Openness of Local Self-Government Units in Albania and region

In cooperation with partners from a regional network “ActionSEE”, MJAFT! Movement has prepared the analysis of a level of transparency, openness and accountability of local self-governments in the region of Western Balkans. A general conclusion is that the openness of local self-government is at a very low level in our country, as well as in region. In the period from October to December 2016 members of the network “ActionSEE” worked on detailed research, based on scientific methodology, including sample of 144 municipalities from 6 countries and over 60 indicators per municipality.

The aim of this document is to determine a real state in the area of openness and accountability, to show readiness of municipalities to act as a service of citizens. The openness of local self-government for us includes transparency and efficiency of institutions as well as developed communication with citizens.

In comparison with results of openness of parliaments and bodies of executive power, these results are the worst and at the same time worrying. It is expectable that openness increases as we move towards lower state bodies since they are in direct contact with citizens. However, the research has shown opposite. Regional powers should take much more effort in order to engage citizens in decision-making, which directly reflects on their life quality.

The Government openness of the Local Self-Government Units in the Republic of Albania reaches 12% of the fulfillment of indicators, an unsatisfactory result for the performance of this power. The main points that come out from LSGUs monitoring process are:

  • Lack of structure and communication infrastructure;
  • Lack of sufficient and specialized staff to share the necessary information with the public;
  • There is no electronic information and/or in open data format published.
  • Budgetary information are the most difficult to be find by citizens and in context of a significant lack of explanations about spending at the institutional level;
  • Lack of citizens participation in medium-term and long-term strategies.

On the following are some recommendations for LSGUs:

Implementation of the Administrative-Territorial Reform not only at the territorial level but also at the administrative level.

Observance of the articles of the law on the right of information.

Publication of budget information clearly and structurally and in open data format.

Penaltiess for consultative processes violations.

Publishing the program of transparency.

Research methodology

The Regional index of openness measures to which extent LSGUs are open for citizens and society based on the following four principles: 1. transparency, 2. accessibility 3. integrity and 4. effectiveness.

The principle of transparency includes the fact that organizational information, budget and public procurement are publicly available and published. Accessibility is related to ensuring and respecting procedures for a free access to information and strengthening interaction with citizens as well. Integrity includes mechanisms for the prevention of corruption, conducting codes of conduct and regulation of lobbying. The last principle, Effectiveness, is related to monitoring and evaluation of policies which are conducted.