Transparent Financing of Civil Society Organizations (RS0004)
Action Plan: Serbia First Action Plan 2014-2015
Action Plan Cycle: 2014
Lead Institution: Office for Cooperation with Civil Society, Ministry of public administration
Support Institution(s): Civil Society Organizations
Policy AreasCivic Space, Fiscal Transparency, Freedom of Association, Subnational
In relation to current state, it is neccesary to provide regular reporting on funds allocated by state administration authorities, autonomus province authorities, and local-self government units, to civil society organizations, and to strengthen the system of fiscal accountability and public information on appropriateness of budget funds allocations for financing programs of public interest. In that regard the Guide for transparent funding of associations and other civil society organizations from the local self-government budget was developed, which aims to inform local self-government on procedures, documentation required for implementation of open competition, and good practice of some local self-government units regarding transparent financing of civil society organizations. Establishing a reporting system for the allocation and use of budget funds for support programs of public interest improves the accountability of the state administration, autonomous province, and local-self government authorities, as well as accountability of civil society organizations, as beneficiaries of budget funds.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
Commitment 4. Transparent financing of civil society organizations
1. Preparation of annual summary reports on the expenditure of funds to support programs and projects activities, provided and granted to associations and other civil society organizations from the public funds of the Republic of Serbia in 2013, and 2014.
a. Annual summary reports on expenditure of funds for 2013 and 2014 prepared, submitted to Government, adopted, published, and presented to public;
2. Introducing obligation to publishing public tenders, evaluation and ranking lists of programs, decisions on selection of programs, etc, on the e-Government Portal, as well as extension of the deadline for publication of ranking and evaluation lists to at least 5 days, in the process of allocation of budgetary resources for financing programs of public interest realized by associations.
a. Preparation and adoption of the Draft Regulation on Amendments to the Regulation;
3. Strengthening the capacities of state administration authorities in the areas of cooperation and transparent funding of civil society from budget funds
a. Organizing training for civil servants on the implementation of the Guidelines for
the inclusion of civil society organizations
b. Development of the Second Revised Edition of the Guide through a transparent
funding of CSOs from the budgets of local self-governments.
Responsible Institution(s): Office for Cooperation with Civil Society; Ministry of Public Administration
Supporting Institution(s): CSOs
Start Date: Quarter I 2015 End Date: Quarter IV 2015
This commitment aimed at increasing the transparency of public funding for CSOs through the publication of expenditure reports, open calls, public tenders, evaluation and ranking lists, as well as other relevant documents on the e-government portal. In addition, the commitment provides training to civil servants on how to cooperate with CSOs and on how to ensure that funding is transparent.
During the first year of implementation of the action plan, this commitment had limited completion. The preparation of annual summary reports on the expenditure of funds to support programs and projects activities lagged behind the set timeline. Moreover, there was no evidence of the summary reports on expenditure being available online at the time of writing the IRM progress report. Obligatory publishing on e-government portal was unclear, and there were no indications that implementation had begun in the first year of the action plan cycle. Lastly, while the capacity-building trainings were conducted as a part of the third commitment, the Guide for Transparent Financing was prepared only for internal use and was not formally adopted or published.
End of term: Substantial
Since the midterm report, the IRM researchers found that some progress was made on the three activities described in the commitment. Regarding the reports on annual expenditures, only the report for 2013 was published in October 2015.[Note 14: Republic of Serbia, “Consolidated Annual Report on Expenditures,” 2013, [Serbian] http://bit.ly/2cshGEJ] The report for 2014 was not available online, but government sources indicated that progress on the report has been made and that it should be published late in 2016. No evidence was found to show progress of the obligatory publishing of calls and tenders on the e-government portal. The e-government portal does not feature most of the documents envisioned in the commitment yet. Moreover, the Guide for Transparent Financing still exists only as an internal document and has not been published. The Office for Cooperation with Civil Society has the 2013 version of the guide available on its website.[Note 15: Republic of Serbia, “The Guide for Transparent Financing,” 2013, [Serbian] http://bit.ly/2gaPQux]
According to the government, 211 civil servants were trained from 70% of municipalities. Although the IRM researcher verified that the trainings happened, there is no detailed information available aside from three short paragraphs in the annual report of the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society for 2015 that indicate only the number of participants, percentage of local self-government units included, timespan, and goals of the training. The detailed report on the trainings is not available online and there is no evidence of evaluation of these trainings, nor analysis of their impact[Note 16: The website of the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society indicates that ten trainings were held between January and April 2015. However, the link for a report about these trainings does not work: theshttp://civilnodrustvo.gov.rs/%D0%BF%D0%BE%D1%87%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%BD%D0%B0.122.html (access attempted in July and September 2016, and again in January 2017). The only other available information on the trainings is in the annual report on the work of the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society for 2015, which indicates that these ten trainings encompassed 211 civil servants covering 73% of local self-government units.].
