Skip Navigation
Croatia

Implementation of Anti-Corruption Policies by NGOs (HR0038)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Croatia Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: GOVERNMENT OFFICE FOR COOPERATION WITH NGOS

Support Institution(s): Commission for Preventing Conflicts of Interest

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption, Anti-Corruption Institutions, Civic Space, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Croatia Transitional Results Report 2018-2020, Croatia Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: No IRM Data

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

STRENGTHENING THE ABILITIES OF NGOS TO CONTRIBUTE ACTIVELY TO THE
IMPLEMENTATION OF ANTI-CORRUPTION MEASURES
Implementation of the measure is underway until June 2019
Leader of the measure GOVERNMENT OFFICE FOR COOPERATION WITH NGOS
72
Description of the measure
Which public issue does the measure address? NGOs are important actors in the preparation, implementation and
monitoring of public policy. Corruption, or rather preventing
corruption, is a problem which the Government is tackling by
implementing action plans alongside the Anti-Corruption Strategy,
through which it recognises NGOs as important partners. In addition,
the areas of public procurement and preventing conflicts of interest
require extra efforts in order to improve procedures and increase
transparency. Also, NGOs may act in all areas as a strong corrective,
primarily by monitoring such procedures. However, in order for them
to make a more significant contribution, they need financial resources,
so by implementing this measure, resources for NGOs will be
assured, with the aim of implementing public procurement projects,
suppressing corruption, and preventing conflicts of interest.
What does the measure include? The measure includes issuing a public tender and signing contracts
for awards of non-returnable funds within OP ULJP 2014.2020 in the
area of cooperation with NGOs and local authorities, to prevent
corruption and conflicts of interest in the implementation of public
policies.
A greater number of high-quality NGO projects is expected, which will
have positive effects in these areas, and the overall aim of the
measure is to support the work of NGOs in the area of anti-corruption,
as well as increasing cooperation between NGOs and local
authorities.
How does the measure contribute to resolving the public
issue?
Through the provision of financial support for NGOs to implement
projects in the areas of public procurement, suppressing corruption
and preventing conflicts of interest, contributions will be made to
implementing the Anti-Corruption Strategy, that is, preventing
corruption in the widest sense.
Why is this measure relevant to the values of the Open
Government Partnership?
The measure is relevant to participation by citizens, since it increases
the opportunities and capacities of NGOs to participate in
implementing projects with anti-corruption effects, that is, it
73
contributes to better conditions for the work of NGOs in this area.
Indirectly, and given the results of individual projects which will be
carried out within the framework of the measure, it is expected to
produce effects in terms of increasing transparency and public
accountability.
Additional information The total cost of implementing the measure is HRK 60,000,000 HRK.
The measure is in accordance with the following documents:
- Operational Programme ' Efficient Human Resources 2014-
2020'
- Action Plan - 2017 - 2018 accompanying the Anti-Corruption
Strategy 2015-2020
- Anti-Corruption Strategy 2015-2020
- Strategy for developing the public procurement system in the
Republic of Croatia
- Strategy for developing public administration 2015-2020
Activities Implementation start date Implementation end date
13.1. Issuing a public tender and signing contracts to
award non-returnable resources within OP ULJP 2014-
2020 in the area of cooperation with civil society
organisation and local authorities to prevent corruption
and conflicts of interest in the implementation of public
policies
December 2018 June 2020
Contact information
Person responsible in the body which is Leader of the
measure
Helena Beus
Function, department Director of the Office
Email and telephone helena.beus@udruge.vlada.hr, +385 1 4599 810
74
Other participants
involved
State participants Commission for Preventing Conflicts of Interest

IRM Midterm Status Summary

13. Building CSO Capacity for Anti-Corruption Activities

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

"Measure 13. Strengthening the Abilities of NGOs to Contribute Actively to the Implementation of Anti-Corruption Measures" [131]

