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Serbia

Assistance with and monitoring of adoption of LAP (RS0034)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Serbia Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Anti-Corruption Agency

Support Institution(s): “Transparency Serbia”, “Bečej Youth Association”, “Centre for the Development of a Democratic Society EuroPolis”, “Centre for Democratic Activities” and “Bureau for Social Research”, National Coalition for Decentralisation

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption Institutions, Capacity Building, OGP, Subnational

IRM Review

IRM Report: Serbia Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation Public Accountability

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

COMMITMENT 7: Assistance with and monitoring of adoption of LAP
Q1 2019 – until full compliance with the commitment – passing of LAP and establishing of monitoring
bodies in all LSGUs23
Lead implementing agency Anti-Corruption Agency
Description of Commitment
Problem addressed by the
commitment
Assemblies of the city of Belgrade and of cities/towns and
municipalities have a duty to pass local anti-corruption plans
(LAPs) on the basis of strategic documents. They also must
establish mechanisms to monitor the implementation of LAPs by a
body designated by the city/town or municipal assembly on
proposal of a Commission which consists of persons independent
from local self-government bodies;
The following has been observed in practice: insufficient
participation and visibility of the process of citizens’ participation
in the performance of tasks of interest for the functioning of the
local community; insufficiently developed anti-corruption
mechanisms at the local self-government level, as well as lack of
independent monitoring of implementation of anti-corruption
plans at the local self-government level.
Local self-governments are extremely vulnerable to corruption,
and adoption of local anti-corruption plans should improve
systematic addressing of the issues. Adoption of these plans is
largely delayed, and no authority at the central government level is
authorized to address this issue by imposing measures against
local self-governments which failed to comply with their duties.
The Action Plan for Chapter 23 includes activity 2.2.10.37.
“Assemblies of autonomous provinces and local self-governments
shall adopt local action plans and form standing working bodies to
monitor and implement local action plans”. According to the most
recent report available, the Anti-Corruption Agency received
reports on adoption of local anti-corruption plans (LAPs) and
formation of bodies for their monitoring from a total of 118 local
self-government units (LSGUs) and the Autonomous Province of
Vojvodina until 25 September 2018. According to the data in

