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Lithuania

Encouraging Public Participation (LT0009)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Lithuania, Second Action Plan for 2014-16

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of the Interior

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

E-Government, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery, Subnational

IRM Review

IRM Report: Lithuania End-of-Term Report 2014-2016

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

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

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

To ensure public consultations and facilitate public involvement in public governance processes. a. Legal regulation of public consultations has been improved –main consultation principles, terms and standards have been established. b. Proposals received and implemented through public consultations are made public, new technologies are employed for consultations. c. With a view to enhancing public involvement in public administration, information is provided, already at the school level and extending to other levels of the education system, about opportunities for accessing information held by the State, and public involvement in the processes of public governance (Ministry of Education and Science). d. To enable the public to express its opinion on the quality of provided services, efforts are made to ensure the greatest possible public involvement in the administration of institutions providing education, health, social security and public security services, thus enhancing the role of the councils in these institutions (Ministry of Education and Science). e. The Council of Non-governmental Organisations (and advisory institution) has been set up to ensure the participation of NGOs in establishing, shaping and implementing NGO development policy (Ministry of Social security and Labour).
2. To implement a measure promoting active involvement by local communities and individuals in decision-making as regards responding to public needs in the fields of local community relevance. a. In 2014 at least 90 per cent of the total activities approved by the decisions of the Local Community Council, involving all municipalities, have been implemented. b. Capacities of the people, community organisation managers and the most active community members to represent community interests in finding best solutions to the problems have been enhanced. Community selfgovernance increased. In order to evaluate the efficiency of communal participation in public administration processes, developments in their involvement in these processes have been observed, best practices of cooperation between public administration authorities and communities have been shared, and the effectiveness of decisions adopted together with the public has been analysed.
3. To develop and implement measures encouraging people and local communities to participate in local decision-making An informational-methodological publication has been developed for the representatives of local communities (seniūnaičiai), which provides information about the rights of the people and the possibilities of participating in local decision making, other information of local relevance (e.g. safe neighbourhood, emergency telephone number 112 etc); relevant legal information is provided in a simple, reader-friendly form. All the representatives of local communities (seniūnaičiai) will receive necessary information in the manner acceptable to them. The results of the monitoring of popular surveys will be made public.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 3. Public Participation

Commitment Text:

Initiative 2: Public participation in public governance

Area: to encourage public administration authorities to have consultations with people

Actions:

  1. To ensure public consultations and facilitate public involvement in public governance processes.
    1. Legal regulation of public consultations has been improved –main consultation principles, terms and standards have been established.
    2. Proposals received and implemented through public consultations are made public, new technologies are employed for consultations.
    3. With a view to enhancing public involvement in public administration, information is provided, already at the school level and extending to other levels of the education system, about opportunities for accessing information held by the State, and public involvement in the processes of public governance (Ministry of Education and Science).
    4. To enable the public to express its opinion on the quality of provided services, efforts are made to ensure the greatest possible public involvement in the administration of institutions providing education, health, social security and public security services, thus enhancing the role of the councils in these institutions (Ministry of Education and Science).
    5. The Council of Non-governmental Organisations (and advisory institution) has been set up to ensure the participation of NGOs in establishing, shaping and implementing NGO development policy (Ministry of Social security and Labour).

Responsible institution: Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Social Security and Labour

Supporting institutions: Not specified

Start date: 2014...............   End date: 2016

  1. To implement a measure promoting active involvement by local communities and individuals in decision-making as regards responding to public needs in the fields of local community relevance.

a.     In 2014 at least 90 per cent of the total activities approved by the decisions of the Local Community Council, involving all municipalities, have been implemented.

b.     Capacities of the people, community organisation managers and the most active community members to represent community interests in finding best solutions to the problems have been enhanced. Community self-governance increased. In order to evaluate the efficiency of communal participation in public administration processes, developments in their involvement in these processes have been observed, best practices of cooperation between public administration authorities and communities have been shared, and the effectiveness of decisions adopted together with the public has been analysed.

