The Access to Information Programme team performed an audit on the institutional web sites within 22.02 - 25.03.2011 with the purpose to evaluate the implementation of the obligations under the Access to Public Information Act (APIA) for online publication of certain categories of information and under other regulations for active disclosure of public information by the executive power bodies at a central, regional, and local level.
The results show a chaotic variety of institutional web sites structure and content, stemming from a lack of an oversight body with regard to the implementation of the APIA, and insufficient government financial and operational transparency, especially with regard to the contracts of the institutions.
Based on the analyses of the results, AIP recommends more detailed regulation of the obligations for online publication of information, including mechanisms for oversight and sanctions for non-compliance with the requirements of the law, more efficient active disclosure of financial and operational information, and development of the Access to Information sections on institutional web sites to facilitate and help citizens in their search for information.
AIP has reviewed 495 web sites out of a total of 516 institutions (the list of institutions incorporated from the Administrative Register into AIP Internal Information System - http://www.aip-bg.org/surveys/Резултати_по_институции/208943/). 21 institutions still do not have official web sites. Out of these, 12 are of regional units of central authorities, three are from the category Agencies and Commissions, and six are municipalities.
The web sites audit was based on several groups of indicators which encompass the standards for active disclosure of information under the APIA and other regulations:
- Institutional information - legal basis of the institution, functions, services provided, data bases and information resources;
- Organizational structure and contact information;
- Operational information – acts, strategies, plans, activities;
- Financial and other transparency – budgets and financial reports, contracts, conflict of interests declarations;
- Existence and content of the Access to Information sections.
Also, 505 requests were filed electronically for access to the Internal APIA Implementation Rules in an electronic form, or by signifying the exact link to the web address where they could be found.
Author of the analysis of the results is Gergana Jouleva, AIP Executive Director. The analysis and the comparative data for 2010 and 2011 are part of the AIP annual report Access to Information in Bulgaria 2010 which was presented on May 4, 2011 at a special pressconference in Sofia. The English version of the report will soon be released.