementation of this milestone did not start due to the lack of funding from the Information Commissioner’s Office. The office adopted a framework action plan in June 2014, along with an indicative budget for 2016 and 2017 as part of its 2015–2017 strategic plan,[Note 9: Available at http://www.pristupinfo.hr/o-povjereniku-za-informiranje/.] which indicated that the implementation of this milestone would most likely take place during the next action plan implementation period (2016–2018).

2.4.

Execute a competition and grant awards for transparency and openness of public administration bodies at the local and regional level (limited)

Considering the period envisaged for the implementation of this measure (March 2016) and entry into force of the amended Act on the Right to Access to Information in August 2015, the IRM researcher found that preparatory work was undertaken in the reporting period. Further activities required securing human and financial capacities. See the IRM midterm report for more details.

End of term: Limited

There were no changes in the level of completion for milestones provided under this commitment. Milestone 2.1 was completed and its implementation is continuous. Milestone 2.2. also continues to be implemented,  aside from the training-the-trainers programme (activity c), which was never started as a result of funding contraints and the fact that it was removed from the previously mentioned EU funded project, since the Information Commissioner intends to implement it by using online educational materials (video, webinars). According to the information commissioner, the government exceeded the implementation indicators during the two-year implementation period: a total of 72 education trainings were held for almost 2,728 participants, along with five webinars introduced in 2015 in cooperation with the Digital Information Documentation Office. Five additional webinars were planned by the end of 2016. As for milestones 2.3 and 2.4 (aside from some preparatory activity), according to the midterm self-assessment report, the public campaign, the preparation of monitoring and evaluation methodology, the appointment of the commission, the drafting of regulations for the award, and other activities were to begin in October 2015. However, this did not take place due to a lack of funding and staff.

 
Did it open government?

Access to information: Major

Public accountability: Did not change

The operationalization of the right to access information is a fairly new development in Croatia, and its effective implementation requires considerable effort by public, private, and civil society stakeholders as well as citizens. The government sought to improve the implementation of the legal framework by providing relevant information, education, and awareness raising. The overall ambition of this commitment was moderate, and its completion remained limited in the second year of implementation.  The last two milestones were not started and thus had no influence on access to information. However, milestones 2.1 and 2.2 had an overall major impact on access to information, since the government disclosed more information and improved the quality of information. On the other hand, as implemented the commitment does not clearly include a mechanism/intervention for holding public officials accountable, and there is no clear evidence of public officials being held accountable as a result of the implementation of this commitment. Therefore, it had no effect on public accountability. CSO stakeholders[Note 10: Information commissioner event, 28 September 2016. See Methodological Note and http://www.pristupinfo.hr/en/povjerenik-za-etiku/.] agreed that the database (milestone 2.1) is very useful and that information officers are now more ready to disclose relevant information (milestone 2.2). However, citizen awareness of their rights and the methods they can use to excercise those rights is still low, so further implementation of milestones 2.3 and 2.4 is still necessary.

Carried forward?

The next action has not been drafted or released by the government in accordance with the OGP schedule. The IRM researcher suggests the following steps to ensure full implementation:

•  Further work is needed on the basic implementation of the unfinished milestones. For instance,  the government should implement milestones 2.3 and 2.4 and the part of milestone 2.2 (train-the-trainers programme) that was not started during the implementation of this action plan;

•  The relevant public administration bodies could also consider devising next steps on already implemented activities, such as upgrading the education modules, including more participants in online education, etc.;

  • The database (milestone 2.1) needs an upgraded IT system and administrative processes in place to ensure that it is regularly maintained and updated with information. The IRM researcher recommends decentralising the process of collecting information by having individual information officers from all departments responsible for timely data collation. This could improve the input of relevant data as well as improve the effectiveness of monitoring the data;
  • Start implementation of the public awareness-raising campaign, as well as competition and grant award activity; and
  • In general, increase the necessary financial and human resources for the Information Commissioner’s Office and other relevant administrative bodies in this commitment.

