Municipal transparency

Over the past decade, the focus on transparency, as an aspect of improving the governance and combating corruption, had been centred at the national level which is mainly connected with the global trends of pluralism, democratization and governance improvement. In that viewpoint, this is comprehensible, since the corruption – as the most conspicuous consequence of the lack of transparency – is often more tangible in central level and due to the fact that legislative, executive and judicial institutions have been traditionally a point of reference in combating the corruption. Recently though, there has been a change in the course of increasing the transparency at the local level. The importance of building local transparency, as a tool for addressing some of the greatest challenges for the sustainable development and democracy, is increasingly being contemplated. 

There are two fundamental aspects of governance (of good governance as well). Firstly, the concept of governance is broader than Government. In the urban context, this means that the responsibility for managing a city’s affairs is not limited to the local government solely, but it includes a wide range of stakeholders including: central and local government, the private sector, civil society and community-based organizations, the media, professional associations and other members of civil society. Secondly, the concept of governance focuses on institutions and processes. In the context of scarce resources, competing, but valid, priorities should be set through processes that involve all stakeholders in decision-making. This retains important implications for developing a framework for promoting transparency at the municipal level. Transparency in decision-making processes and institutions has the potential to become a central strategy for engaging stakeholders, combating corruption and improving the quality of urban governance overall.

Therefore, transparency provides fundamental principle of good governance. The free access to information plays an important role in promoting transparency. Information, therefore, should be provided in time, be relevant, accurate and complete if being used effectively. The question of who produces what information, and for what purpose, becomes key matter of transparency when competing interests converge on a particular matter. One of the most cutting edge patterns for ensuring the transparency is a five point framework for the increase of transparency: 1. Assessment and monitoring, 2. Access to information, 3. Ethics and integrity, 4. Institutional reforms; and 5. Targeting specific issues.

Strategies and Tools to Support Transparency in Local Governance