Lithuanian municipalities became more transparent

Published January 16, 2019

Lithuanian municipalities have become more transparent since 2014. A 2018 study conducted by the Lithuanian chapter of Transparency International (TI) concluded that the average transparency level of Lithuanian municipalities increased from 56 to 69 points out of 100. The Joniskis (94 points) and Alytus district (90 points) municipalities publish the most information about their activities while the Kalvarija (39 points), Trakai district (46 points) and Pakruojis district (46 points) municipalities publish the least.

In general, the influence done to politicians on the local level became more transparent. However, the majority of municipalities do not provide any information on proposals received from lobbyists and interest groups by members of municipal councils and administrative directors. Four years ago, none of the municipalities’ leaders disclosed information about their meetings, while in 2018, 30 municipalities have published such information.

The majority of municipalities (57) provide channels where citizens can report possible corruption. Nonetheless, only 3 out of 4 ensure their confidentiality. Three municipalities – Taurage, Pakruojis and Trakai district municipalities – do not provide this kind of information at all.

One third of municipalities do not specify what kinds of gifts their staff would be able to accept and what kind would not.

Every sixth municipality (9 overall) provides their financial activity reports in a way that facilitates review by computer-based search systems, thus making analysis of the documents easier.

In general, municipalities provide the least information about the interests of local government politicians and administrative directors, as well as opportunities for citizens to participate in decision-making processes.

The most detailed information on interests of the municipal council members and municipality employees is provided by the Birstonas, Joniskis, and Telsiai district municipalities (75 points each), while the most information about anti-corruption measures is provided by the Alytus and Joniskis district municipalities (100 points each). Joniskis district and Klaipeda city municipalities (100 points each) publish the most information about public procurement, and Alytus, Joniskis, and Moletai district municipalities (100 points each) – about the opportunities for residents to participate in municipality activities.

Based on its research, TI Lithuania prepared recommendations on how municipalities could become more transparent. They proposed that municipalities pursue a few of the most important anti-corruption goals and disclose them publicly, ensure safe methods to report possible corruption cases, publish meetings with interest groups, provide financial activity reports in an open-data format, and publish more information on citizen engagement opportunities in decision-making.

The study evaluates how much information municipalities provide in their official websites regarding their employees, municipal council work, anti-corruption measures, municipal companies, annual budgets, public procurement, and citizen’s engagement in decision-making. The study analyzes whether municipalities publish not only information that is required but also additional data about their activities.

The analysis of municipality websites was conducted from October – December 2018. The evaluation results were sent to all municipalities, allowing them to start publishing the missing information and improve their final results. 53 municipalities used this opportunity, while in 2014, only 12 municipalities had done so.

The methodology is based on local government transparency studies by “Transparency International” Portuguese and Slovakia Chapters.

The assessment of the municipalities’ transparency and the municipal ranking can be found here (in Lithuanian): www.jurgiokepure.lt

A short summary of the results can be found here (in Lithuanian), TI Lithuania recommendations here (in Lithuanian).

More information: Sergejus Muravjovas, sergejus@transparency.lt, +37068997579.