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Romania

Citizen Budgets (RO0050)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Romania Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Public Finance (MFP), Office for Public Information, Public Relations and Transparency

Support Institution(s): Ministry for Regional Development and Public Administration (MDRAP), Centre for Public Innovation Funky Citizens

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Fiscal Openness, Legislation & Regulation, Legislative, Publication of Budget/Fiscal Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Pending IRM Review

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Citizens Budgets
2018 - 2019 Lead implementing agency/actor Ministry of Public Finance (MFP), Office for Public Information, Public Relations and Transparency Other actors involved State actors Ministry for Regional Development and Public Administration (MDRAP) CSOs, private sector, multilaterals Centre for Public Innovation Funky Citizens What is the public problem that the commitment will address? The draft budget is publicly presented for debate, but the format of the document is very difficult to understand for the general public, even for citizens with a high level of education that are not experts in the field. Commitment description What is the commitment? The commitment aims to gradually introduce, for the central and local government, the mandatory budgets for citizens, a narrative form of public budgets. How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem? Effective management of public resources Improving public services Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values? Introducing Citizens' Budgets as an information tool in the process of adopting public budgets Milestone activity with a verifiable deliverable Responsible agency / partner Start Date: End Date: Preparing a Budget for Citizens from the state budget for the year 2019 and presenting it during the consultation period MFP September 2018 December 2018 Making and presenting the BPC for the 2019 budget MFP December 2018 February 2019 Drafting and adopting rules that introduce BpC's obligation for all public authorities MFP / MDRAP TBD TBD Preparing, initiating and implementing a support program regarding the use of BpC for public authorities MFP / MDRAP TBD TBD

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. Citizens Budgets

Commitment Text: "The commitment aims to gradually introduce, for the central and local government, the mandatory budgets for citizens, a narrative form of public budgets."

Milestones:

    • Preparing a Budget for Citizens from the state budget for the year 2019 and presenting it during the consultation period
    • Making and presenting the Citizens’ Budget for the 2019 budget
    • Drafting and adopting rules that introduce the Citizens’ Budget obligation for all public authorities
    • Preparing, initiating and implementing a support program regarding the use of the Citizens’ Budget for public authorities

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

End Date: To be determined

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

Context and Objectives

The International Budget Partnership’s (IBP)’s 2017 Open Budget Survey revealed that Romania scored highly on fiscal transparency, yet poorly on citizen engagement. For instance, Romania published all the essential budgetary documents except the Citizens’ Budget [25]—a less technical version of the proposed or approved budget created to give the broad public essential information. Few citizens comment on the published draft state budget, although they are legally permitted to do so, [26] which according to a civil society representative is because they do not have any infographics or narrative to help them understand the proposed expenditures or the choices to be made for the budget. [27] In 2017, a visualization was compiled for the 2018 approved state budget, based on the data published by the Ministry of Public Finances (MFP), by a Romanian NGO—Open Budget [28]—which also created an interactive application to visualize and modify the 2018 and 2019 [29] approved state budgets. Their user-friendly explanation constitutes a possible form of a Citizens’ Budget.

With this commitment, MFP will further give access to budgetary information by publishing on its website [30] another user-friendly explanation of the 2019 approved and rectified state budget in the autumn of 2019. This will resemble the 2018 Citizens’ Budget brochure that the MFP published, [31] following IBP’s best practice model. [32] More importantly, MFP will prepare and submit for public consultation a Citizens’ Budget for the 2019 draft state budget, thereby furthering citizen participation.

There are some early signals that implementation of this commitment will have challenges. According to the MFP representative, despite Milestone 3.3, MFP does not have the instruments or the resources to oblige other institutions of the public administrations to present their budgets in a user-friendly way. [33] An interviewed Ministry for Regional Development and Public Administration (MDRAP) representative stated that MDRAP’s role is to support the MFP’s initiatives to build the Citizens’ Budgets for public administration. [34] It remains unclear which rules are required, who will design them, and whether this milestone will be continued in the absence of direct intervention from the government. Thus, it remains unclear who will take responsibility for this milestone and in which form.