Responsible institution: Ministry of Social Security and Labour

Supporting institutions: Not specified

Start date: not specified.........   End date: 2015

  1. To develop and implement measures encouraging people and local communities to  participate in local decision-making

An informational-methodological publication has been developed for the representatives of local communities (seniūnaičiai), which provides information about the rights of the people and the possibilities of participating in local decision making, other information of local relevance (e.g. safe neighbourhood, emergency telephone number 112 etc); relevant legal information is provided in a simple, reader-friendly form. All the representatives of local communities (seniūnaičiai) will receive necessary information in the manner acceptable to them. The results of the monitoring of popular surveys will be made public.

Responsible institution: Ministry of the Interior

Supporting institutions: Not specified

Start date: 2014.....................   ...................... End date: 2016

[emphasis added]

 

Commitment aim:

The commitment contains three deliverables that all contribute to the engagement of community members in public governance and decision making. Each milestone addresses key stakeholders: public institutions; local community representatives, including community managers and leaders; and communities themselves. 

Levels of civic participation and empowerment remain low. The IRM researcher identified a number of indicators attesting to the level of public participation in consultations in the beginning of the action plan period: (1) only five percent of Lithuanians participated in any type of municipal public consultation in 2014[Note 9: Transparency International Lithuania survey can be found here: http://bit.ly/1PPIZFu.] and almost 80 percent of respondents reported an unwillingness to participate in public consultations at all;[Note 10: Transparency International Lithuania survey can be found here: http://bit.ly/1SOtVYT.] (2) levels of public trust in public institutions remain low (only 41 percent of Lithuanians trusted public institutions in 2013[Note 11: The document can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/2f1veEG.

]); and (3) 64 percent of residents did not receive any type of information concerning public issues in their municipalities and Seniūnijos (smallest administrative unit in Lithuania).[Note 12: The document can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/2eXgw3t. ]

 
Status

Midterm: Substantial

According to the midterm report, all three milestones were ongoing and in varying stages of completion, although two of them were substantially completed. While the government took steps to reform the legal environment and initiated internet tools for holding public consultations, only eight of fourteen ministries had integrated http://www.lrt.lt as a platform for consultations. For this reason, the IRM researcher did not grant full completion status to this milestone. 

Regarding the milestone to promote active involvement by local communities, no public records indicated an increased level of self-governance, and the commitment language did not provide any information on how these changes were going to be observed and monitored. However, 90 percent of the total activities approved by the decisions of the local community councils (see midterm report) were implemented, which shows that the newly established councils functioned. The action to enhance capacity of stakeholders to represent community interest remained unfulfilled.

The government published booklets for local community representatives, which supported the milestone encouraging participation in local decision making. However, the government fell short in making public the results of popular surveys.

For a detailed analysis of the commitment, refer to midterm report.

End of term: Substantial

Although the government made progress in implementing some of the commitment’s milestones, some milestones remained unfulfilled. Therefore, the overall completion level remains substantial.

Since the midterm report, research did not reveal any visible outputs that would advance public consultations, youth engagement into public policy formation, or citizen engagement in the administration of public institutions. It is worth noting that in July the government announced the public procurement tender notice[Note 13: The tender notice can be found here: https://lrvk.lrv.lt/uploads/lrvk/documents/files/advertisement-119369.pdf.] for improving the public consultation mechanism in Lithuania, indicating that it needed external expert help in identifying key challenges and developing mechanisms that would involve more citizens in public governance. This step was welcomed by a representative of Transparency International Lithuania as a notable development in the field, which, according to the representative, generally did not see much improvement throughout 2016.[Note 14: Interview with Rugilė Trumpytė, Transparency International Lithuania, 30 November 2016.] An additional activity took place that completes the milestone to promote active involvement by local communities. Notably, the Ministry of Social Security and Labour posted the analysis of its local community council programme online, and it had an overall positive evaluation.[Note 15: The evaluation can be found here: http://www.socmin.lt/lt/nevyriausybiniu-organizaciju-sektorius/igyvendintos-programos.html.]

The IRM researcher found the milestone on local community participation in decision making to be complete. The Ministry of the Interior published results of three popular surveys.[Note 16: Surveys can be found here: https://epilietis.lrv.lt/lt/konsultacijos-su-visuomene/apklausos.] Although the contact point within the ministry did not provide information about the total number of surveys conducted, the IRM researcher found the action fulfilled the milestone that surveys “will be made public.”

Did it open government?

