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Romania

Standardize Public Consultation Practices (RO0048)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Romania Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: The Secretariat General of the Government (SGG) - Directorate for Open Government and Civil Society

Support Institution(s): Ministries CSOs, private sector, multilaterals Non-governmental organizations experienced in the field

Policy Areas

E-Government, Legislation & Regulation, Legislative, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery, Social Accountability Measures & Feedback Loops

IRM Review

IRM Report: Pending IRM Review

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Standardization of practices on public consultation processes
Lead implementing agency/actor The Secretariat General of the Government (SGG) - Directorate for Open Government and Civil Society
Other actors involved State actors Ministries CSOs, private sector, multilaterals Non-governmental organizations experienced in the field
What is the public problem that the commitment will address?
Analyses of the current situation highlight a number of issues in the public authorities' work practices to ensure a participatory / representative decisionmaking process in the implementation of the framework law on public consultation (Law no.52/2003), namely issues related to: lack of standardization of practices, insufficient capitalization and non-standardized public communication on the recommendations received from the civil society
Commitment description
What is the commitment? With a view to fostering a culture of transparency and public consultation in the public administration and improving the public perception on the legitimacy of the decision-making process, the SGG will propose the improvement of the legal framework in the field by developing implementing rules leading to more efficient mechanisms of decisional transparency, as provided by Law no. 52/2003.
How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?
- standardizing the interpretation and application of the law in the practice of public consultation processes; - expanding the capacity to harness the recommendations received during the consultation process, the cornerstone of the collaboration between public administration and the community; - increasing the general level of information for
citizens; - improving public services delivery.
Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?
Standardization of opening the processes of substantiating the decisions taken by the Romanian public administration to the interested parties will contribute to the improvement of the quality of the normative acts and to the optimization of their implementation processes, as well as to the accountability of the public authorities, while increasing the public decision’s degree of integrity
Milestone activity with a verifiable deliverable
Monitoring the public consultation processes of all ministries - as a relevant target group for public authorities (as main issuers of draft normative acts with a general impact at national level): filling questionnaires for statistical data at the level of all ministries + 1 meeting
SGG/Ministries 2018 2018
Identifying the most serious malfunctions in the public consultation process: online questionnaire addressed to civil society on each ministry's website for 30 days + 1 meeting with the non-governmental sector.
SGG/Ministries/NGOs January 2019 March 2019
Establishing additional functionalities of the e-consultation platform through interaction between public authorities and the non-governmental sector: 1 meeting with representatives of ministries and 1 with non-governmental organizations
SGG/Ministries/NGOs January 2019 June 2019
Elaboration of the implementing rules for increasing the efficiency of the decisionmaking mechanisms provided by the Law no. 52/2003.
SGG/Ministries/NGOs 2020
Correlation with other government programs/strategies National Anticorruption Strategy 2016-2020, Strategy for Strengthening Public Administration

IRM Midterm Status Summary

1. Standardization of practices on public consultation processes

Commitment Text: "With a view to fostering a culture of transparency and public consultation in the public administration and improving the public perception on the legitimacy of the decision-making process, the SGG will propose the improvement of the legal framework in the field by developing implementing rules leading to more efficient mechanisms of decisional transparency, as provided by Law no. 52/2003."

Milestones:

  • Monitoring the public consultation processes of all ministries - as a relevant target group for public authorities (as main issuers of draft normative acts with a general impact at national level): filling questionnaires for statistical data at the level of all ministries + 1 meeting
  • Identifying the most serious malfunctions in the public consultation process: online questionnaire addressed to civil society on each ministry’s website for 30 days + 1 meeting with the non-governmental sector.
  • Establishing additional functionalities of the e-consultation platform through interaction between public authorities and the non-governmental sector: 1 meeting with representatives of ministries and 1 with non-governmental organizations
  • Elaboration of the implementing rules for increasing the efficiency of the decision-making mechanisms provided by the Law no. 52/2003.

Start Date: 2018 ...............................................

