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Israel

Transparency Criteria (IL0029)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Israel Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Government Freedom of Information Unit

Support Institution(s): Government ICT Authority, the Department of Home Affairs, Planning and Development, officials in charge of providing information to the public, Members of the transparency team (The Israel Democracy Institute, the Freedom of Information Movement and more), which also includes representatives from academia.

Policy Areas

Public Participation, Right to Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Israel Design Report 2017-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?
The use of the term “transparency” has become popular in recent years. Many public authorities and elected officials declare that they identify with the values of transparency and conduct themselves accordingly. However, the term is ambiguous and vague – What makes an authority transparent? How is transparency evaluated? Who needs to be evaluated? These questions have been left unanswered. What is the commitment?
Defining criteria for evaluating transparency in public authorities. The criteria will include references to the types of media that the authorities use, to responses to questions under the Freedom of Information Law, to the degree at which an authority is accessible to the public and more. How will the commitment contribute to solve the public oblem?pr
Defining the criteria will set a norm by which public authorities are to conduct themselves. As soon as the norm is set, public authorities will be required to strive to comply with it. Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?
Transparency: This commitment pertains to government transparency. Fulfilling this commitment means compliance with the norm for transparency in every public authority.
Accountability: Defining transparency criteria will enable authorities and the public to know whether the authorities are fulfilling their commitments with regard to provisions of law and the customary standard of transparency. Additional information
- It will be necessary to define a mechanism for periodic examination of the criteria in order to ensure that they remain relevant.
- Upon defining the criteria, the Government Freedom of Information Unit intends to inculcate them, inter alia, through ongoing examination, publicizing them and rewarding transparency in order to provide positive incentives to comply with the criteria. Milestone Activity with a verifiable deliverable: Formulating a work methodology and a procedure for formulating the criteria
January 2018
February 2018
Inviting the public to offer input
March 2018
March 2018
Conference to review public comments and hold discussions by the transparency team
April 2018
June 2018
Formulating a draft for public comments
July 2018
October 2018 Approval of the defined criteria
October 2018
December 2018

IRM Midterm Status Summary

7. Defining criteria for transparency

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan: [23]

The use of the term “transparency” has become popular in recent years. Many public authorities and elected officials declare that they identify with the values of transparency and conduct themselves accordingly. However, the term is ambiguous and vague – what makes an authority transparent? How is transparency evaluated? Who needs to be evaluated? These questions have been left unanswered.

Defining the criteria for transparency will set a norm by which public authorities are to conduct themselves. As soon as the norm is set, public authorities will be required to strive to comply with it.

Milestones

7.1 Formulating a work methodology and a procedure for formulating the criteria

7.2 Inviting the public to offer input

7.3 Conference to review public comments and hold discussions by the transparency team

7.4 Formulating a draft for public comments

7.5 Approval of the defined criteria

Start Date: January 2018

End date: December 2018

Context and Objectives

According to government officials leading Israel’s OGP process, stakeholders currently hold differing notions of the term “transparency,” and the goals of the unified effort it requires are often unclear or unmeasurable. Government officials in charge of OGP have expressed in meetings with CSOs frustration over the gap in expectations regarding past transparency efforts. For instance, is the proactive publication of any piece of data a worthy transparency effort, or would it be considered “data dumping”?

This commitment aims to create a common definition of transparency for all stakeholders involved in Israel’s OGP process (along with other transparency processes). This definition can create criteria against which the level of transparency of different agencies can be evaluated. A better understanding on behalf of agencies of these expectations may encourage the agencies to move forward more readily with the release of information, although this would be an indirect outcome of the commitment. In the short term, the commitment offers CSOs an opportunity to engage with the government in reaching an agreed-upon definition of transparency and its goals, which is relevant to civic participation in itself.

It is not difficult to verify activities carried out to implement this commitment and its outputs by reviewing written materials created through the process. The IRM researchers however do not assess its prospected impact as more than minor. This was also the view expressed by interviewed CSO representatives who spoke in the consultation that leading government officials in charge of the OGP in Israel held. [24] The commitment is mostly academic in nature, and the problem it seeks to solve is not significant enough to in fact impede progress in transparency and open government efforts. Hence the change expected to follow the full implementation of this commitment is minor.

