Municipalities in Montenegro meet 58% of indicators of openness

Openness of local self-governments in Montenegro is at a low level while municipalities meet only 58% of indicators of openness.

In order to determine to what extent citizens of the Western Balkans receive opportune and understandable information from their institutions, CDT developed the Regional index of openness of with partners from the network Action SEE.

The research was conducted in the period from October to the end of December 2016. Based on research results, a set of recommendations and guidelines for improvement of openness of institutions was prepared.

Research results for Montenegro

Within the research we recorded a closure of local self-governments in more areas: from the implementation of Law on Free Access to Information and showing in which way institutions spend citizens’ money to the use of outdated ways of communication.

The openness significantly varies from municipality to municipality. Therefore, the best ranked municipality meets 72% of indicators while the worst one meets just 39%.

Public decision-making in municipalities is not at a satisfactory level. Around three quarters of municipalities does not have a direct audio or video transmission from sessions of municipal assemblies, which indicates that municipalities are not dedicated to engaging and informing citizens about decisions they make. More than a half of municipalities does not publish minutes from sessions of municipal assemblies, so that citizens cannot be informed about outcomes of sessions through this channel of information.

A huge majority does not have a monthly newsletter about their work through which they would present to citizens current affairs regarding municipality’s work.

This deficiency is not compensated with presence on social networks (Facebook or Twitter) given that almost 60% of municipalities does not have official accounts on these social networks.

More than a half of municipalities does not have fixed hours for consultations with a president of municipality. Additionally, a half of municipalities does not have established information bureau, which facilitates communication of citizens with municipalities and shortens time of solving reported problems.

More than 80% of municipalities does not publish a list of civil servants with their functions while a half of municipalities does not publish contact information of a person responsible to act in accordance with requests for free access to information.

Municipalities also have an undeveloped financial transparency so that a huge majority does not have published citizens’ budget through which citizens, as main stakeholders of creating budget, would have insight into money spending in a simple and understandable way.

Research results for the region

A regional result of openness of local self-government is disappointing and amounts to only 34%.

Municipalities resemble black boxes more than key institutions of citizens’ service.

All problems recorded in Montenegro provide a credible picture of situation at a local level in the region, where the situation is worse than in our country.

The policy of openness must be a policy of all municipalities and find its place among other significant state policies. It is high time to start with solving this issue.

You can find more information in the policy “Analysis of openness of local self-government in Montenegro and region”.