End Date: 2020

Editorial Note: The commitment text is abridged. The full text can be found in the OGP 2018-2020 national action plan.

Context and Objectives

This commitment is a continuation of Commitments 5 and 6 of Romania’s third action plan (2016-2018). [1] While the transparency of the decision-making process in public administration is ensured by law 52/2003, [2] academic research, [3] monitoring reports, [4] and interviews with civil society representatives, [5] all reveal that this law is insufficiently and not-uniformly applied. According to the representative of the Secretariat General of the Government (SGG), while the public administration implements much of the feedback it receives, they do not communicate how and why that feedback was used or not. [6] This lack of communication can create the impression that the public is not heard and inhibit civic participation.

Therefore, this commitment aims to (1) standardize the interpretation and the application of law 52/2003, (2) enhance the ability of public administrations to validate feedback, (3) increase citizen awareness on transparent decision-making laws and practices, and (4) improve the delivery of public services. The first objective responds to the recommendation of the earlier IRM Progress Report for the 2016-2018 action plan and addresses the problem of inefficient application of the transparent decision-making law. [7] The second and third objectives address the communication problems between the public administration and feedback-giving citizens.

This commitment is specific enough to be verifiable. The SGG representative provided the IRM researcher with a list of meetings and dates that correspond to the detailed milestones in the commitment text. [8] The representative also argued for the training of public servants to better communicate how they consider the feedback they receive could increase the level of information and satisfaction of the general public and further encourage civic participation. [9] According to the SGG representative, the SGG aims to expand the e-consultare.gov.ro platform to (1) allow the institution that initiates the normative act to directly manage the public consultation process on the platform, (2) make feedback and answers visible to all, (3) automatically synchronize the websites of the institutions that initiate normative acts with the platform, and (4) generate qualitative and quantitative statistics on feedback received and answered to. The commitment is therefore relevant to civic participation.

If implemented as written, the commitment could transform the public consultation process. While a new round of crowdsourcing feedback is unlikely to produce new insights for SGG, ensuring that feedback and communication over feedback dismissal or valorization is made visible to takes place within the platform, in a transparent manner, could significantly lower the barriers to, and increase the quality of civic participation. This aspect of public accountability is viewed by the SGG representative views that this accountability component is a major gain for ensuring meaningful consultations and collaborations between civil society and public administration. [10] The issuance of application norms could also reduce the possibility that public authorities do not apply the law uniformly. As suggested by the SGG representative, training of public officials, a central repository of public consultation practices where they can instantly compare their performance to their peers (the e-consultare.gov.ro platform), and norms of application are more effective tools than sanctioning noncompliance, at this stage. [11]

Next steps

This commitment is important considering the low levels of communication between civil society and public administration. The following recommendations can help guide the implementation of this commitment:

Ensure the platform’s traction and its institutional memory.

  • SGG could create a permanent institutional memory of proposed improvements to the e-consultare.gov.ro platform with reasons for why they are not being implemented or the timeline according to which they will be implemented, in an open repository. To this end, SGG could consult with the Ministry of Transport to find synergies with their Register of Proposals.
  • SGG could make sure the e-consultare.gov.ro platform will be used by both public administration and civil society. To this end, SGG may refer to the e-consultare.gov.ro platform in the implementation norms of law 52/2003.

Ensure sufficient budget for the platform’s development.

  • The government could allocate enough budget for the timely implementation of the additional functionalities of the e-consultare.gov.ro According to the SGG representative, its IT department will analyze the proposals and create an action plan for those that fit the time and budget that SGG can allocate. [12]

Consult on the draft implementation norms.

  • Although not explicitly included in the action plan text, according to its representative, SGG will propose the draft for the implementation norms for law 52/2003. The norms will incorporate the feedback received from civil society and from public authorities and will be subject to public consultation. [13] This is a good approach that could be implemented.

