Documents used in decision making are not “internal” rules Spain’s Transparency Council

Madrid, 27 November 2015 – In another important decision from Spain’s Transparency Council, Access Info Europe has been granted access to Spanish government progress reports on Open Government Partnership (OGP) commitments.

The Transparency Council’s decision rejects arguments by the Ministry of the Presidency that these documents, which were used as part of the decision-making process, are “internal documents.”

In August 2015, Access Info’s director Helen Darbishire asked for copies of OGP-related documents in order to get an insight into what the government is doing in implementing the action plan. This request was necessary because, unlike in other OGP countries, there is almost no communication with civil society.

I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that the OGP-related documents were classified as internal,” said Helen Darbishire, Director of Access Info.

This is an important decision from the Transparency Council as it will help ensure that the public can obtain information that is used as the basis of decision making,” added Darbishire.

The ruling narrows the scope of the much-criticised concept of internal documents, one of the weaknesses of Spain’s 2013 Transparency law. The Spanish government should provide Access Info with the requested documents by early December.

Access Info did not, however, gain access to OGP-related emails exchanged between ministries, on the ground that these are “ancillary” documents. We plan to challenge this part of the decision in court.

You can read the Transparency Council’s decision (in Spanish) here: alt

For more information, please contact:

Helen Darbishire | Access Info Europe
Send an e-mail or call +34 913 656 558

Notes:
In October 2015 Access Info Europe wrote a letter to the OGP Steering Committee raising concerns about the lack of transparency over the implementation of the action plan. No response has yet been received either from the Steering Committee or from the Spanish government.

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