Next steps

The IRM researchers recommend that once the definition is reached, government representatives involved in OGP carry out the suggested outcome of defining transparency and create measurable indicators to grade achievements of different agencies in the transparency field. In addition, this effort should be a one-time effort and not carried further to future action plans.

[23] Government OCT Authority, Open Government Action Plan for 2018 – 2019, pgs. 31-33 https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Israel_Action-Plan_2017-2019_EN.pdf
[24] These views were expressed by Tehilla Shwartz-Altshuler of the Israel Democracy Institute and Nirit Blayer of the Movement for Freedom of Information, both interviewed on Dec 5, 2018 in Tel-Aviv.

Commitments

  1. Civic Participation Processes in Government

    IL0023, 2017, Capacity Building

  2. Resolution Implementation Reports

    IL0024, 2017, E-Government

  3. Action Plan Performance Indicators

    IL0025, 2017, E-Government

  4. Government Call Centers

    IL0026, 2017, Marginalized Communities

  5. National Legislation Database

    IL0027, 2017, E-Government

  6. National Plan for the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    IL0028, 2017, Audits and Controls

  7. Transparency Criteria

    IL0029, 2017, Public Participation

  8. Publication of Information Legislative Amendments

    IL0030, 2017, Legislation & Regulation

  9. Transparency, Participation, Accessibility of Information in Local Authorities and Ministry of the Interior

    IL0031, 2017, E-Government

  10. Publicly Accessible Databases

    IL0032, 2017, E-Government

  11. Remotely Accessing Government Services

    IL0033, 2017, Capacity Building

  12. Paperless Government

    IL0034, 2017, E-Government

  13. Open-Source Code

    IL0035, 2017, E-Government

  14. Evaluation of Open Government Plan

    IL0036, 2017, OGP

  15. Contracting Between the Government and Private Sector

    IL0016, 2015, Open Contracting and Procurement

  16. Unified Website for Government Offices

    IL0017, 2015, Records Management

  17. Data.Gov

    IL0018, 2015, Open Data

  18. Public's Satisfaction with Government Services

    IL0019, 2015, Public Participation

  19. ATI on Legislation

    IL0020, 2015, Records Management

  20. Civic Participation Tools

    IL0021, 2015, E-Government

  21. Civic Participation

    IL0022, 2015, Public Participation

  22. Review of the Governmental Freedom of Information Unit's Authority

    IL0014, 2015, Capacity Building

  23. Web for FOI

    IL0015, 2015, Right to Information

  24. Establishing a Cross-Sector Forum That Promotes Open Government Programs

    IL0001, 2012, Public Participation

  25. State Budget Information Accessibility

    IL0002, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  26. Publication of Work Plans in Government Offices

    IL0003, 2012, E-Government

  27. Establishing a System of Measurement and Review and Publicizing a Government Service Report to the Public

    IL0004, 2012, Capacity Building

  28. Cooperation Between the Government and the Public in Developing Online Applications

    IL0005, 2012, Private Sector

  29. Public Participation in Policymaking Processes

    IL0006, 2012, Public Participation

  30. Establishing a Freedom of Information Unit in the Ministry of Justice

    IL0007, 2012, Judiciary

  31. Developing Technology Infrastructure for Providing Government Services

    IL0008, 2012, E-Government

  32. Inter-Office Committee for Improving Business Processes

    IL0009, 2012, E-Government

  33. Creating a Government Contact Center (NAMAL - Meeting Point for Citizens)

    IL0010, 2012, E-Government

  34. Online Catalog of Government Services

    IL0011, 2012, E-Government

  35. Establishing a Unit for Government Service to the Public

    IL0012, 2012, Public Service Delivery

  36. Establishing a National Information Technology (IT) Unit Headed by a Government CIO

    IL0013, 2012, E-Government