It should be mentioned that the public campaign envisaged in activity 2.3 is planned as project activity in an EU funded project, via the European Social Fund, due to insufficient funding of the Information Commissioner Office. Its implementation is planned in 2017.


Croatia's Commitments

  1. Implementing Right to Information

    HR0026, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Fiscal Transparency

    HR0027, 2018, E-Government

  3. Political Finance Transparency

    HR0028, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Commercial regulations of companies owning local governments

    HR0029, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  5. Transparency in NGO project finance

    HR0030, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Protection of Persons Reporting Corruption

    HR0031, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  7. Parliamentary transparency

    HR0032, 2018, E-Government

  8. Media regulations framework

    HR0033, 2018, Civic Space

  9. Data Opening

    HR0034, 2018, E-Government

  10. Raising awareness about open data

    HR0035, 2018, Capacity Building

  11. Central state portal

    HR0036, 2018, E-Government

  12. public consultations

    HR0037, 2018, Capacity Building

  13. implementation of anti-corruption policies by NGOs

    HR0038, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  14. local and regional open government

    HR0039, 2018, E-Government

  15. OGP sustainability

    HR0040, 2018, Capacity Building

  16. Right to Access Information Legislative Framework

    HR0010, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Improving the Implementation of the Right of Access to Information Act

    HR0011, 2014, Capacity Building

  18. Starred commitment Proactive Release of Information and Opening Data

    HR0012, 2014, Capacity Building

  19. Fiscal Transparency

    HR0013, 2014, Capacity Building

  20. Starred commitment Improvements of Transparency and Efficiency in Public Administration Work

    HR0014, 2014, Capacity Building

  21. Improvement of Transparency of Election and Referendum Campaigns

    HR0015, 2014, E-Government

  22. Transparency in the Area of Youth Policy

    HR0016, 2014, E-Government

  23. Media Transparency

    HR0017, 2014, Civic Space

  24. Improving Transparency of Information on Members of Parliament and Their Work

    HR0018, 2014, Asset Disclosure

  25. Improving Transparency of Data on Assets of Officials

    HR0019, 2014, Asset Disclosure

  26. Starred commitment Improving the Consultation Process with the Interested Public in Legislative Procedures

    HR0020, 2014, Capacity Building

  27. Ensuring the Sustainability of Values and Content of the OGP Initiative

    HR0021, 2014, Capacity Building

  28. Starred commitment Participation in Drafting the New Anti-Corruption Strategy

    HR0022, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  29. Regulation of Lobbying

    HR0023, 2014, Capacity Building

  30. Improving Efficiency of the Ministry of Interior's Complaints Commission

    HR0024, 2014, Justice

  31. Promoting Civil Participation in the Work of Civil Society Organizations

    HR0025, 2014, Civic Space

  32. Improving the Content and Transparency of Budgetary Documents: Publish and update the state budget proposal

    HR0001, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  33. Improving Transparency of Business Activity of The Companies Of Special State Interest

    HR0002, 2012, Private Sector

  34. Making The Contents of All Budgetary Documents Understandable And Accessible To Citizens

    HR0003, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  35. Improving Accessibility of Local Budget Contents to the Citizens and the Public: Give recommendations to local units to publish budget documents

    HR0004, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  36. Starred commitment Improving the Legislative Framework for Exercising the Right of Access to Information: Amend the Act on the Right of Access to Information

    HR0005, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  37. Starred commitment Improving Access to Information on Expending Public Resources and Contents of Relevant Registers: Implementation of acts on political activity and campaign financing

    HR0006, 2012, Civic Space

  38. Ensuring Transparent Work of Public Authority Bodies In The Service Of Exercising Citizen Rights: Enhancement of web portal with info on exercising rights

    HR0007, 2012, E-Government

  39. Starred commitment Setting up a System of Participatory Drafting and Monitoring of State and Local Budget Implementation: Public discussions on budget allocation

    HR0008, 2012, Participation in Budget Processes

  40. Starred commitment Improving the Practice of Consulting the Interested Public in Procedures of Adopting New Laws: Amend procedural rules

    HR0009, 2012, E-Government