Publish Online Information About Revenues and Spending of National and Municipal Institutions (LT0017)
Action Plan: Lithuania National Action Plan 2016-2018
Action Plan Cycle: 2016
Lead Institution: NA
Support Institution(s): Information Society Development Committee under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Special Investigation Service, Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania
Policy AreasE-Government, Fiscal Openness, Legislation & Regulation, Publication of Budget/Fiscal Information
Main objective To publish regular information in the electronic media about the revenue and expenses of the State and municipal authorities and agencies in order to prevent conditions for corruption and corruption risks. Brief description of commitment The objective is to create legal basis, which will provide conditions for the provision of information and data electronically to citizens about the revenue and expenses of the State and municipal institutions and agencies, and fund recipients. Also, an information system to make public the revenue and expenses of the State and municipal institutions and agencies, and fund recipients, will be created and launched.
IRM Midterm Status Summary
The objective is to create legal basis, which will provide conditions for the provision of information and data electronically to citizens about the revenue and expenses of the State and municipal institutions and agencies, and fund recipients. Also, an information system to make public the revenue and expenses of the State and municipal institutions and agencies, and fund recipients, will be created and launched.
3.1. Legal acts regulating electronic provision of data and information on the revenue and expenses of the state and municipal institutions and agencies, and fund recipients, to the public have been drafted.
3.2. An information system to make public the revenue and expenses of the State and municipal institutions and agencies, and fund recipients, has been created and launched.
Responsible institution: Ministry of Finance
Supporting institutions: Information Society Development Committee under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Special Investigation Service, Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania
Start date: 1 July 2016
End date: 31 December 2018
Context and Objectives
Many Lithuanian citizens have expressed disappointment in the lack of publicly available information on revenues and spending at the local level. According to survey conducted by Transparency International Lithuania, 51 percent of respondents say that there is not enough information on the responsibilities of municipal governments, and 28 percent would like to have more detailed and easier-to-understand information about the revenues and expenses of their municipalities.[Note: Public Survey 'Lithuanian residents on local openness,' Transparency International Lithuania, 2014, https://goo.gl/1BQFws. ] This commitment seeks to address the above-mentioned lack of information on municipalities by creating a regularly updated e-platform for the revenues and expenses of state and municipal institutions to prevent corruption.
Rasa Kavolyte, the deputy director at the Ministry of Finance, said the demand to have a centralized portal is obvious, as people need to easily understand how the central and local budgets are spent.[Note: Rasa Kavolyte, Ministry of Finance, interview by the IRM researcher, 18 September 2017.] Paulius Murauskas from Transparency International Lithuania agreed with this position, but added that the Ministry of Finance needs to be more specific on what information will be available.[Note: Paulius Murauskas, Transparency International Lithuania, interview by the IRM researcher, 27 September 2017.] The commitment states that the revenues and expenses for municipalities will be published on a portal, but it does not mention how many municipalities and institutions will publish their information, nor does it specify the scope of the published information on revenues and expenses, only that the information will be 'regular.' It also does not provide a timeline for how frequently the information on the portal will be updated. Therefore, the specificity is low. The commitment addresses the general problem of corruption without specifying which corruption-related issues it seeks to reduce, or how citizens can report instances of corruption based on the information published in the portal. The potential impact of the commitment depends on the scope of opened data, which is not clear from the action plan, so the IRM researcher has marked it as minor. However, further developments of the commitments might lead to substantial increases in open government.
On 15 June 2017, the Ministry of Finance signed a contract with the European Social Fund Agency in Lithuania, which confirmed funding worth 580,000 EUR. The project was selected to develop the guidelines and the methodology needed to make accessible the revenues and spending on the national and municipal levels.[Note: European Union Investment in Lithuania, project 10.1.2-ESFA-V-916-01 confirmation, https://goo.gl/TBcm6d. ] To do this, the Ministry of Finance called for proposals and contracted Ernst & Young Baltic to provide these services, such as identifying the types of financial data to be available and the technical specifications for the online platform, using the most cost-effective approach.[Note: Contract with 'Ernst & Young Baltic', No. 14P-61, 16 August 2017, sent to the IRM researcher on 21 September 2017.]
To gather public comments on what data should be published in the portal, the Ministry of Finance organized a meeting with CSOs but invited only three organizations working in the field of open data. Rasa Kavolyte, the deputy director at the Ministry of Finance, admitted that the communication regarding this consultation was inadequate and did not engage all interested stakeholders.[Note: Rasa Kavolyte, Ministry of Finance, interview by IRM researcher, 18 September 2017.]
According to the action plan, the commitment must be fully implemented by 31 December 2018. As there is no timeline for interim activities, the IRM researcher cannot track the schedule of implementation in more detail.
Currently, there is no final vision for the type and scope of the information the Ministry of Finance aims to disclose. For example, the portal could include a list of all recipients of public funds at the national and municipal levels, or it might be limited to a general overview of public spending. For this reason, the IRM researcher recommends narrowing the scope of the commitment and clearly identifying the types of data that need to be opened. This would make the commitment easier to manage and better show the relation between the problem and possible solutions.
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