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:
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.
RECOMMENDATIONS: TOWARDS OPEN DECISION MAKING
All public bodies which bear responsibility for decision making should fall under the scope of the access to information laws.
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.
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.
Prompt responses to requests are essential to facilitate potential participation in decision-making processes. This also counts when responding to appeals.
Exceptions should always be applied narrowly and always taking into account any overriding public interest in full (or partial) disclosure of information.
“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, 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!
CLICK ON THE IMAGES
OR SCROLL DOWN TO ACCESS
THE ALL OF THE CONTENT
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?
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.