• February 20, 2015
  • 43

‘Polish’ local authorities assessed by Transparency International

The Lithuanian branch of Transparency International has created the ranking assessing transparency of local authorities in Lithuania. The aim of this project was to present the members of particular councils and explain how much information is revealed by local authorities on their websites. ‘Polish’ authorities of the Vilnius and Šalčininkai (Soleczniki) regions are placed in the middle of the ranking list.

The results of the research has been presented on communicable diagrams with data in percentage; next to them, a short note about the criteria of assessment is shown. Transparency International  assessed (in percentage), how much data about particular field are revealed by local authorities on their websites. The following categories of data has been analysed: Employees, Council, Anti-corruption, Partnership, Finance, Tenders and Activity. In more detailed analysis, practical recommendations for local authorities has been presented.

In the overall ranking, the Šalčininkai region has been classified in 34th place (with average assessment 55%) and the Vilnius region has been in 44th place (with average assessment 48%).

On the websites of both regions, the best rated information was that about council; in this category, both regions got 100%. This means that local authorities of these regions present the detailed information on votes cast by particular members of council and they reveal reports from the meetings of council on their websites.

The availability of data about tenders on the websites of the Vilnius and Šalčininkai regions was also rated at the same level – 75%. In this category, the main criterion was if local authorities announce new tenders, requirements referring to them, and winning offers, as well as reasons why a particular offer was chosen.

The Vilnius region authority got also 75% in the category concerning finances. The main criterion in this field was if an institution presents information about its annual budget, debts, as well as financial statements on its website. The Šalčininkai region got 66% in this category.

In turn, rates concerning the availability of data about local government companies are dramatically different.  The Šalčininkai region got 62% in this category, whereas the Vilnius region – 0%. In this category, main criterion of website assessment was the availability of information about: local government companies, the members of board, and representatives of local authorities delegated to the board.

The quantity and quality of information about council employees in the Vilnius region was rated at 50%, while in the Šalčininkai region – 37%. In this category, the following factors were taken into consideration: contact data to council employees, descriptions of their functions, and whether declarations of interest as well as property statements of politicians and heads of local authorities are revealed on a particular website.

The separate source of information about the members of council, the employees of council, the heads of local government companies and optional relations between any of them is the graph concerning results achieved by each local government.

The range of information referring to the category of activity was assessed at 25% in the case of the website of Vilnius government. In turn, the Šalčininkai region got 33% in this field. The main criteria in this category were: whether a local government announces how citizens can participate in public consultations, when the meetings of council are held and what documents are to be discussed during a session, how to make an application or complaint.

The availability of information about anti-corruption measures in the Šalčininkai region was assessed at 21% and in the Vilnius region – at 14%. The main criteria in this category were: whether a website contains information how a local government acts against corruption, what presents can be accepted by the employees of a council, what kind of ethics is followed by the employees, how can one report about a corruption incident and who politicians meet with.

According to Transparency International, the preliminary results of this ranking were presented to the representatives of local authorities. They were allowed to add missing data on their websites. Twelve regions took advantage of this chance.

However, the manager of Information, Culture and Tourism Department of the Šalčininkai Region, Irena Kołosowska, claimed that the representatives of Transparency International did not have contact with the council concerning the ranking.

‘I have not heard about this and nobody contacted me with any kind of survey or inquiry referring to this case. I had a look on our result, which overall seems to be not bad, we also know our weaknesses. I think that our website is informative as well as interesting for citizens. In near future, we are going to implement some changes.’, Kołosowska said.

The authority of the Vilnius region did not make a comment on this case.

Translated by Joanna Stępińska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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