Did it open government?
Access to information: Marginal
Public accountability: Did not change
Multiple media and civil society investigations in Serbia revealed that public resources destined to fund programs in CSOs were allocated without open calls to organizations affiliated to political parties and overall lack of transparency.[Note 17: Branka Pavlovic, “Serbia: Transparency in Spending Local Public Funds for CSOs Activities,” Reports, Technical Assistance for Civil Society Organizations (TASCO), 6 September 2011, http://tacso.org/documents/reports/?id=5316 ] Given that the progress of implementation of this commitment has been largely internal, for example the 2014 report and revised Guide were not published, nor were there any reports on the success of the civil servants trainings, this commitment had only a marginal effect on access to information in terms of the greater number of publicly available documents such as the 2013 expenditure report and trainings provided to civil servants.
Regarding public accountability, this commitment had no impact given that there were no mechanisms put in place for civil society and the wider public to engage with civil servants regarding the new information provided through the commitment activities.
Although this commitment was not directly carried over to the 2016-2018 action plan, a commitment related to transparent financing of CSOs was included, namely, Commitment 11: Development of a uniform methodology for planning, monitoring and performance evaluation of programmes and projects implemented by civil society organisations and monitoring the spending of allocated funds.
Develop a model of job description or part of job description of an officer responsible for cooperation with civil society in local administration
RS0014, 2016, Capacity Building
Organise trainings for public administration officers in connection with the application of the Guidelines on Inclusion of Civil Society Organisations in the Process of Passing Regulations
RS0015, 2016, Capacity Building
Organise trainings for CSO in connection with application of the Guidelines on Inclusion of Civil Society Organisations in the Process of Passing Regulations
RS0016, 2016, Capacity Building
Improve the system for collecting initiatives from citizens and businesses
RS0017, 2016, Capacity Building
Introducing standards for civic participation in the public policy management system
RS0018, 2016, Capacity Building
Improving proactive transparency – Information Booklet
RS0019, 2016, Capacity Building
Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance
RS0020, 2016, Legislation & Regulation
Development of an Open Data Portal
RS0021, 2016, Capacity Building
Draft a bylaw based on the Guidelines for Evaluation of Websites
RS0022, 2016, Capacity Building
Improve the institute of public hearing in the drafting of laws
RS0023, 2016, Legislation & Regulation
Development of a uniform methodology for planning, monitoring and performance evaluation of programmes and projects implemented by civil society organisations and monitoring the spending of allocated funds
RS0024, 2016, Capacity Building
Amend the Regulation on Funds to Support Programmes or Missing Amount of Funds for Programmes of Public Interest implemented by Associations
RS0025, 2016, Capacity Building
Enactment of a Law on Electronic Documents, Electronic Identification and Trusted Services in Electronic Business
RS0026, 2016, Capacity Building
Establish a single public register of administrative procedures and other conditions for pursuing a business activity
RS0027, 2016, Capacity Building
Transparency in Monitoring Budget Expenditures
RS0001, 2014, Capacity Building
Law on Financing Political Activities
RS0002, 2014, Legislation & Regulation
Transparent Public Procurement Procedures
RS0003, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement
Transparent Financing of Civil Society Organizations
RS0004, 2014, Civic Space
Extending and Clarifying Responsibilities of the Anti-Corruption Agency
RS0005, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions
Whistleblower Protection Trainings and Campaigns
RS0006, 2014, Legislation & Regulation
Draft Law Regulating Inspections in Public Administration
RS0007, 2014, Audits and Controls
e-Governmental Portal Awareness and Mobile Application
RS0008, 2014, E-Government
Public Administration Website Harmonization and Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance
RS0009, 2014, E-Government
New Technologies to Improve Citizen Services
RS0010, 2014, E-Government
Cooperation with Civil Society Organizations in Public Policymaking
RS0011, 2014, Civic Space
Citizen Participation in Local Government Affairs
RS0012, 2014, Public Participation
Civil Society Participation in Monitoring the Public Administration (PAR) Strategy
RS0013, 2014, Audits and Controls