DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION
ACCESS TO INFORMATION
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
DECISION- MAKING PROCESSES
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AbstractThis paper looks at the relationship between the design of a law which aims to give individuals a right to access information held by public authorities, i.e. a right to information (RTI) law, and the successful implementation of that law. The legal framework involves both laws and subordinate legislation, such as regulations, which complement the law and are easier to amend, with the result that there is likely to be a more dynamic relationship between the design of regulations and implementation challenges. There is also, of course, the question of how laws are interpreted by the courts, as well as other players, such as oversight bodies, which can impact significantly on implementation of the law. A key issue for this paper is the fact that there is, at least in many countries, a law-implementation or policy-practice gap in the sense that implementation of the RTI law is significantly sub-optimal.1 No law is perfectly implemented, but the gap between the standards of the formal rules and what actually happens is often quite significant for RTI laws. In some settings where observance of the rule of law is low, RTI laws are almost entirely ignored and/or certain key provisions in them are routinely ignored. This sort of radical policy-practice gap makes it difficult to discuss sensibly the relationship between legal design features and implementation, which is the focus of this paper. The paper therefore focuses on contexts where there is a reasonable expectation or an established record of medium to better practice in terms of implementation. A key focus is to discuss ways to reduce the policy-practice gap through more carefully tailored legal design.
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Right to InformationTrapnell, Stephanie E.; Trapnell, Stephanie E. (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-08-20)This first round of eight case studies was completed in 2012. The case studies were prepared examining the experience of a number of countries that have passed Right to Information (RTI) legislation within the last 15 years: Albania, India, Mexico, Moldova, Peru, Romania, Uganda, and the United Kingdom. Each country case study assesses four dimensions critical to the effective implementation of RTI legislation as follows: 1. The scope of the information that the law covers, which determines whether an RTI law can serve as the instrument of more transparent and accountable governance as envisaged by its advocates. For example, a law that leaves too many categories of information out of its purview, that does not adequately apply to all agencies impacting public welfare or using public resources, or that potentially contradicts with other regulations, like secrecy laws, will not be effective. 2. Issues related to public sector capacity and incentives, additional key functions and demands within the public sector created by RTI, entities responsible for these functions, and various organizational models for fulfilling these functions. 3. Mechanisms for appeals and effective enforcement against the denial of information(whether it be an independent commission or the judiciary); the relative independence, capacity, and scope of powers of the appeals agency, and the ease of the appeals process; and the application of sanctions in the face of unwarranted or mute refusals, providing a credible environment. 4. The capacity of civil society and media groups to apply the law to promote transparency and to monitor the application of the law, and a regulatory and political environment that enables these groups to operate effectively. The in-depth research presented in these case studies was conducted to examine factors that promote the relative effectiveness of these four key dimensions when implementing RTI reforms, including institutional norms, political realities, and economic concerns. An analysis was conducted to determine which models have the potential to work in different contexts and what lessons can be drawn from these experiences to help countries currently in the process of setting up RTI regimes.
Proactive TransparencyDarbishire, Helen (2010-09-14)This paper identifies four primary
drivers of proactive disclosure throughout history. The
first is the need to inform the public about laws and
decisions and the public's right to be informed, to
know their rights and obligations. The second is the
public's demand for the information needed to hold
governments accountable both at and between elections. The
third is the demand for information in order to participate
actively in decision-making. The fourth is the provision to
the public of information needed to access government
services, which has expanded significantly in the past
decade with growth of electronic access to services or
'e-government.' This paper attempts to advance the
debate around that question by analyzing the multiple
proactive disclosure provisions in national law and
international treaties in order to identify the emerging
global consensus on the classes of information which should
be included in a proactive disclosure regime. The paper
examines the practical challenges related to the
implementation of proactive disclosure regimes and some of
the lessons learned from which principles for making
proactive disclosure work in practice can be derived. It
concludes by identifying some future challenges and areas
where additional research is needed.
Decentralization and Local Governance in MENA : A Survey of Policies, Institutions, and PracticesWorld Bank (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-08-21)Entering the 21st century, the 1999-2000 World Development Report (WDR), identifies two main forces that are shaping the world in which development policy is being defined and implemented: (i) globalization, the increasing worldwide integration of private sector interaction and commercial relationships; and (ii) localization, a process of devolving fiscal and administrative roles and responsibilities from central to sub-national tiers of government. It goes on to note that these global-private and local-public pressures are not only reinforcing, but also challenging traditional paradigms and forms of intergovernmental systems. Political decentralization, often associated with pluralistic politics and representative government, aims to give citizens more say in public policy and decision-making. Its advocates assume that decisions made with greater participation will be better informed and more relevant to diverse interests in society than those made only by national political authorities. The concept implies that the selection of representatives from local electoral jurisdictions allows citizens to know better their political representatives and allows elected officials to know better the needs and desires of their constituents. Administrative decentralization aims to redistribute authority, responsibility and financial resources for providing public services among different levels of government. It typically takes three forms: de-concentration, delegation and devolution. Fiscal decentralization vests greater autonomy and authority with local governments in matters of fiscal importance, empowering local governments to generate their own revenues, through taxes and user charges, as well as determining their expenditure priorities based on a clear assignment of functions and responsibilities. Over the last two decades, it has been estimated that more than 100 countries, most of them in the developing world, have experimented with various forms of decentralization.