Introduction and problem being addressed
Since 2017, the Law of Right of Access to Public Information has been implemented in Argentina. The Agency for Access to Public Information (abbreviated as AAIP) is the responsible entity for monitoring the implementation of the law, which has a specific chapter on Active Transparency.
Four years after its entry into force it was important to review the information and evaluate compliance active transparency obligations. In the frame of the OGP 4th National Action Plan, the AAIP built the Active Transparency Index in close collaboration with CSOs and launched an interactive dashboard that reflects compliance of legally bound subjects.
The construction and publication of an Active Transparency Index generated a concrete incentive for the legally bound subjects to comply with the active transparency obligations. Likewise, the collaborative design fostered impact measurement of the policy as well as scalability towards including other legally bound subjects that are currently not reached.
Project goals and implementation
One of the main goals of the commitment was the improvement in the fulfillment of obligations by the legally bound subjects. Moreover, the initiative aimed to create a sustainable and scalable measurement of active transparency in public institutions over time and of higher quality. Also, it aimed to create a friendly public platform so that citizens could access information on active transparency obligations.
The commitment entailed the co-design of a methodology to measure and monitor compliance with public transparency obligations. The process involved several working meetings between the AAIP and CSOs, in which the latter contributed ideas and agreed on the measurement methodology.
The commitment is relevant to transparency as it encourages the proactive publication of information by National Executive Power bodies, contractor companies, beneficiaries and political parties. In this way, it facilitates citizen knowledge, participation, access to information and control.
Impact and uptake
The commitment was successfully designed, implemented, and will continue after the 4th NAP concludes.
The Active Transparency Index monthly visualizes the level of compliance of 26 centralized agencies, 92 decentralized agencies, 55 public companies and 66 universities. In the odd months 26 centralized agencies, 4 decentralized agencies, 6 public companies and 2 universities are measured while in the even months 15 decentralized agencies, 9 public companies and 11 universities are randomly sampled and measured.
These results have contributed to the fulfillment of transparency obligations by public institutions, strengthened governmental accountability and enabled sustainable measurement and higher quality of transparency in the public administration.
It is important to note that lack of access to public information is a challenge to be addressed across Latin America and all over the world. Therefore, the Index can be a valuable tool to be implemented in the region and globally.
Conclusion and review
Up to now, one of the main limitations of the index is the number of organisms that are surveyed monthly. On the other hand, the scope of the measurement in terms of sections could be broader.
Both aspects could be revised and expanded in the future in order to achieve greater impact.
The index is already institutionalized based on resolutions – formal regulations – that support it.