Taking into account that compliance with this commitment depends on compliance with duties at the local level, it is impossible to define
the implementation period. The commitment will be implemented continually.
received reports, a total of 82 LSGUs (57% of the total of 145
LSGUs, excluding the territory of Kosovo and Metohija) adopted
these plans from early April 2017, when the Agency published the
Model LAP, to the abovementioned date. Of 82 adopted plans, 75
were prepared on the basis of the Agency’s Model, while seven
are not in line with the Model neither by their form nor by their
content. However, eleven self-government units simply copied the
Model, while two have not submitted enough data to evaluate
whether their LAPs have been prepared according to the Model.
The remaining 62 are mostly in line with the Model, although they
depart from it to as greater or lesser extent, either in terms of the
document itself or with regard to its preparation. Representatives
of the civil society were not included in working groups for
preparation of certain LAPs, in some reports on adoption of LAP
local self-government units did not appropriately explain why
certain measures from the Model were not undertaken etc.
Fifteen LSGUs designated a body responsible for monitoring the
implementation of LAP, of which six were formed mostly in
accordance with the Agency’s Model. Six departed from the
model to a certain extent, while there is not enough data available
to evaluate the compliance of three bodies.
Six LSGUs adopted their LAPs and formed bodies to monitor
their implementation mostly in line with the Agency’s Model and
thus complied with their duty under activity 2.2.10.37. of the
Action Plan for Chapter 23.
In 2018, the Anti-Corruption Agency allocated funds for five civil
society organisations for implementation of five projects with the
aim of supporting development and strengthening of integrity,
public accountability and transparency of the work of local selfgovernment units. These CSOs will provide assistance in
development of LAPs and formation of bodies to monitor their
implementation, in accordance with the Agency’s Model. Limited
support to towns and municipalities will also be available within
donor projects.
Such situation is a serious problem for all government levels,
given that the time limit for adoption of such plan expired on 30
June 2017.
Main objective The commitment under this AP includes the following:
A) Development of a Model Methodology to Monitor
Implementation of LAP – Anti-Corruption Agency
B) Collecting data on compliance with the commitment within the
32
context of national and European integration planning documents
– by the Anti-Corruption Agency and (until competences are
transferred to the Agency through amendments to the Law) the
Government’s Council for Monitoring the Implementation of
Chapter 23 of negotiations between Serbia and the EU
C) Promotion of information on adopted LAPs and established
mechanisms for monitoring their implementation – AntiCorruption Agency
This commitment contributes to higher inclusion of local
communities in Serbia’s EU accession process through joint
actions of local self-government, state bodies and civil society
organisations as a catalyst of the reform process at the local level.
This commitment is implemented through activities planned under
the Action Plan for Chapter 23 of Serbia’s EU Accession
Negotiation, as well as the Action Plan for implementation of the
National Anti-Corruption Strategy (adoption of local anticorruption plans, establishing of bodies to monitor
implementation, collecting data on compliance with the
commitment and promotion of good practice).
Compliance with this commitment will also help link measures
implemented at the central level and at the local self-government
level, which will improve communication between decisionmakers and citizens and contribute to increased openness of anticorruption reform processes and reforms implemented during
negotiations with the EU.
How will this commitment
contribute to problem solving?
Collecting and promotion of data on the implementation of this
commitment by competent authorities and promotion of good
practice, while highlighting examples of bad practice by civil
society organisations and state bodies, can ensure that more local
self-governments comply with their duties under strategic
documents.
In addition, civil society organisations at the local level have an
opportunity to be more actively involved in development and
monitoring the implementation of public policies at the local level
through implementation of these commitments of local selfgovernments, which ensures assumptions for more accountable
government in all fields.
The way in which this
commitment is relevant to further
advancing OGP values
Openness of local self-government when passing and
implementing decisions and enabling civic participation are
prerequisites for greater integrity of authorities at the local level,
33
increased accountability of those authorities and opportunities for
citizens and civil society organisations to become more active
participants in the fight against corruption.
The current Model LAP developed by the Anti-Corruption
Agency contains numerous measures aimed at strengthening
integrity, reducing scope for discretion, transparency of the
decision-making process and improved openness of government
bodies at the local level for civic initiatives. In addition, the Model
also contains arrangements which should ensure that citizens and
civil society organisations provide a crucial contribution to
development of high-quality LAPs and ensuring their
implementation.
Taking into account that monitoring the implementation of LAPs
should be performed by a body consisting of citizens of local
communities who may not have any experience in monitoring the
implementation of public policies, it is necessary to strengthen
their capacities for this task. The Anti-Corruption Agency will
assist them with this by developing a model methodology and
documents, as well as civil society organisations which assist with
the monitoring of compliance with these duties or are actively
involved in monitoring the implementation of LAP in their
communities.
Implementation of this commitment will contribute to increased
visibility of issues at the local level and accountability of local
actors in the reform process. And, most importantly, policymaking at the local level, as part of the European integration
process, will be more visible for citizens and will be more suitable
for actual needs of local communities. Furthermore,
implementation of this commitment will contribute to
strengthening of anti-corruption mechanisms of the country as a
whole, because the LAP is linked with the implementation of
numerous anti-corruption laws.
Additional information
Activity with a verifiable
deliverable and completion date
Start Date: End Date:
1. Development of a Model
Methodology to Monitor
Implementation of LAP
Q1 2019
(January 2019)
Q1 2019
(March 2019)
34
2. Provision of assistance to
interested local self-governments
in the passing and monitoring of
implementation of LAPs (daily
advisory assistance by the
Agency, assistance provided by
LSGUs to five NGOs which
implement projects supported by
the Agency, as well as other
entities within their projects
Ongoing
Q3 2019
(July 2019)
(for all current support projects
implemented by NGOs)
3. Collecting data on
implementation of activities in the
preparation of LAPs and
publishing of such data
Periodically, every three
months
* Until full compliance with the
commitment – passing of LAP
and establishing of monitoring
bodies in all LSGUs24
4. Promotion of data on adopted
LAPs and their monitoring
Continually, after collection of
data and publishing of every
other report on
implementation of the
measure (semi-annual)
* Until full compliance with the
commitment – passing of LAP
and establishing of monitoring
bodies in all LSGUs25
Contact information
Name of a responsible person in
the implementing agency
Marijana Obradović
Title, Department Assistant Director for Prevention Tasks, Anti-Corruption Agency
Email and phone number marijana.obradovic@acas.rs
Other actors
involved
Administration