Nevertheless, if MFP and MDRAP could (as written in the commitment) collaborate and produce explanatory brochures at the level of public administration and support efforts of the public administration to showcase their prospective and realized budgetary decisions via user-friendly infographics, this commitment could improve budgetary participation in Romania. According to a civil society representative, citizens’ budgets are particularly relevant for participatory budgeting, as they give citizens a better understanding of how the decisions to spend the state budget were made. [35] Nevertheless, it is important to note that Citizens’ Budget brochures that are published after the budget has been approved and rectified do not further budgetary participation (though they do offer additional information on the budgetary choices that have been made).

Next steps

This commitment addresses an important policy area, considering the limited citizen engagement in budgetary decisions in Romania. The following recommendations can help guide its implementation as well as its possible continuation in the next action plan:

Publish more explanatory brochures for the 2020 budget.

  • The MFP has not been able to publish an explanatory brochure for citizens next to the draft state budget of 2019. [36] Although this opportunity was missed in 2019, an explanatory brochure could still encourage budgetary participation if it would accompany the 2020 draft budget, ideally at the end of the 2019 calendar year.
  • More importantly, MFP could publish an explanatory brochure to accompany the adopted budget at the beginning of the 2020 calendar year, and another to accompany the revised budget in the second half of the 2020 calendar year.

Have more conversations on the topic of budgetary participation.

  • Civil society has been critical towards the current budgetary participation practices and originally proposed this commitment. MFP could actively involve them in improving the practice of budgetary participation by:
  • organizing a series of discussions or working groups on the explanatory brochures and analyze the 2018 and 2019 published brochures (e.g., assess their usefulness, ways to improve their content, narrative, and/or design; assess their visibility and find ways to promote them among the wider public);
  • organizing a series of discussions or working groups on the practice of budgetary participation to find the best practices and see under which circumstances they could be implemented.
  • MFP could raise public awareness of the concept of budgetary participation and the role and responsibility of the citizen. This can be done via trainings—e.g., school lectures, university seminars, online masterclasses, brochures, etc. Civil society could be involved as facilitators or content creators. [37]

Pilot budgetary participation on smaller samples.

The government could set up an inter-ministerial working group (with experts from MFP and MDRAP) to:

  • Identify the (local) public administrations that would be interested in the topic of and implementation of budgetary participation and select the most suitable administrations. For example, the survey MDRAP conducted among local public administrations (see Commitment 2) revealed that budgetary participation was desired by many local public administrations.
  • Design a protocol for budgetary participation for the institutions piloting it,
  • Secure the technical and financial support for piloting budgetary participation at the level of these administrations,
  • Evaluate the pilot and disseminate the knowledge.

[25] Open Budget Survey 2017 Romania, IBP, available at https://bit.ly/1hHEpcL.

[26]Interview with Bogdan Grunevici, Ministry of Public Finances (MFP), 19 September 2019.

[27] Interview with Ovidiu Voicu, Center for Public Innovation (CPI), 16 April 2019.

[28] Funky Citizens (2018) "Romania Open Budget Survey 2017: summary", available [in Romanian] at https://bit.ly/2ZMl0xJ.

[29] Open Budget 2019 application, available [in Romanian] at https://bit.ly/31JSDlj.

[30] "State budget", Ministry of Public Finances, available [in Romanian] at http://bit.ly/2kJEIeE.

[31] Ministerul Finantelor Publice (2018) "Bugetul pentru Cetateni", available [in Romanian] at http://bit.ly/2mpVsb9.

[32]Interview with Bogdan Grunevici, MFP, 19 September 2019.

[33]Interview with Bogdan Grunevici, MFP, 19 September 2019.

[34] Interview with Andreea Grigore, Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration (MDRAP), 4 September 2019.

[35] Interview with Ovidiu Voicu, CPI, 16 April 2019.

[36]Interview with Bogdan Grunevici, MFP, 19 September 2019.

[37] An interesting exercise in Budgetary Participation is proposed by CPI. See "Bugetare Participativa la Scoala", Centrul pentru Inovare Publica, available [in Romanian] at http://bit.ly/2kX9wZl.


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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