Access to information: Marginal

Civic participation: Marginal

The fact that the government published the analysis of its local community council programme does marginally contribute to an increased amount of information made available to the public.  However, none of the initiatives under this commitment resulted in substantial improvement to access to information.

This commitment did not result in substantial change over the number of consultations held online. For example, the number of public consultations held at the newly developed http://www.lrv.lt platform increased only slightly since mid-2015, with seven public consultations held and with 10 reactions received from the public (compared to five consultations and one contribution reported in the midterm report).[Note 17: Public consultations conducted can be found at https://epilietis.lrv.lt/lt/konsultacijos/.] An interviewed representative[Note 18: Rūta Mrazauskaitė, Transparency International Lithuanian Chapter.] of one of the leading public policy NGOs in Lithuania remarked that the public consultation model in Lithuania is largely nonfunctional. Efforts of both national and municipal institutions to involve local communities in decision making remain fragmented and scarce. Additionally, institutions are not mandated to conduct public consultations, and when they do there are no rules governing the format of those consultations. In addition, levels of civic empowerment in Lithuania remain low (according to the Civil Society Institute, the index amounts to 33.4 points out of possible 100[Note 19: The survey can be downloaded here: http://www.civitas.lt/time-line/pilietines-galios-indeksas-2015-m/.]).[Note 20: Ibid.]

While the number of public consultations held remains low, the government is investing time and resources to develop the new consultation platform and is undertaking legal reforms, which indicates that the issue of public involvement is on the government’s agenda.

Carried forward?

The third national action plan (2016–2018) contains a broad commitment to increase civic participation and engagement in public governance with four milestones, including developing a public consultation mechanism, introducing OGP values, fostering an open public governance culture in the public sector, and creating an NGO database and an NGO fund.


Commitments

  1. Open Data

    LT0024, 2018, E-Government

  2. NGO Database, NGO Fund

    LT0025, 2018, Civic Space

  3. Publish Fiscal Information

    LT0026, 2018, E-Government

  4. Public Services by NGOs

    LT0027, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. Monitoring and Evlauation for Public Participation

    LT0028, 2018, Public Participation

  6. Legislative Process Evaluation

    LT0029, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Build Open Data Portal, and Integrate Into the European Single Digital Market.

    LT0015, 2016, Capacity Building

  8. Publicize Information About Government Activities and Civic Participation in Governance.

    LT0016, 2016, Capacity Building

  9. Publish Online Information About Revenues and Spending of National and Municipal Institutions

    LT0017, 2016, E-Government

  10. Create and Broadcast Social Advertisements That Target Corruption in the Healthcare System

    LT0018, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  11. Create Legal, Organizational and Technical Tools to Easily Access Detailed Information About Election and Voting Procedures

    LT0019, 2016, E-Government

  12. Create Public Consultation Mechanism

    LT0020, 2016, Capacity Building

  13. Foster Open Public Governance Culture in Public Sector

    LT0021, 2016, Capacity Building

  14. Creation of NGO Database.

    LT0022, 2016, Civic Space

  15. Creation of NGO Fund.

    LT0023, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. Public Service Quality Improvements

    LT0007, 2014, Capacity Building

  17. Developing and Promoting E-Services

    LT0008, 2014, E-Government

  18. Encouraging Public Participation

    LT0009, 2014, E-Government

  19. Raising Civic Awareness

    LT0010, 2014, Education

  20. National Civil Society Fund Model Development

    LT0011, 2014, Civic Space

  21. Accessibility of Public Information

    LT0012, 2014, E-Government

  22. Public Decision-Making Transparency

    LT0013, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  23. Promoting Anti-Corruption Education

    LT0014, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  24. Increase of the Accessibility of the Information Held by Public Administration Authorities.

    LT0001, 2012, Records Management

  25. Centralised Publishing of Information on Government Activities

    LT0002, 2012, Records Management

  26. More Extensive Public Consultations

    LT0003, 2012, Public Participation

  27. Promotion of Public Participation in Public Administration Processes

    LT0004, 2012, Legislature

  28. Increasing the Accessibility of Services Provided to the Public.

    LT0005, 2012, E-Government

  29. Promotion of Public Participation in the Process for the Improvement of Service Provision

    LT0006, 2012, Public Participation