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.
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.
“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.”
Executive Director, Access Info Europe
CAMPAIGN MATERIALS: INTRODUCING
THE DECISION-MAKING TRANSPARENCY KIT!
If you are interested in knowing about a decision-making process, and 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!
LOOKING FOR INFORMATION?
THESE ARE THE DOCUMENTS YOU CAN ASK FOR
Both at a national and at the EU level, certains 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.
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
This image of notes from a British official comes from a batch of documents we received from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. We made a right to information/FOI request to the UK FCO for minutes and notes taken by UK delegates at meetings in Brussels to revise the European Union’s transparency rules. Initially the FCO refused to disclose the information, but after a four year long legal battle and a positive decision on a ECJ court case to release information about Member State positions, the FCO pulled out and decided to provide us with the information we requested.
The tweet shows PM Juha Sipilä holding a document used to explain Finland’s position at the EUCO summit on the refugee crisis, which took part in March 2016. We requested access to that specific document and received an answer in less than 24 hours. The document was already proactively published! And it can be found here.
One of our partners got a 54-page response regarding his request in regards to the FOI law in Ireland. Documents include largely emails organising the meetings, but there are also proposals for amendments too. There are some redactions at the end, and handwritten notes have also been included as part of the disclosure of documents.
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 about how important transparency is around decision making.
Watch the full interview:
Legal Scholar and Public Interest Lawyer
Watch the full interview:
Watch the full interview:
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 jey jurisprudence relationg 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.