OPENING UP DECISION MAKING

RESEARCH SHOWS THERE IS A SERIOUS LACK OF TRANSPARENCY WHEN TRYING TO KNOW HOW DECISIONS ARE TAKEN IN EUROPE

THIS IS WHAT WE FOUND, AND WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE

ONLY 40% OF KEY DECISION-MAKING INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE IN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

The map below explores the different obstacles we’ve encountered accessing information on decision-making processes in 12 European jurisdictions.

  • Information available:
  • 0-20%
  • 21-40%
  • 41-60%
  • 61-80%
  • 81-100%


We analysed 5 decision making proccess. It was impossible to access most of the information. There is a serious problem when it comes to contacts with lobbyists.
Find out all about it here.

We analysed 7 decision making process. Access to information was partailly possible. There is a serious problem with record keeping: one third of the information requested was not held by the public authority.
Find out all about it here.

We analysed 15 requests done throught AsktheEU.org.
Find out all about it here.

We analysed 3 decision making process. There is a lack of record keeping of minutes of meetings.
Find out all about it here.

We analysed 4 decision making process. There are serious problem with disclosing information about participants in meetings, including name of public officials, companies or lobbyists.
Find out all about it here.

We analysed 3 decision making process. There is a clear breach of the Law: Authorities failed to process most of the access to information requests.
Find out all about it here.

We analysed 3 decision making process. Relevant documents for understanding decision-making processes are not proactively available.
Find out all about it here.

We analysed 6 decision making process. It is very worrying that there is no information available at all.
Find out all about it here.

We analysed 3 decision making process. Key information on decision making processes, such as minutes of meetings and documents provided by lobbyists, was not proactively published.
Find out all about it here.

We analysed 3 decision making process. Relevant documents to understand decision-making processes are not proactively available.
Find out all about it here.

We analysed 4 decision making process. There is a lack of record keeping of dates, places and minutes of meetings.
Find out all about it here.

We analysed 5 decision making process. Access to the minutes of meetings and documents submitted by lobbyist is denied in most of the cases because of the cost of compiling exception.
Find out all about it here.

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THE FINDINGS: MAIN CHALLENGES FOR TRANSPARENCY

Europe's Access to Information laws permit requests for decision-making information

What we have found

However, an analysis of these 12 European laws has told us there is no obligation to record minutes of meetings held as part of decision-making processes.

Insufficient levels of proactive publication of information is impeding participation

What we have found

European countries are not proactively publishing who public officials meet, reasons justifying their decisions, nor records created regarding policy and legislation.

Information released through FOI requests is not enough to ensure accountability

What we have found

European countries are abusing the use of certain exceptions to deny access to documents, such as the protection of privacy when it comes to government and public officials.

LEARN MORE ABOUT EUROPE’S
RTI LEGAL FRAMEWORK
LEARN MORE ABOUT PROACTIVE
PUBLICATION IN EUROPE
LEARN MORE ABOUT DECISION-MAKING FOI REQUESTS

RECOMMENDATIONS: TOWARDS OPEN DECISION MAKING

  • Create records
Public authorities have a duty to document information around decision-making processes that is essential to ensure public participation and scrutiny, as well as for the historical record.
  • Apply exceptions narrowly to information related to decision making
Exceptions should always be applied narrowly and always taking into account any overriding public interest in full (or partial) disclosure of information.
  • Improve proactive publication requirements
Public authorities and representatives should be obliged to keep records and proactively publish information such as their agendas, minutes of meetings, third-party documents (submitted as part of or outside public consultations) and information justifying decisions taken.
  • Reduce time taken to make information publically available
Prompt responses to requests are essential to facilitate potential participation in decision-making processes. This also counts when responding to appeals.

TWEET YOUR SUPPORT!

“Decision-making transparency means to be able
to know how decisions are taken, by whom and why,
to be able to participate and hold our leaders accountable.
It is essential to our democracies.”

Helen Darbishire
Executive Director, Access Info Europe

CAMPAIGN MATERIALS: INTRODUCING
THE DECISION-MAKING TRANSPARENCY KIT!

If you are interested in knowing about a decision-making process, want to search for information, submit a request, or campaign for greater transparency of decision making, you might consider taking a look at the following materials!

DOCUMENT GUIDE
TRANSPARENCY CASE STUDIES

CLICK ON THE IMAGES
OR SCROLL DOWN TO ACCESS
THE ALL OF THE CONTENT
DIRECTLY!

GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLES
INTERVIEWS WITH EXPERTS
TRANSPARENCY JURISPRUDENCE

LOOKING FOR INFORMATION?
THESE ARE THE DOCUMENTS YOU CAN ASK FOR

Both at a national and at the EU level, certain documents are created during the decision-making process. These documents will give you an insight into how a decision was taken. We have created these two presentations explaining, at each phase of decision making, which documents are created, which are proactively published, and which may be requested.

AT NATIONAL/GENERAL LEVEL

AT EUROPEAN UNION LEVEL

CASE STUDIES: CAN WE KNOW HOW THE DECISION WAS TAKEN?

TTIP: HOW TRANSPARENT ARE THE NEGOTIATIONS?

SHINING A LIGHT INTO
TOBACCO LOBBYING

MAPPING THE INFLUENCE OF THE SUGAR LOBBY

Aiming to contribute to an informed public debate around TTIP and its levels of transparency, we have investigated what information in regards to the negotiations is available, and what is not.

We analysed if interactions between the tobacco industry, EU institutions and national governments are conducted in compliance with transparency rules.

We looked into the legislative proposal to adopt a colour-coded food labelling system which classifies fats, sugars and salts, trying to discover the extent of the influence of lobbies.

SEE THIS CASE STUDY!
SEE THIS CASE STUDY!
SEE THIS CASE STUDY!

WHEN DECISION-MAKING IS TRANSPARENT:
GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLES!

  • Disclosing handwritten notes containing minutes from a meeting!

  • They tweeted, we asked for the document… they released it!

  • The 100 MB of information release: emails, amendments and more!

  • Proactive and reactive disclosure of information at the EU level

WE ASKED EXPERTS AND OFFICIALS:
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO OPEN UP DECISION MAKING?

As part of our research we have spoken with the EU Ombudsman and other experts on the topic, to find out their views and understandings on the importance of transparency around decision making.
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HELPFUL JURISPRUDENCE: LITIGATING FOR
ACCESS TO INFORMATION

In order to help activists and civil society to push for greater transparency, and secure positive changes in transparency practices, we have collected and displayed the jurisprudence relating to the disclosure of documents.

You will find a series of cases from all across Europe which we hope will be useful in order to map what, where and why we can access key pieces of public information related to decision-making.

CHECK OUT THE CASES!

PARTNER ORGANISATIONS WORKING WITH US TO PROMOTE DECISION MAKING TRANSPARENCY:

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