[1] The government experimented with a pilot website consultare.gov.ro, where legislative projects of public institutions were collected and made available to the public in a centralized and uniform manner. Despite its popularity, due to a lack of technical and physical resources, this pilot was stopped in April 2018, allowing the Government to redesign and rebuild it. See "IRM Romania End-of-Term Report 2016-2018", OPG, pp. 23-28, https://bit.ly/36loycR.

[2] The text of law 52/2003 on decisional transparency in public administration is available [in Romanian] at https://goo.gl/m3Qwqe.

[3] Academia de Advocacy (2015) M-am decissămăimplic", available [in Romanian] at https://goo.gl/HmvsWc.

[4] Interview with Madalina Mitroi, General Secretariat of the Government (SGG), 17 April 2019.

[5] Interview with Marian Damoc, Romanian Youth Movement for Democracy, 8 November 2018.

[6] Interview with Madalina Mitroi, SGG, 17 April 2019.

[7] "IRM Romania Progress Report 2016-2017", OGP, pg. 55, available at https://goo.gl/AHqzEe.

[8] Interview with Madalina Mitroi, SGG, 30 August 2019.

[9] Interview with Madalina Mitroi, SGG, 17 April 2019.

[10] Interview with Madalina Mitroi, SGG, 17 April 2019.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Interview with Madalina Mitroi, SGG, 30 August 2019.

[13] Interview with Madalina Mitroi, SGG, 17 April 2019.


Commitments

  1. Standardize Public Consultation Practices

    RO0048, 2018, E-Government

  2. Open Local Government

    RO0049, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Citizen Budgets

    RO0050, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Youth Participation

    RO0051, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. Register of Civil Society Proposals

    RO0052, 2018, E-Government

  6. Access to Information – Local

    RO0053, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Online Business Sector Information

    RO0054, 2018, Capacity Building

  8. Digital Consular Services

    RO0055, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Transparency in the Funding of Political Parties

    RO0056, 2018, Access to Information

  10. National Investment Fund Transparency

    RO0057, 2018, Access to Information

  11. Civil Servant Training

    RO0058, 2018, Capacity Building

  12. Raise Awareness About Corruption

    RO0059, 2018, Capacity Building

  13. Transparency of Seized Assets

    RO0060, 2018, Access to Information

  14. Access to Social Services

    RO0061, 2018, E-Government

  15. Open Access to Research

    RO0062, 2018, Access to Information

  16. Open Education

    RO0063, 2018, Access to Information

  17. Evaluate Open Data

    RO0064, 2018, Access to Information

  18. Open Data

    RO0065, 2018, Access to Information

  19. Improving the Legal Framework and Practices Regarding Access to Public Interest Information

    RO0030, 2016, Access to Information

  20. Centralized Publishing of Public Interest Information on the Single Gateway Transparenta.Gov.Ro

    RO0031, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Promoting Open Parliament Principles

    RO0032, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. Starred commitment Improved Management of the Applications Submitted for Granting Citizenship

    RO0033, 2016, Capacity Building

  23. Standardization of Transparency Practices in the Decision-Making Procedures

    RO0034, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Centralised Publication of Legislative Projects on the Single Gateway Consultare.Gov.Ro

    RO0035, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Citizens Budgets

    RO0036, 2016, Capacity Building

  26. Improve Youth Consultation and Public Participation

    RO0037, 2016, Capacity Building

  27. Subnational Open Government

    RO0038, 2016, Capacity Building

  28. Promoting Transparency in the Decision-Making Process By Setting Up a Transparency Register (RUTI)

    RO0039, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  29. Access to Performance Indicators Monitored in the Implementation of the National Anticorruption Strategy (SNA)

    RO0040, 2016, Access to Information

  30. Improve Transparency in the Management of Seized Assets

    RO0041, 2016, Access to Information

  31. Annual Mandatory Training of Civil Servants on Integrity Matters

    RO0042, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  32. Improving Access to Cultural Heritage

