Into force the law of transparency for public administrations (except for local entities)


The 9 December 2013 Spain adopted its Law 19/2013 transparency, Access to information and good governance. In this manner, It became the last European State more than one million inhabitants provide himself with a law of transparency in the information of Governments and public entities, so "establish comparable standards to the rest of consolidated democracies", as it is collected in the first paragraph of the preamble of the law.

The law includes also obligations of proactive advertising for political parties, trade union organizations, employers, and also for private entities who receive grants or subsidies during the period of one year. However, the limits established in the obligations of advertising have been subject to various criticisms, the absence of consideration of the right of access to information as a fundamental right to the lack of incentives and protection for officials who have identified cases of corruption and raised to denounce them.

Another aspect of the debate is the need to develop the necessary regulations that will allow the implementation of the law on time, which has still not entered into force in its entirety. In December of 2013 It only entered into force title II, that refers to the good government and refers to general principles and principles that institutions must attend.

From the month of December of 2014 Titles I and III of the Act entered into force, relating to the transparency of the activity of Government and Council for transparency and good governance, respectively. Local authorities enjoy a moratorium until December of 2015. Several civil society organizations, as Access Info Europe or the Foundation citizen Civio they have warned of the need to carry out promptly all the tasks necessary for the full realization of the law.

[Study on access to public information in Spain]

From more than 10 years, Sustentia is leading in Spain studies with private organizations and NGOs active in the development of this law, and in the implementation of mechanisms for implementation and monitoring. In 2004 participated in the study "Transparency and silence: study on access to public information in Spain", on access to public information, carried out by the "Open Society Justice Initiative" in 15 countries.

[Implementation and advice for transparency in public administration management]

Between the years 2005 and 2010 Sustentia carried out an international project, funded by the Open Society Justice Initiative, with the aim of boost progress in the implementation of effective systems of transparency and access to information in public administrations. This project was structured on a methodology designed and applied in an initial pilot project. After this pilot was replicated in a total of 17 technical assistance, developed with the collaboration of 3 international organizations in Peru (Institute press and society - IPIS), Venezuela (Transparency Venezuela) and Albania (Developing and Democratization Institutions of Institutions).

[Transparency and access to information as a human right]

At European level, access to information was consecrated as a law by the Council of Europe with the Convention on access to public documents (Convention on Access to Official Documents 2009): "all official documents are in principle public and can only be retained to protect other rights and legitimate interests".

In line with this normative text, access to information has been recognized as a fundamental right essential for the protection of other rights by the European Court of human rights, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and the Inter-American Commission on human rights. The Universal Declaration of human rights picks it up in his article 19. The right of access to information includes the right to apply for people and also the obligation of the Government to provide information.

As a fundamental right necessary for the exercise of other rights, more and more, access to information and transparency in the management of public administrations is required by different interest groups with which these relate: citizens, civil society organizations, investors, companies, etc..

Transparency is a basic tool for the prevention of corruption, and one of the fundamental ethical principles in public administration. As he argues this Convention, the exercise of the right of access to public documents:

i. It provides a source of information for the public;

II. It helps the public to form an opinion on the State of society and on public authorities;

III. promotes the integrity, the effectiveness, the efficiency and accountability of public authorities, helping is to affirm its legitimacy;