There are almost three thousand Mayors, eight Presidents of Self-Governing Regions and 21 thousand Members of local and regional parliaments in Slovakia. Even amongst the local politicians, we can find those favouring their own profit. It is our goal to point out the malpractices and offer solutions how to avoid them in the future.
Why is it a problem?
For most people, local administration is their closest contact with politics. Local politicians influence the urban development in your area, the condition of the roads, the quality of schools our children go to, the locations for cutting the woods down, or the amount of money you pay as your real estate tax or the tax for owning a dog. Apart from wide authority, local administrations such as cities, villages and self-governing regions also have significant financial resources at their disposal – around 7,5 billion of euro annually (2019). They also manage more billions in the properties and they run thousands of organizations and hundreds of municipal-owned enterprises. That is the reason why there is a huge space for corruption, cronyism and ineffectiveness in the local administrations.
In Transparency, we believe in public oversight of the local politicians and civil servants. We try to achieve that in various ways, such as publishing the causes, comparing the transparency level of the municipalities and regions, communicating with their representatives, counseling, public pressure for tightening the adequate legal acts and introducing the good and bad practices.
Our regular transparency rankings of the cities and regions prove that it makes sense. The overall openness of the municipalities is getting better, while in 2010, the average score of transparency was below 40 %, in 2018 it was more than 57%. When it comes to self-governing regions, the average score rose from 46% to 63% (2020). The major improvement have been noticed after 2017 elections, when six out of eight self-governing regions’ Presidents changed. Transparency was the key topic during the election campaign, also thanks to our rankings. More and more often we are being approached with the requests for consultations by representatives of these administrations themselves.
We have been engaged in the municipal program since 1999 and we have built it on four pillars:
We have brought dozens of analyses and articles on improving the transparency in the self-government, since 2010 we have been publishing new transparency rankings of 100 biggest cities and eight self-governing regions (available in english), we have elaborated an anti-corruption strategy for five cities, one city district and one region, we have been organizing trainings for local activists since 2004 where we managed to networked with more than 500 active people participating on the workshops and learning from more than a hundred of experts. We conducted pilot study of openess of european capital cities in 2020 (available in english). Our results are appreciated in abroad too, the transparency ranking started to be published also in the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Moldova and Israel.