Analitika study: Nearly all state institutions in BiH do not publish budgets online
The Agency for the Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance of BiH is the state institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina that makes the strongest effort to publish its budget online, according to the results of a study conducted for a PASOS project on open government.
In its comparison of how 40 government agencies release information on the Internet, the Analitika Center for Social Research found that HEA, an agency that reviews the accreditation of institutes of higher education in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is the most proactive governmental body with regard to transparency in that country.
HEA publishes online about 75 percent of the information Analitika considered important to publish online in order to comply with the principles of proactive transparency, a practice whereby public institutions publish the information they possess on their own initiative. At the other end of the scale, the Agency for Gender Equality ranked last, scoring only 4.39 percent.
The report was conducted for Advocacy for Open Government, an EU-funded PASOS project to encourage governments in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia to become more transparent.
The analysis, conducted in May 2016, reviewed 69 websites of state-level institutions, and analyzed the availability of information in the following six categories: budget information; public procurement information; strategic documents; operational information; organisational information; and information on freedom-of-information.
“The average proactive transparency level of state-level public institutions is 34.8%, which, on the whole, indicates a relatively low level of proactive transparency of the institutions included in this research,” according to the report.
“However, the differences between institutions are quite drastic, thus there are also examples of advanced levels of proactive transparency, above all the Agency for the Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance of BiH, which scored 74.56%, and the Directorate for European Integration, which scored 67.54%. These institutions top our ranking list, followed by another five institutions which scored over 50%.”
The study also found that the least published information concerned the allocation and spending of public funds.
“Although the budgets for all institutions at the state level are published as part of the Law on Budget and International Obligations of BiH, good practice in this field would be for the institutions to publish their budgets on their official websites,” the report states. “However, almost 91% of institutions do not do so, and not a single one publishes its analytical budget.”
Other findings from the study showed that:
- When it comes to publishing information on public procurement, the results are somewhat better, owing probably to the Law on Public Procurement of BiH (LPP), which obliges institutions to publish a greater amount of information on public procurement.6 Still, a substantial percentage of institutions do not publish procurement plans (28%), and around 50% of them do not publish public procurement plans and contract award notices, or basic elements of contracts (50%), in contravention of the Law on Public Procurement.
- Compared to other categories, except budget information, the lack of proactive publishing was most clearly evident in the area of operational information: 62% of institutions do not publish their annual work plans, while almost 70% do not publish work reports. Also, not one institution publishes disbursements for appointees, civil servants and employees.
- When it comes to freedom of access to information, many institutions do not publish their index registers (44%), information access guide (22%) or the request for access to information form (34%), although the publishing of these documents is compulsory under the 2000 Law on Freedom of Access to Information of BiH.
Results of the Analitika research are part of a comparative study on the level of government transparency in the countries covered in the project. Cross-referencing detailed results provide a basis for “scorecards” that rank the countries on the basis of government openness, according to the stated parameters.