    RO0043, 2016, Capacity Building

  33. Open Data and Transparency in Education

    RO0044, 2016, Access to Information

  34. Virtual School Library and Open Educational Resources

    RO0045, 2016, Capacity Building

  35. Open Contracting

    RO0046, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  36. Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Published Open Data

    RO0047, 2016, Access to Information

  37. Publishing the Public Interest Information on a Single Government Portal: Transparenta.Gov.Ro

    RO0019, 2014, Access to Information

  38. Making an Inventory of the Datasets Produced by the Ministries and Subordinate Agencies

    RO0020, 2014, Access to Information

  39. Starred commitment Ensuring the Free Online Access to National Legislation

    RO0021, 2014, E-Government

  40. Amending Law 109/2007 on the Re-Use of Public Sector Information

    RO0022, 2014, Access to Information

  41. Opening Data Collected from the National Health System

    RO0023, 2014, Access to Information

  42. Opening Data Collected from the Monitoring of Preventive Measures as Part of the National Anticorruption Strategy 2012-2015

    RO0024, 2014, Access to Information

  43. Open Contracting

    RO0025, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  44. Opening up Data Resulted from Publicly-Funded Research Projects

    RO0026, 2014, E-Government

  45. Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Published Open Data

    RO0027, 2014, Access to Information

  46. Human Resource Training in the Field of Open Data

    RO0028, 2014, Access to Information

  47. Disseminating Information on the OGP Principles and Promoting the Open Data Concept in an Accessible Manner

    RO0029, 2014,

  48. Designating a Person Responsible for Publishing Open Data in Each Public Institution

    RO0001, 2012, Access to Information

  49. Identifying Regulatory Needs, Logistical and Technical Solutions

    RO0002, 2012, Access to Information

  50. Making an Inventory of Available (High-Value) Data-Sets

    RO0003, 2012, Access to Information

  51. Priority Publishing on the Web Pages of Public Institutions of Specific Data-Sets

    RO0004, 2012, Access to Information

  52. Initiating Pilot-Projects, in Partnerships

    RO0005, 2012, Access to Information

  53. Organizing Public Debates on the Utility of Open Data, in Partnerships

    RO0006, 2012, Access to Information

  54. Uniform, Machine-Readable Publishing Format for Open Data

    RO0007, 2012, Access to Information

  55. Procedures for Publication of Data-Sets Based on Civil Society Recommendations

    RO0008, 2012, Access to Information

  56. Procedures for Citizen Complaints Pertaining to Open Data

    RO0009, 2012, Access to Information

  57. Consultation Mechanism Between Suppliers and Beneficiaries of Open Data

    RO0010, 2012, Access to Information

  58. Creating a Rating System for the Assessment of High-Value Data-Sets

    RO0011, 2012, Access to Information

  59. Routinely Publishing Specific Data-Sets on Web Pages of Public Institutions

    RO0012, 2012, Access to Information

  60. Integrating Open Data from Public Institutions in a Single National Platform

    RO0013, 2012, Access to Information

  61. Inventories of Data, in Order to Facilitate Public Access

    RO0014, 2012, Access to Information

  62. Institute a Monitoring Mechanism of Compliance for Open Data

    RO0015, 2012, Access to Information

  63. Stimulating the Market for Innovative Use of Open Data

    RO0016, 2012, Access to Information

  64. Routinely Publishing Data-Sets on the National Platform, 25% High-Value

    RO0017, 2012, Access to Information

  65. The Public Procurement Electronic System (SEAP). the Electronic Allocation System for Transports (SAET)/B.1 C) Expanding the On-Line Submission of Fiscal Forms. Ensuring the Free On-Line Access to National Legislation. Developing Electronic Tools to Manage Subpoenas and Facilitate Access Toinformation Regarding Legal Proceedings. Developing Electronic Tools to Manage the Procedures Related to Obtaining the Romanian Citizenship. Developing Electronic Tools to Manage the Procedures Related to the Creation of Non-Profit Legal Persons. the Integrated System for Electronic Access to Justice (SIIAEJ)

    RO0018, 2012, Access to Justice

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