STUDY: Lithuanian municipalities became more transparent

Published January 16, 2019

Compared to 2014, Lithuanian municipalities became more transparent: in 2018 the average transparency level increased from 56 to 69 points out of 100, shows the study conducted by “Transparency International” Lithuanian Chapter. Joniskis (94 points) and Alytus district (90 points) municipalities publish the most information about their activities while 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, majority of the 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 been publishing such information.

Majority of the municipalities (57) provide channels where citizens can report possible corruption cases. 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 the municipalities do not specify what kind of gifts their staff would be able to accept and what kind would not.

Every sixth municipality (9 overall) provides its financial activity report in a way that allows computer-based search system, thus, making the analysis of the document easier.

Municipalities provide the least information about the interest of local government politicians and administrative directors as well as the opportunities for citizens to participate in a decision-making process.

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

Based on the research, TI Lithuania prepared recommendations on how municipalities could become more transparent. They propose to set couple of the most important anti-corruption goals and disclose them publicly as well as to ensure safe way to report possible corruption cases, to publish meetings with interest groups, to 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. It was analyzed whether municipalities publish not only information that is required but also additional data about their activities.

The analysis of municipalities websites was conducted in 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. In 2014, 12 municipalities have 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: 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.