TRANSPARENT INSTITUTIONS MAKE FOR INFORMED CITIZENS
The Agency for the Protection of the Right to Free Access to Public Information, in cooperation with the Center for Civil Communications in the Fifth National Action Plan for Partnership for Open Government 2021-2023, implemented the commitment: “Proactive publication of public information on the webpages of the institutions”.
The activities of this commitment refer to the so-called active transparency of the institutions, which implies the publication of information on the institutions’ own initiative without anyone having submitted to them a request for access to that information.
The commitment contributes to providing citizens, companies and all other interested groups with quick, easy and continuous access to basic information about the operation of state institutions.
With the new Law on free access to public information, the publication of this information on the websites of the institutions is mandatory, according to Article 10, i.e. the 22 categories of information that the holders of information are obliged to publish.
The commitment includes intensified efforts by the Agency to improve active transparency among information holders. In the past two years, the Agency prepared a Manual for the proactive publication of information, Guidelines for proactive transparency, Guidelines for the proactive publication of public information for officials or managers, and a Methodology for implementing monitoring for the proactive publication of public information, which made it easier for information holders to publish public information on their websites proactively. It also prepared Reports from the monitoring of state institutions and the judiciary for 2022, as well as Reports from the monitoring of public enterprises and institutions under the jurisdiction of municipalities, Community of Local Self-Government Units of The Republic of North Macedonia and Centers for the Development of Planning Regions and State Institutions for 2021.
According to the latest Active Transparency Index, ministries and the Government publish an average of 85% of this information, while municipalities publish 70%. The same measurement among public companies shows that they publish only 48% of this information.
Out of a total of 1449 holders registered as holders of public information to whom a form for the Annual Report for 2022 was submitted, in which the holders had to provide the links in accordance with Article 10, i.e. the 22 categories, 334 or 23.05% of the holders had fulfiled their proactive transparency, 966 or 66.67% were not actively transparent, while 104 or 7.18% were partially transparent.
Moreover, 1404 information holders, i.e. 96.86% of them, submitted an annual report to the Agency, while 45 information holders, or 3.11%, did not fulfil the legal obligation.
On the part of the state institutions, 119 holders fulfilled the obligation, 17 did not submit a notification about their proactivity, 7 were partially transparent, and there is no data for 3 holders because the holders did not submit a report on their implementation of the legal obligation.
Out of the health institutions, 7 holders submitted a report on this obligation, 8 holders were partially transparent, while 92 holders did not submit links to monitor their transparency. In addition, 3 holders did not submit reports to the Agency within the legal deadline.
Among public enterprises, 47 holders showed proactive transparency, 31 were partially transparent, while 238 holders did not comply with this obligation in their reports. In addition, 9 holders did not submit annual reports.
Out of the educational institutions, 484 holders were not proactively transparent, 37 were partially holders of information, and only 46 report their transparency to information requesters. The officials of 15 holders did not submit reports on the implementation of the Law.
Officials at 60 units of local self-government and Centers for the Development of Planning Regions reported on their proactive transparency, while 23 holders did not provide links to comply with Article 10. Also, 5 of the information holders were partially transparent.
To this end, only 6 political parties reported on proactive transparency, 4 partially reported on their proactive transparency, and 35 did not report on the implementation of Article 10 of the Law. There were also 12 holders who did not submit a report on their work pertaining to free access to public information.
The officials of 24 holders of legal and natural persons who exercise public powers and activities of public interest reported on their transparency, 9 were partially accountable, while 39 did not report on their proactivity in their work. Among them, 2 holders did not submit their Annual Reports.
The judicial authority was proactive in 25 holders, 3 holders were partially transparent, and 38 did not present data on the proactive publication of public information. In the case of 1 holder of information, the Agency cannot note the informing transparency because they did not submit a report within the legally stipulated period.
In the two-year period of implementation of the Action Plan, the holders of public information, in relation to state institutions and municipalities in the Republic of North Macedonia, increased their transparency and accessibility to public information that is important for people’s lives and work, and the pressure for obtaining information through requests for free access to public information (in the reporting year 2022, 2,458 requests were submitted to these holders, which is 160 requests less compared to the previous reporting period).