24 As compliance with this commitment depends on compliance with duties at the local level, it is impossible to define the implementation
period. The commitment will be implemented continually.
25 As compliance with this commitment depends on compliance with duties at the local level, it is impossible to define the implementation
period. The commitment will be implemented continually.
35
Civil sector
organisations,
private sector,
working groups
“Transparency Serbia”, “Bečej Youth Association”, “Centre for
the Development of a Democratic Society EuroPolis”, “Centre for
Democratic Activities” and “Bureau for Social Research”,
National Coalition for Decentralisation

IRM Midterm Status Summary

7. Assistance with and monitoring of adoption of local anti-corruption plans

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

The commitment under this AP includes the following:

  1. A) Development of a Model Methodology to Monitor Implementation of LAP – Anti-Corruption Agency
  2. B) Collecting data on compliance with the commitment within the

context of national and European integration planning documents – by the Anti-Corruption Agency and (until competences are transferred to the Agency through amendments to the Law) the Government’s Council for Monitoring the Implementation of Chapter 23 of negotiations between Serbia and the EU

  1. C) Promotion of information on adopted LAPs and established mechanisms for monitoring their implementation – Anti-Corruption Agency

This commitment contributes to higher inclusion of local communities in Serbia’s EU accession process through joint actions of local self-government, state bodies and CSOs as a catalyst of the reform process at the local level.

This commitment is implemented through activities planned under the Action Plan for Chapter 23 of Serbia’s EU Accession Negotiation, as well as the Action Plan for implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (adoption of local anti-corruption plans, establishing of bodies to monitor implementation, collecting data on compliance with the commitment and promotion of good practice).

Compliance with this commitment will also help link measures implemented at the central level and at the local self-government level, which will improve communication between decision-makers and citizens and contribute to increased openness of anti-corruption reform processes and reforms implemented during negotiations with the EU.

Start Date: Q1 2019

End Date: Until full compliance with the commitment – passing of local anti/corruption plans and establishing of monitoring bodies in all local self-government units

Context and Objectives

Several legal frameworks oblige local self-government units to adopt their own anti-corruption plans. [96] According to the latest data available at the time of writing of this report (February 2019), 86 out of 145 local self-government units have done so, and only eight have a monitoring body for their plan. [97] Local anti-corruption plans should ensure the transparent work and transparent budgetary system of the autonomous province and local self-government units (including the public enterprises). Besides adoption of the local anti-corruption plans, the Action Plan for Chapter 23 in Serbia’s EU accession negotiations, envisages the formation of the permanent monitoring body in charge of anti-corruption policy. [98]

This commitment aims to increase the number of the local self-government units with an established monitoring body for their local anti-corruption plan. The monitoring body is meant to include citizens and CSOs. The Anti-Corruption Agency, with help from USAID’s Government Accountability Initiative (GAI), has been working on a methodology to monitor the implementation of local anti-corruption plans. It is foreseen that each self-government unit will have a coordinator who will be in charge of communication and dissemination of documents between the local self-government and the monitoring body. [99] The Permanent Working Body is supposed to evaluate the quality of the measures implemented and address the effects of the implementation of individual mechanisms through quarterly and annual reports.

