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Sri Lanka

Proactive Disclosure (LK0023)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Sri Lanka National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media

Support Institution(s): Presidential Secretariat, Ministry of Public Administration and Management, Right to Information Commission, Sri Lanka Judges’ Institute and state media; Thematic-related CSOs (e.g- Health, Corruption, Education, Empowerment of Women, etc)

Policy Areas

Legislation & Regulation, Public Service Delivery, Records Management, Right to Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Sri Lanka End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Sri Lanka Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Commitment 1: The enactment and implementation of the RTI Act

The legal recognition of the citizens’ Right to Information and an effective mechanism whereby they are able and empowered to access such information is essential to create a culture of transparency and accountability in governance, and to encourage civic participation therein. It also serves as a tool for the systematic elimination of corruption. It balances the power of the people against the concentration of power in public authorities. The components of a democracy - such as representation, accountability, and participatory decision-making – are facilitated by the introduction of a dynamic RTI framework.

Timeline: August 2016- June 2018

Commitment 1: The enactment and implementation of the RTI Act
Lead Agency Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media

Other Actors Government Presidential Secretariat, Ministry of Public Administration and Management, Right to Information Commission, Sri Lanka Judges’ Institute and state media
Civil Society, Private Sector Thematic-related CSOs (e.g- Health, Corruption, Education, Empowerment of Women, etc)

Issues to be Addressed Resources need to be allocated and the State has to roll out the entire RTI infrastructure.

Systems (including ICT) have to be developed for record management, reporting, proactive disclosure and responding to requests.

Public Authorities and their respective officials have to be trained and sensitized to the principles and processes of RTI.

This includes ensuring the autonomy of appointed Information and Designated Officers.

There is an ongoing need for the government to engage in public awareness campaigns to ensure that citizens are equipped to utilize the established RTI mechanism.

Systems (including ICT) have to be developed for record management, reporting, proactive disclosure and responding to requests.

Public Authorities and their respective officials have to be trained and sensitized to the principles and processes of RTI.

This includes ensuring the autonomy of appointed Information and Designated Officers.

There is an ongoing need for the government to engage in public awareness campaigns to ensure that citizens are equipped to utilise the established RTI mechanism.

Main Objective To strengthen anti-corruption framework and facilitate tri partite; public, private, civil society oversight and ownership of anti-corruption effort.

OGP Challenge Improve public service deliveries, economical and effective management of state resources, constructive civic engagement in public decision making mechanisms and increase public integrity

OGP Principles Transparency Accountability Public Participation
1. Proactive Disclosure
a) Each Ministry and public authority to proactively disclose and update in a manner accessible to the public, an annual inventory of documents to be publicly available, and the information required to be reported to the RTI Commission under Section 8(2) and Section 10 of the RTI Act.
New February 2017 June 2018
b) Each Ministry and public authority to publish and update information made public as per Milestone 5(a) on their respective website.
New February 2017 June 2018

IRM End of Term Status Summary

23. Proactive Disclosure

Commitment Text:

Proactive Disclosure

[…]

Main Objective:

Ensure proactive disclosure of updated information outlined under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, and thereby, improve public access to information.

Milestones:

  • 1 Each Ministry and public authority to proactively disclose and update in a manner accessible to the public, an annual inventory of documents to be publicly available, and the information required to be reported to the RTI Commission under Section 8(2) and Section 10 of the RTI Act.
  • 2. Each Ministry and public authority to publish and update information made public as per (above) on their respective website.

Responsible institution: Ministry of Finance and Mass Media

Supporting institutions: Right to Information Commission; Transparency International

Start date: February 2017   End date: June 2018

Editorial Note: The text of the commitment was abridged for formatting reasons. For full text of the commitment, see the Sri Lanka National Action Plan 2016–2018 at http://bit.ly/2wv3jXR. [332]

Commitment Aim:

This commitment aimed to ensure that public authorities proactively disclosed and published specific public information, outlined under the Right to Information Act. [333] The timely and effective disclosure of such data and policy documents would ensure that the public had access to key information needed to participate meaningfully in policy and decision making. Proactive disclosure of such information would subvert the need for citizens to submit requests such information.

Status

Midterm: Limited

The commitment to proactively disclose and update an annual inventory of documents achieved limited completion by the midterm (Milestone 23.1).

The Ministry of Finance and Mass Media noted that the government issued a gazette notification [334] detailing a list of information to be proactively disclosed. [335] A circular issued by the ministry referenced this list [336] and requested all public authorities to adhere to provisions in the Right to Information (RTI) Act pertaining to proactive disclosure. Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) suggested that the annual reports from each public authority would include a lot of this information. [337]

Further, according to a representative from the Ministry of Mass Media, very few public authorities had disclosed key information proactively on their websites (Milestone 23.2). [338] This was confirmed by the director general of the RTI Commission and TISL. [339]

End of term: Limited

Implementation of this commitment continued to be limited at the end of term. According to the RTI Commission, there was no significant progress on this commitment. [340]

Milestones 23.1–23.2: While rules under section 8, 9, and 10 had been published, the RTI Commission noted that separate guidance had to be given to all public authorities as to what should be proactively disclosed. [341] The circular issued by the ministry attempted to provide such guidance, [342] but few public authorities, if any, proactively disclosed such information. [343]

Further in this context, TISL suggested that certain public authorities do make ad-hoc information available, including on their websites, but this was not done in a formal or systematic manner. [344]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did Not Change

The commitment did not contribute to a tangible improvement in access to information and, thus, did not lead to a change in open government.