"Through the provision of financial support for NGOs to implement projects in the areas of public procurement, suppressing corruption and preventing conflicts of interest, contributions will be made to implementing the Anti-Corruption Strategy, that is, preventing corruption in the widest sense. (…) The total cost of implementing the measure is HRK 60,000,000. [132]"

Milestones:

13.1. Issuing a public tender and signing contracts to award non-returnable resources within OP ULJP 2014-2020 in the area of cooperation with civil society organisation and local authorities to prevent corruption and conflicts of interest in the implementation of public policies

  • Public tender issued
  • Number of contracts signed on awards of non-returnable funds

Start date: December 2018

End date: June 2019

Context and Objectives

With this commitment, the government will continue investing in CSO programs that contribute to anti-corruption measures at national, regional, and local levels. This commitment is part of the the Anti-Corruption Strategy 2015-2020 [133] and the accompanying Action Plan. [134]

The commitment includes a call for proposals and awarding non-returnable funds to CSOs and local authorities within the Operational Programme Efficient Human Resources 2014-2020 (OPEHR) [135] to prevent corruption and conflicts of interest in implementing public policies. The overall aim of the measure is to support CSOs in anti-corruption efforts, as well as to increase cooperation between CSOs and local authorities.

The commitment is specific and verifiable, and reflects the OGP value of civic participation, as it empowers CSOs to inform decision-making at regional and local levels. The commitment has a minor potential impact, as it ensures a more systematic contribution by civil society to anti-corruption efforts in Croatia. Until now, CSOs played a minor role in monitoring local authorities regarding corruption prevention. This is mostly because only a small number of CSOs have this capability and they are mostly confined to Zagreb and major cities (e.g., Split, Rijeka, and Osijek). In this regard, the commitment could increase the number of CSOs capable of undertaking such projects and ensure they are more evenly distributed at local levels. It also has potential for anti-corruption efforts by local authorities, as they lag behind national efforts.

Next steps

The IRM researcher recommends that the government consider removing the condition of mandatory partnership with the local authority in which a participating CSO is founded. Croatia is too small to stump capacity building of either civil society or local and regional authorities, which would defeat the purpose of this commitment and considerably reduce the allocation of funds foreseen for this operation (this action plan). This recommendation was also voiced by several stakeholders, most notably GONG. [136]

[131] Editorial note: The text contained herein is the abridged version of the commitment. The full text is available at: Action Plan for Implementation of the Open Government Partnership Initiative in the Republic of Croatia up to 2020 (OGP, Dec. 2018) 71−74, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Croatia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.pdf. [132] The IRM researcher found inconsistencies regarding the total amount allocated for this call: the Anti-Corruption Strategy Action Plan states HRK 12,000,000; the OGP Action plan states HRK 60,000,000; and the propositions of the call state HRK 85.000.000,00 (85% EU funding, 15% state budget). [133] Croatian Parliament, Anti-Corruption Strategy from 2015-2020 (Narodne novine, 9 Mar. 2015) §5.1.7 (Measure 2), https://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2015_03_26_545.html. [134] Action Plan for 2017 and 2018 accompanying the Anti-Corruption Strategy from 2015-2020 (Ministry of Justice, Jun. 2017) 19 (Activity 53), https://pravosudje.gov.hr/UserDocsImages/dokumenti/Pravo%20na%20pristup%20informacijama/Akcijski%20plan%20suzbijanja%20korupcije%202017_2018.pdf. [135] "Operational Programme Under the 'Investment for Growth and Jobs' Goal" (Croatian Government & European Commission, 2014), http://www.esf.hr/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/FINAL-OP-EHR.pdf. Operational programs are detailed plans by which EU members delegate how money from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) will be spent during the programming period. They can be regional or nationwide (e.g., environment). [136] Jelena Tešija (GONG), interview by IRM researcher, 21 Feb. 2019.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