Although the Agency developed the Model of Local Anti-Corruption Plan (including instructions for drafting, implementation and monitoring), some local self-government units reported that they lacked capacity to fulfil this obligation. Thus, the Agency allocated grants to CSOs engaged in five local self-government units to help local authorities draft plans and form monitoring bodies. However, the number of grants depends on the Agency’s budget for 2018.

Given the low starting point (only 8 out of 145 local self-government units have established monitoring bodies at the time of writing this report), it appears unlikely that this commitment will be achieved within the two-year period of the action plan cycle. It is probably for this reason that the action plan lists the deadline for finalizing this commitment as “until full compliance with the commitment” is achieved. [100] In the IRM researchers’ view, this is too discretionary and may even jeopardize successful fulfilment of the entire commitment. Other CSOs experts dealing with the anti-corruption policy reported additional obstacles evident at the outset, including a lack of buy-in and resources from city and municipal decision-makers. [101] Therefore, the potential impact of this commitment is minor.

Next steps

Without the different approach and proper specification and development of this commitment, the IRM researchers would not recommend the continuation of this commitment in the following action plan. The IRM researchers suggest the following improvements for commitment implementation:

  • Instead of a top down approach to establishing monitoring bodies and adopting local anti-corruption plans, it would be more effective to further incentivize a bottom up approach. The model local anti-corruption plan recommends involvement of the local community, citizens and CSOs in the LAP working group and its monitoring body. Mechanisms are needed to ensure identification and consultations with stakeholders from local self-government units in practice, to make a joint ownership over the entire process. A good example of such approach is related to developing local OGP action plans in Serbia (e.g. City of Šabac) where several rounds of consultations were held in order to produce a feasible and inclusive document [102];
  • The government needs to set a realistic for completion of this commitment, and the development and adoption of the local anti-corruption action plans. While OGP action plan commitments can be incremental towards a longer-term goal, they still require concrete deliverables and steps;
  • When monitoring the effects of this commitment as a whole, greater emphasis should be placed on analysing and reporting on qualitative indicators at the impact level by looking at how activities were developed and implemented and what results they brought instead of the currently emphasized quantitative indicators at the output level (number of plans adopted and monitoring bodies formed). [103]

To the Anti-Corruption Agency and Ministry of Justice:

  • Develop the new anti-corruption strategy (with continued stakeholder participation) and integrate local anti-corruption plans into it.
[96] Including Action Plan for the Negotiating Chapter 23: Judiciary and Fundamental Rights (Government of the Republic of Serbia, Belgrade, 2016, https://www.mpravde.gov.rs/files/Action%20plan%20Ch%2023.pdf), National Anti-Corruption Strategy for the Period 2013-2018 (Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia No. 57/2013, Belgrade, 2013, http://www.acas.rs/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Nacionalna_strategija_za_borbu_protiv_korupcije.pdf), Action Plan for Implementing National Anti-Corruption Strategy for the Period 2013–2018 (Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia No. 79/2013, 61/2016, Belgrade, 2013, 2016, http://www.acas.rs/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Akcioni_plan_za_sprovodjenje_Strategije.pdf);
[97] Anti-Corruption Plans adopted by 59 Percent of the Local Self-Government Units, https://www.paragraf.rs/dnevne-vesti/110119/110119-vest13.html, representatives of the Anti-Corruption Agency, interviewed by the IRM researcher, 14 February 2019;
[98] National Anti-Corruption Strategy in the Republic of Serbia in the Period from 2013 to 2018, Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia No. 57/2013, Belgrade, 2013, http://www.acas.rs/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Nacionalna_strategija_za_borbu_protiv_korupcije.pdf (accessed on March 2019);
[99] Representatives of the Anti-Corruption Agency, interviewed by the IRM researcher, 14 February 2019;
[100] Serbia Third National OGP Action Plan 2018–2020.
[101] Representatives of the CSOs dealing with the anti-corruption policy, interviewed by the IRM researcher, 20 February 2019 and 7 March 2019.
[102] Dimitrijević, Pavle, Radojević, Ivan, Božović, Danijela, Partnerstvo za otvorenu upravu – POU – na lokalnom nivou, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Centre for Research, Transparency and Accountability, Belgrade, 2018.
[103] Originally recommended by National Coalition for Decentralisation, “Monitoring analiza – korupcija na lokalu, Niš, 2018, available at http://nkd.rs/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Monitoring-analiza-korupcija-na-lokalu.pdf