Carried Forward?

Sri Lanka’s second action plan was not released by the time of this report.

In the 2016–2017 IRM midterm progress report, the IRM researcher recognised that the mandatory nature of the Right to Information Act will naturally support the completion of this commitment. In addition, the researcher suggested that proactive disclosure can also be achieved using other means. These may include publications and official gazettes, publicly accessible notice boards, and radio and television announcements.

The IRM researcher also acknowledged that the completion of activities listed under Commitment 22 would also play a significant, complementary role in the success of proactive disclosure.

[332] In the action plan, milestones pertaining to the right to information and proactive disclosure are listed under a single commitment. In this report, however, the two areas are separated into two different commitments (see 22 and 23).

[333] Right to Information Act, No. 12 of 2016, § 8(2), http://www.media.gov.lk/images/pdf_word/2016/12-2016_E.pdf.

[334] “Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (Extraordinary),” No. 2004/66 (3 February 2017)  https://www.rti.gov.lk/images/resources/2004-66_E_feb.pdf.

[335] Sugath Kithsiri (Ministry of Finance and Mass Media), interview by IRM researcher, 20 October 2017.

[336] Circular Number (M) 1/2017 (Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, 25 September 2017) https://www.media.gov.lk/images/resolution_regulations/web_eng.JPG.

[337] Sankhitha Gunaratne (Transparency International Sri Lanka), interview by IRM researcher, 17 October 2017.

[338] Kithsiri, interview.

[339] Kithsiri, interview; Piyatissa Ranasinghe (RTI Commission), interview by IRM researcher, 25 September 2018; Gunaratne, interview.

[340] Ranasinghe, interview.

[341] Id.

[342]Circular Number (M) 1/2017 (Ministry of Finance and Mass Media).

[343] Ranasinghe, interview.

[344] Sankhitha Gunaratne (Transparency International Sri Lanka), interview by IRM researcher, 28 September 2018.


Commitments

  1. Integrity Officers to Decrease Bribery and Corruption

    LK0024, 2019, Capacity Building

  2. Asset Declaration System

    LK0025, 2019, Asset Disclosure

  3. Increase Use of RTI

    LK0026, 2019, E-Government

  4. Citizen Participation in Health

    LK0027, 2019, E-Government

  5. Campaign Against Youth Drug Use

    LK0028, 2019, Education

  6. Open Data

    LK0029, 2019, E-Government

  7. Agriculture Support Policy

    LK0030, 2019, Capacity Building

  8. Participation for Persons with Disabilities

    LK0031, 2019, Land & Spatial Planning

  9. Disability Rights Bill

    LK0032, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  10. Disaster Management Planning

    LK0033, 2019, Capacity Building

  11. Nationak Environmental Policy

    LK0034, 2019, Environment and Climate

  12. CEDAW Implementation

    LK0035, 2019, Capacity Building

  13. Local Service Delivery

    LK0036, 2019, E-Government

  14. Feedback on Public Bus

    LK0037, 2019, E-Government

  15. Implementing UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in a Participatory Manner

    LK0038, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  16. Improving Public Access to Preventive and Curative Strategies to Combat Chronic Kidney Disease

    LK0001, 2016, Health

  17. Transparent Policy to Provide Safe and Affordable Medicines for All

    LK0002, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. National Health Performance

    LK0003, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Ensuring Transparency and Impartiality in Teacher Recruitment Policy and Process in Sri Lanka

    LK0004, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Enhance the Services of Government Information Center (GIC- 1919) for Inclusive, Transparent, Accountable and Efficient Governance, Using ICT As Enabler

    LK0005, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Promote the Open Data Concept and Delivering the Benefits to Citizens Through ICT

    LK0006, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. National Environmental Act (NEA) Amendments

    LK0007, 2016, Capacity Building

  23. Coast Conservation

    LK0008, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Flora and Fauna Protection

    LK0009, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Transparent and Accountable Procurement System for Local Authorities in Sri Lanka

    LK0010, 2016, Capacity Building

  26. Local Authority Procurement System Implementation

    LK0011, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  27. Annual Work Plan of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs to Include a Transparent and Accountable Process to Implement Selected Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Concluding Observations.

    LK0012, 2016, Gender

  28. CEDAW Implementation – Accountability

    LK0013, 2016, Gender

  29. CEDAW – Inclusion

    LK0014, 2016, Gender

  30. Strengthening Women Participation in the Political Decision Making Process at the Local Level

    LK0015, 2016, Capacity Building

  31. Strengthen the Anti-Corruption Framework to Increase Constructive Public Participation

    LK0016, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  32. Implement UNCAC

    LK0017, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  33. Coordination Among Anti-Corruption Agencies

    LK0018, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  34. Corruption and Money Laundering

    LK0019, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  35. Campaign Finance

    LK0020, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  36. Disseminate Asset Declaration

    LK0021, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  37. Starred commitment The Enactment and Implementation of the RTI Act

    LK0022, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  38. Proactive Disclosure

    LK0023, 2016, Legislation & Regulation