13. Building CSO Capacity for Anti-Corruption Activities

Completion: Limited

The call for proposals was published December 2018, and closed 30 June 2020 after several temporary suspensions. [79] No contracts were awarded within the call and it seems likely to be annulled. According to public authorities, [80] potential applicants, [81] and CSOs, [82] the call is problematic because of the mandatory partnership required between the local authorities and local CSOs, which can create conflicts of interest. [83] It also “considerably reduces the number of CSOs that can embark on such projects, even though [the proposals] indicate that applicants should have sufficient financial, professional, experiential and implementing capacity for project implementation in partnership.” [84]

[79] European Structural and Investment Funds, “Tenders: Cooperation of civil society organizations and local authorities on the prevention of corruption and conflicts of interest in the implementation of public policies” (7 Dec. 2018), https://strukturnifondovi.hr/natjecaji/suradnja-organizacija-civilnoga-drustva-i-lokalnih-vlasti-na-prevenciji-korupcije-i-sukoba-interesa-u-provedbi-javnih-politika/. The general objective of the call was to improve the role of CSOs in promoting and applying good governance. Specific goals are: increased cooperation transparency between public authorities and civil society; strengthened capacity of CSOs to actively contribute to implementing anticorruption measures; further improved implementation of consultations with interested public; strengthened professional, analytical, and advocacy capacity of CSOs to provide decision-making support at local and regional levels; digitized local and regional authorities for active citizen participation in decision-making on utilities and other functions.
[80] The sources wished to remain anonymous regarding this issue.
[81] Each call for proposals has an in-built Q&A procedure. According to five out of eight questions posed between 7 December 2018 and 17 January 2019, the biggest issue applicants had was the mandatory partnership with local authorities in which they are founded. Gov. Ofc. for Cooperation with Non-Governmental Organizations, “Suradnja organizacija civilnoga društva i lokalnih vlasti na prevenciji korupcije i sukoba interesa u provedbi javnih politika” [Cooperation between civil society organizations and local authorities on prevention corruption and conflicts of interest in the implementation of public policies] (17 Jan. 2019), https://strukturnifondovi.hr/wp-content/uploads/natjecaji/suradnja-organizacija-civilnoga-drustva-i-lokalnih-vlasti-na-prevenciji-korupcije-i-sukoba-interesa-u-provedbi-javnih-politika-16011/Pitanja-i-odgovori_korupcija_0712-1701.pdf.
[82] Tešija (GONG), interview, 21 Feb. 2019; Berković and Skender (GONG), online interview, 11 Nov. 2020.
[83] Most Croatian CSOs are in the four largest cities (Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, and Osijek). This narrows opportunities for cooperation, especially in less developed local authorities that have no "strong" and independent CSOs. Applicants believe this contributes to increasing inequalities in establishing strategic documents (e.g., Europe 2020, EU Anti-Poverty, Social Exclusion Platform etc.) listed in the call. When asked to consider this comment and allow applicants to submit project proposals in partnership with local authorities independent of the Association's registration, the official answer was “Thank you for your comment.” GONG, as the largest and most competent association in Croatia on these issues, decided not to respond to the call given that the mayor of Zagreb (GONG’s main location) repeatedly appears in corruption-related court cases; GONG feels this would be a conflict of interest. GONG’s request to revoke the call was supported by over twenty other associations. Hina, “Kako ići u borbu protiv korupcije s Milanom Bandićem?” [How to go in the fight against corruption with Bandic?] (GONG, 28 Jan. 2019), https://www.gong.hr/hr/dobra-vladavina/antikorupcijska-politika/kako-ici-u-borbu-protiv-korupcije-s-milanom-bandic/.
[84] Gov. Ofc. for Cooperation with Non-Governmental Organizations, “Suradnja organizacija civilnoga društva i lokalnih vlasti na prevenciji korupcije i sukoba interesa u provedbi javnih politika” [Cooperation between civil society organizations and local authorities on prevention corruption and conflicts of interest in the implementation of public policies], question 4, 3-4.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership