1. Basic objectives of Transparency International Spain
Transparency International Spain assumes that transparency is a major goal of modern society, and is inherently linked to the Right to know from citizens are increasingly demanding to be sufficiently informed and have greater participation in decisions that affect them. According to these principles, and general objectives and TI strategy as a global organization, TI-Spain is committed to promoting social and continuing permanently increasing the level of information and openness of information that different Spanish public institutions knowledge generated for citizenship. Moreover, the objectives and activities of TI-Spain from its legal constitution in 2006, and all its members are based on the current Code of Ethics in this organization, and also on its conflict of interest policy. It is possible also consult Curricular data and register of interests of members of the Board of TI-Spain. Moreover, see a summary of its activities in: TI-Spain activities report.
2. Transparency Indices of public institutions
According to the above objectives, TI-Spain has developed and published in recent years four Transparency Indices: a) The Index of Transparency of Municipalities; b) The Index of Transparency of the Autonomous Communities; c) The Index of Transparency of Water Management, and d) The Index of Transparency of Councils. Using these indices is ultimately to address the problem of deficit of public information and lack of transparency on the part of many Spanish public institutions, besides trying thereby to contribute to reducing the risks of corruption in them.
Thus the specific objectives pursued by these transparency indices are the following two: a) First, to evaluate the level of transparency of public institutions included in each index, and b) Encouraging and promoting transparency and increased information that these entities offer citizens and society.
The strategy chosen by TI-Spain for the effective implementation of these indices has been highly participatory, both in terms of the plurality of institutions that have participated in the development of the methodology and the selection of the areas of transparency and indicators for evaluation in each index, as well as to promote the participation of various public institutions evaluated in each of the respective indices. It is worth noting in this regard the high level of collaboration that the generality of public institutions has been providing to TI-Spain in the process of evaluation and elaboration of these transparency indices.
The main results of these Transparency indices can appreciate seeing improved levels of transparency and information about and other public institutions are reached in successive editions of these indices being made. In all cases, there is an improvement in the transparency of public institutions evaluated, which is to highlight the social utility of these indices, with the resulting higher level of information they provide these public institutions to citizens. Increases in levels of public transparency that accompany these indices can be seen through the following examples:
In the Index of Transparency of the Municipalities, which have been already three editions (2008, 2009 and 2010) and is currently completing the fourth edition (2012), the mean scores achieved by all the municipalities evaluated in 2010 returned to be clearly higher than those of the previous year (2009), the year which also had shown a significant increase over the previous edition (2008). Thus, the overall average score of the 110 municipalities in 2010 was 73’2 points (out of 100), compared to that achieved in 2009: 64’0, and 52’1 in 2008.
It is also noteworthy that in the 2010 there were a total of 91 municipalities (among 110) that exceeded the score of 50 points (out of 100), while in 2009 were 79 who passed, and in 2008 only 55 had been the approved between the hundred municipalities evaluated that year.
In addition, there have been a number of local authorities have created a special page within your site, for transparency indicators of ITA, which comes to show his interest to show that degree of transparency, and thus facilitate the consultation and direct access to information for all citizens.
In regard to another index developed by TI-Spain, the Index of Transparency of the Autonomous Communities (INCAU), note that in the second edition of this index (2012) the overall results were higher than those of the previous edition (2010), as the overall average rating of the seventeen autonomous communities was 79’9 (about 100), while in 2010 this had been 71’5 overall score.
As regards, secondly, the Index of Transparency of Water Management (INTRAG) tool to measure and report the level of openness of information of agencies that manage water in Spain, note that the average level of transparency shown in 2012 by all watershed organizations evaluated was higher than that obtained in the 2010 Index, having average scores overall 59’6, compared to 51´2 of last year.
These are examples, in short, the positive and improving information transparency of a Spanish public and other institutions assessed by these indices.
These four Transparency Indexes, its methodology, the evaluated institutions, as well as all the results obtained in each of them can be found and accessed at any time on this website.
It should be noted that TI-Spain finally has recently launched a new line of action related to the private sector, having developed the “Principles of transparency and corruption prevention for companies” to provide policy guidance to companies help them develop their activities with an appropriate level of transparency and social responsibility, and reduce corruption risks.
3. About the institutional, and not personal, character of the evaluation in the Transparency Indices
Transparency Indices that prepares and publishes Transparency International Spain are exclusively aimed at measuring the level of transparency of public institution, and that through the evaluation of the data and information they make available on their website regarding the indicators and areas of transparency of each index, as explained in a clear and detailed way in the methodology of each of them.
In any case these indices attempt to measure the level of corruption or the conduct of people who may belong administratively or politically run these institutions, persons of TI-Spain no knowledge or any personal relationship. The evaluation indexes of transparency has a character, therefore, institutional, and informative assessment is made of each of the entities, which for TI-Spain are logically above of the people who have or had political or administrative ties with these institutions.
Moreover, given that the main activities of TI-Spain are aimed at assessing public institutions, it is not or contemplated nor accepted the possible contribution, grant or assistance that could come from an public institution or agency, being totally free processing and publishing in internet everything related to these Indices of transparency.
4. Financing of the activities of TI-Spain
With respect to the financing of their activities, TI-Spain is an NGO that relies heavily on collaboration and selfless activities by a very diverse group of people, organizations and institutions that collaborate with itself and its Transparency Indexes. Thus, this collaboration as broad and diverse personal and institutional level allows TI-Spain a very low budgets in developing these indices, and of course a full financial autonomy and independence with respect to public bodies assessed. With regard to the autonomy and independence of TI-Spain, it should be noted that the use of TI-Spain Logo by other institutions must necessarily be restricted to preserve the effective independence and reduce reputational risk by the improper use for propagandistic purposes of its image by other institutions. That is why TI-Spain has established rules or criteria to restrict the use of TI-Spain logo by individuals or institutions both public and private: Using TI-Spain logo rules.
To this end, and since the main activities of TI-Spain are aimed at assessing public institutions, nor envisage or accept the potential contribution, grant or assistance of any kind that could be from a public institution or agency, being totally free processing and internet publishing any thing concerning these indices of transparency.
Funding of TI-Spain comes from the European Union, the International Secretariat of TI, and private Foundations and companies who share with TI-Spain its objectives of transparency and anti-corruption (see elsewhere in this web the sponsors (Chairs-by-sponsorship and collaborating with this organization). More in information on details of the financing of TI-Spain in: Financial statement of TI-Spain.
In any case, many of the activities of TI-Spain is carried out through the collaboration of volunteers who carry out their duties in a selfless and free.
5. Sustainability and transferability of Transparency indices.
The initiative of Transparency Indexes, original of TI-Spain, is clearly sustainable over time, as shown by the fact that they have been doing continuously different editions of these indices of Transparency, which will undoubtedly performing in later editions, with the clear objective to further improve the level of transparency of some and other public institutions. It’s really important and necessary continuity of these indices, which will allow the improvement and positive evaluation by citizens as well as officials, employees and managers of public institutions in the process of continuous improvement, and has no time limits in principle, there will always be need for further evaluation and improving levels of transparency of these institutions.
With respect to the transferability of these indices of transparency must clearly indicate that they are transferable and applicable in other countries, because it is an original methodology, legal protection of authorship and is a really simple and open procedure, as shown by the fact that it is published in detail on the website of Transparency International Spain, being perfectly extrapolated and usable in any other country. In fact there are several projects using some of these indices in other countries, such as Mexico (University of Guanajuato-Celaya) which will implement the ITA to the councils Mexicans; also include also the project of implementation the Index of Transparency Water Management to public water managers in Brazil (University of Sao Paulo). It also is organizing the future implementation of the ITA in Portugal, and has given lectures and presentations in countries and cities like Oxford, Vienna and other cities on the methodology and operation of some of these indices, showing the obvious and plausible transferability and implementation of the same in other countries, naturally adapted to each national situation and the specific organisms in each of these countries.
Finally, in terms of lessons learned by TI-Spain in the implementation of these Transparency indices, it should be noted that the whole experience is accumulated in the development of these indices, in the use of each other indicators, in communication with the various Municipalities, Councils, Regional governments, etc., is enabling development and continuous improvement in the preparation of this information, as well as communication and the level of positive interaction with one and other public institutions, and not ceases to be in any case a continuous learning process to be prolonging and strengthening with the passage of time and the development of new editions of these Transparency Indexes.