Belgrade Open School announced the results of this year's research of transparency of municipalities in Serbia, which are available on the website www.dostup.no (available in Serbian language only). Website was created in the scope of the project “Local Transparency Booster: Raising Accountability and Prevention of Corruption in Local Governments”. On this website user can find the results of last year's research, thus make the comparison of municipalities according to the level of transparency in two periods. The survey included an in depth analysis of websites and information booklets of 169 municipalities in Serbia.
In the scope of the project, BOS published policy study "Proactive Transparency of Public Administration in Serbia: (un)achievable Goal” (available in Serbian language only) which contains an analysis of a proactive transparency and recommendations for its improvement, given the fact that its importance is recognized in the legal framework of the Republic of Serbia, as a main obstacle for corruption. Current problems include poor control of local governments in this area, disregard of the legal framework as well as an outdated format of an information booklet (PDF/Word). The most problematic areas are the ones concerning the budget, public procurement and state aid which are not presented transparently enough in information booklets, although this areas are the most sensitive and most important for the citizens. Due to this year’s research data about budget were available in 31% of information booklets, data about public procurement in 18% and data about state aid in only 11% of analyzed information booklets. Solving these problems is important from the perspective of public administration reform in Serbia, fight against corruption and for increase of citizen participation, which is not possible without a sufficient level of information. The crucial recommendation of this study is to modify information booklets in accordance with "open data" standards and compile the data through the online platform in one central database. If this recommendations were implemented the number of submitted requests for information would be reduced, because strategic documents would be proactively published as well as information that has been requested a few times on demand. Finally, public administration would be improved, control system of respecting the law would be much more efficient and also civic participation in decision making process would be increased.
The aim of already mentioned project is to improve the level of transparency in local governments in Serbia as well as to raise capacities of local civil society organizations for monitoring transparency of local governments. The project "Local Transparency Booster: Raising Accountability and Prevention of Corruption in Local Governments” is implemented by Belgrade open school in partnership with the Toplica Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, in association with the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities with support of The Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia. Project is co-financed by Serbian Government, The Office for Cooperation with Civil Society. You can find more information about the project on the web page www.dostup.no