REPORT ON THE VERIFICATION OF THE PUBLISHED DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION THAT THE HOLDERS OF THE STATE INSTITUTIONS IN THE REPUBLIC OF NORTH MACEDONIA ARE OBLIGATED TO PUBLISH ON THEIR WEBSITES
Pursuant to the Action Plan for implementing the Public Administration Reform Strategy 2018-2023 and the special objective Measure 220.127.116.11. Strengthening the mechanisms for the availability of public information, the Agency for the Protection of the Right to Free Access to Public Information conducted monitoring of the websites of the information holders of the central government for 2022.
The objective of the monitoring was the 22 categories of information, in accordance with Article 10 of the Law on Free Access to Public Information and their consistent publication on the websites of the information holders.
The websites of 120 holders were analyzed out of a total of 146 state institutions included in the List as holders. Eleven information holders were left out of the audit because they did not have their own online presence. One of the holders’ websites (Agency for Quality and Accreditation of Healthcare Institutions) could not be analyzed due to its unavailability and inaccessibility.
This is because the website was inaccessible when it was being monitored. However, the State Attorney’s Office of RSM’s 13 regional units are an integral part of the State Attorney’s Office and are not subject to oversight.
The monitoring was carried out according to the methodology implemented in cooperation with external experts hired by the IPA II Project “Transparency and Accountability of Public Administration”, whose beneficiary is the Agency. The prepared questionnaire contained a total of 30 questions arising from Article 10 of the Law. Some contained one or more sub-questions, and the maximum number of possible points was 52.
Holders of the published data received 0, 0.5 and 1 points, depending on the number and up-to-dateness of the published documents. The questionnaire was distributed to the holders, who were asked to carry out a self-evaluation of their own transparency.
Within the deadline for submitting the answers to the Agency, the holders submitted 68 questionnaires, of which 11 did not contain links to the specific documents as requested and were not taken into account during the monitoring of the web pages.
The degree to which the monitored holders fulfilled the legal obligation for their active transparency was graded according to the total number of points they received in relation to the published necessary documents and information in accordance with Article 10 of the Law, as follows: holders with many low levels of transparency who have between 0 and 20 points, with a low level between 20 and 30 points, with a medium level between 30 and 40 points, and wit Specifically, this process revealed that 25 holders are highly transparent when it comes to the information they’ve made public, 56 are somewhat transparent, 29 are not very transparent, and 9 are not transparent at all when it comes to their active transparency.
Among the monitored agencies, those with the highest scores of 49.5 and 48.5 for transparency were the Ministries of Agriculture, Forestry, and Water Management and Defense, respectively; the Ministries of Finance and the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund of the Republic of North Macedonia came in at 45.5.
This year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management showed the greatest transparency on its website regarding the information published in accordance with Article 10 of the Law on Free Access to Public Information. Last year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management was among the institutions with a low level of transparency, which shows that by proactively publishing the information, the holders can increase their proactivity and accountability, above all for the citizens. This way, access to public information will be available to applicants in an easy and accessible way.
The monitoring organization concluded that the holders of information could and should take proactive measures to better serve the public by making the data they publish accessible via the dedicated link labeled “LIST OF INFORMATION OF PUBLIC CHARACTER” on the website’s landing page.
In this way, applicants will have free access to the necessary documents, and the need for requests for free access to public information will be reduced. In addition, the Agency will emphasize proactive transparency and the consistent application of Article 10 of the Law on Information Security through the training sessions it continually organizes for the public officials held with the information holders in the future.
By doing so, the holders facilitate citizens’ access to the services provided by central government institutions, improve their understanding of the institutions’ operations and their own rights and responsibilities, as well as increase their ability to have a say in the decision-making processes that affect their day-to-day lives and livelihoods.
To access the monitoring report, please click on the following link.