Commitments

  1. Increasing transparency and participation in parliament

    RS0042, 2018, Civic Space

  2. Publishing Budget Law

    RS0028, 2018, E-Government

  3. e-calendar for financing civil society

    RS0029, 2018, E-Government

  4. publish data on environmental protection funds

    RS0030, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. opening data for public calls for media development

    RS0031, 2018, E-Government

  6. open data reports on CSOs

    RS0032, 2018, E-Government

  7. amending media registration bylaws

    RS0033, 2018, E-Government

  8. Assistance with and monitoring of adoption of LAP

    RS0034, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  9. Updating of electoral roll

    RS0035, 2018, E-Government

  10. ePAPER

    RS0036, 2018, E-Government

  11. e-notice board

    RS0037, 2018, E-Government

  12. Improving proactive transparency – Information Booklet

    RS0038, 2018, E-Government

  13. Access to Information Law

    RS0039, 2018, Capacity Building

  14. cooperation with CSOs on regulations

    RS0040, 2018, Capacity Building

  15. e-civic engagement

    RS0041, 2018, E-Government

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Improve the System for Collecting Initiatives from Citizens and Businesses

    RS0017, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Introducing Standards for Civic Participation in the Public Policy Management System

    RS0018, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Improving Proactive Transparency – Information Booklet

    RS0019, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

    RS0020, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  23. Development of an Open Data Portal

    RS0021, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Draft a Bylaw Based on the Guidelines for Evaluation of Websites

    RS0022, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Improve the Institute of Public Hearing in the Drafting of Laws

    RS0023, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  26. 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

  27. 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

  28. Enactment of a Law on Electronic Documents, Electronic Identification and Trusted Services in Electronic Business

    RS0026, 2016, Capacity Building

  29. Establish a Single Public Register of Administrative Procedures and Other Conditions for Pursuing a Business Activity

    RS0027, 2016, Capacity Building

  30. Transparency in Monitoring Budget Expenditures

    RS0001, 2014, Capacity Building

  31. Law on Financing Political Activities

    RS0002, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  32. Transparent Public Procurement Procedures

    RS0003, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement

  33. Transparent Financing of Civil Society Organizations

    RS0004, 2014, Civic Space

  34. Extending and Clarifying Responsibilities of the Anti-Corruption Agency

    RS0005, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  35. Whistleblower Protection Trainings and Campaigns

    RS0006, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  36. Draft Law Regulating Inspections in Public Administration

    RS0007, 2014, Audits and Controls

  37. e-Governmental Portal Awareness and Mobile Application

    RS0008, 2014, E-Government

  38. Starred commitment Public Administration Website Harmonization and Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

    RS0009, 2014, E-Government

  39. New Technologies to Improve Citizen Services

    RS0010, 2014, E-Government

  40. Cooperation with Civil Society Organizations in Public Policymaking

    RS0011, 2014, Civic Space

  41. Citizen Participation in Local Government Affairs

    RS0012, 2014, Public Participation

  42. Civil Society Participation in Monitoring the Public Administration (PAR) Strategy

    RS0013, 2014, Audits and Controls