On the first annual meeting of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) members in Brasilia, in 2012, Government of Georgia presented its action plan and took specific commitments for promoting transparency, fighting corruption and making the government more responsive and accountable. The process of fulfilling these obligations is monitored by a forum of Georgian non-governmental organizations.
NGOs recently introduced new set of recommendations for the action plan of the Open Government Partnership. One of the main directions in the recommendations is to promote transparency in civil service. Together with other state organisations, the Civil Service Bureau of Georgia is considered as one of the responsible institutions.
We prepared our comments on the Recommendations of Civil Society Organizations Regarding the Action Plan of the Government of Georgia for “Open Government Partnership”. Here is a summary of our comments:
I. Recommendation: “The legislation for the protection of whistleblowers needs to be improved.”
Our comment: The CSB has drafted a Law on Protection of Whistleblowers, which contains important clauses related to the protection of whistleblowers. The draft law prohibits any kind of illegal pressure, threatening behaviour and harassment of a whistleblower and defines responsibility in case of such violations.
II. Recommendation: “The list of the officials, whose declarations of financial situation are subject to publishing on the search system of declarations - www.declaration.ge, should be expanded”.
Our comment: Following the initiative of the CSB, the list of officials, for whom submission of asset declarations is mandatory is constantly expanding. A more comprehensive list of officials, who work in the positions with higher risk of corruption, shall be comprised and those officials should be charged with the obligation to submit asset declarations. According to the recent amendment to the law, the list of officials have been increased by 300 officials. At present, more than 2,800 officials fall under the obligation to submit their declarations. The CSB took into consideration the recommendation and prepared an amendment to the Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption. Under the amendment more than 300 officials will be further obliged to submit annual asset declarations, including: all heads of public legal entities and their deputies, deputies of heads of subordinate institutions, all heads of all ministry departments and offices and their deputies, heads of non-commercial legal entities founded by the Government and their deputies, heads of Ltd.-s and JSCs created with 100% governmental share participation.
III. Recommendation: “An audit system of the property declarations of the public sector officials should be created.”
Our comment: At present, the electronic systemof asset declarations is operating very effectively. This has significantly increased the interest and trust of the public towards the civil service. However, in order to further improve the disclosure system, the CSB conducted a research on successful mechanisms for monitoring asset declarations, which will help us in selecting the effective audit system. We also prepared a draft law which adresses this problem.